Alex and I began training together in November last year, and have been primarily working on a circuits format.
Alex was familiar with the technique involved in many gym-based exercises before we started, and after she asked me to ‘get evil’ with her (love it!!) we agreed that circuits would be the best session format to meet her needs.
Just a few of the great things about working on a circuits format are; that the stations can be varied every week to keep things fresh; the stations can be adapted to suit any theme or goal; because you only stay on each station for a minute, you can work to maximum intensity on each one; and by adding a burst of cardio in between each station (not shown in the video below), you can keep the body moving and the heart rate high for the full hour.
As Alex has a really busy schedule with family and work life, this format is ideal for her, as it allows her to squeeze the most out of her hour in the studio.
Alex had two main goals when we began training together, the first of which was to tone and strengthen her abdominals and obliques. In order to address this I have been sure to include a variety of core-based exercises each week, some of which focus on compound upper body and core strength, and others of which isolate and target the abdominals and obliques. We are now also including some deep core activation work (as described in previous case study reports) at the end of each session, in order to recruit the TVA and provide additional strength and support for the spine and internal organs.
Alex’s secondary goal was to work on her hamstring flexibility as, like many keen runners, she often feels tight and trapped through the back of the legs. For this reason I have been incorporating gluteal isolation exercises into the circuits, as isolating and strengthening the gluteal muscles can help take the strain off the hamstrings, allowing them to release a little. In addition to the strength work, we have been working on a series of posterior chain stretches and releases, which target the myofascial connections that run from the back of the head to the soles of the feet. Because the hamstrings cross two major joints at the back of the body, they are heavily supported by these myofascial chains, which can become sticky, tight, or trapped due to inflammation. In fact, when the hamstring muscles feel tight, it can often actually be something further up or down the chain that is stuck. Releasing these chains from the top and the bottom can therefore have a big knock-on effect on hamstring mobility.
Alex’s dedication to her workouts has been amazing - she has always given 100% effort, and has never missed a session, which is quite something given that we meet at 6am on a Monday! :oD I have seen significant progress in the way she is activating her core muscles and using them to support her body while she exercises, as well as a big improvement in her posterior chain mobility, as evidenced by improved deadlift form.
Well done Alex, your strength, hard work and commitment are an inspiration! I’m really proud of you for all your achievements and look forward to seeing them continue! :D Xxxx