The Definition of Structural Exercises
Core structural exercises are those that put pressure on your spine, which is why they are performed in a standing position. To do a structural exercise correctly, your spine needs to be erect, which might be challenging for many people. Some suffer from back pain and other problems that might prevent them from doing structural workouts. Therefore, it is important that you consult a doctor on whether you are in condition to go for structural training.
Core Structural Exercises
- Squats. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Place your hands behind your head or extend them forward to keep balance. On your inhale, start bending your knees and lower your body with your back straight. When doing this, push your butt back and go as low as you can. Your feet must stand flat on the floor, and the weight has to be on your heels. On your exhale, return to the starting position, still holding your back straight. Then repeat.
If you want, you can add weights, ranging from dumbbells to bars. For example, you can hold a kettlebell with your arms bent when you are doing a squat.
Squats are an effective exercise that activates your glutes, quads, and hamstrings. This exercise is advisable for everyone, even for those who suffer from knee pain. In fact, the latter is often caused by weak quads, which is why regular squatting can help you deal with the problem (1).
- Lunges. Stand with your torso straight and feet together. Inhale, step forward with one leg and bend the front knee, keeping it at a 90-degree angle. Lower your back knee but do not let it touch the floor. On your exhale, pull your leg back, returning to the initial position. If you want to modify this exercise, add some weights. For example, you can hold two dumbbells in both of your hands extended straight at your sides. Another option is to hold a bar (without weights) behind your head with both of your hands. You can also do reverse lunges, stepping your leg back.
It is crucial to perform the exercise correctly, especially in bending the knee at 90 degrees, holding your back straight, and pushing your weight into the front heel. If you fail to follow this instruction, you will overload your lower back and knees (2).
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- Power clean. Place a bar on the floor closer to your shins. With your legs hip width apart, squat down to grab the bar. Keep your back straight and chest up as you are pulling the bar off the floor. Your shoulders must be slightly in front of the bar. Hold your arms straight until you completely extend your legs. Slightly jump up and shrug the bar with your shoulders as you are taking a quarter squat position. With the bar on your shoulders, slowly straighten your legs. Then drop the bar.
The exercise is beneficial for your leg, core, and arm muscles. Moreover, it helps you get a good posture.
- Deadlift. It is the same as power clean but without the shrug. Here, you just lift the bar off the floor as many times as you feel comfortable with.
- Push press. It is similar to the power clean, with the difference that you have to do several pushes after the shrug. After you get the bar on your shoulders, you do a quarter squat as you are pressing the bar into the air. Bending your elbows, put the bar back onto your shoulders as you are slightly squatting down under the weight.
In general, you should not forget about a warmup before doing the above-mentioned exercises. Do some aerobic routine for about 10 minutes and only then start your workout (3).
Where to do structural exercises?
You can do structural exercises not only at a gym, but also at home if you have all the necessary equipment. All you need is weights for some exercises or modifications. Dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, etc. do not take much space, which is why it is possible to keep them at home. Yet, if you feel that you do not keep the proper form when performing the exercises, you should engage a fitness trainer.
Core structural exercises are rather challenging because they require a lot of spinal work. Nevertheless, these have a number of benefits, as they involve different muscle groups and strengthen your back. However, you should be careful when exercising and do not overload yourself. Likewise, consult your doctor to make sure that you are in condition to do structural workouts.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- 7 Most Effective Exercises (webmd.com)
- How to Get a Better Butt (webmd.com)
- Weight training: Do’s and don’ts of proper technique (2018, mayoclinic.org)