THE BLOG
04/09/2013 08:29 am ET | Updated Jun 09, 2013

How to Injury-Proof Your Body

Even though everyone has their own personal "weak links" when it comes to muscles, joints, or ligaments that tend to be prone to injury, there are certainly common trouble spots for nearly any active individual. Many of these trouble spots tend to include the small, supportive muscles that are notoriously neglected during our large motor movements. These supportive areas include the shoulder's rotator cuff, the outer butt's gluteus medius, the small scapula muscles along the shoulder blades, and the abdominal, hip, and low back region (or "core").

So how can you address these notoriously weak areas and ensure that you bulletproof your body? In this article, you're going to get two routines to do just that: one longer, more comprehensive workout that you can do in a traditional gym environment, and another shorter workout conducive to quickly performing at home or the office.

You can view any of the exercises you'll find in this article at YouTube.com/BenGreenfieldFitness.

Bulletproof Your Body Workout #1

Step 1: Begin with a brief 3-5 minutes of aerobic exercise such as jogging, cycling or elliptical trainer, which simply serves to warm your muscles and make them more pliable. Then continue to a dynamic warm-up that includes a series of arm swings, leg swings and preferably (if available), foam rolling.

1) 8-10 Arm Swings
2) 8-10 Arm Circles
3) 8-10 Side-To-Side Leg Swings
4) 8-10 Front-To-Back Leg Swings
5) 8-10 Hip Flexor Kickouts
6) 30-60 seconds Foam Roller Hamstrings
7) 30-60 seconds Foam Roller Quadriceps
8) 30-60 seconds Foam Roller Calves

Step #2: Complete the following rotator cuff exercises as a circuit, 3-4 times through, with 30-60 seconds rest after each set:

1) Elastic Band or Cable External Rotation, 20-25 reps
2) Elastic Band or Cable External Rotation, 20-25 reps
3) Dumbbell Front Raising, 15-20 reps
4) Dumbbell Side Raising, 15-20 reps
5) Dumbbell Empty Cans, 15-20 reps
6) Dumbbell Uppercuts, 15-20 reps

Step #3: Complete the following gluteus medius and lateral hip strengthening exercises as a circuit, 3-4 times through, with 30-60 seconds rest after each set.

1) Fire Hydrants, 20-25 reps per side
2) Lateral Lunges, 10-12 reps per side
3) Hip Hikes, 10-12 reps per side

Step #4: Complete the following core stabilizing exercises as a circuit, 3-4 times through, with 30-60 seconds rest after each set:

1) Front Plank Taps, 10-15 reps per side
2) Side Plank Rotation, 10-15 reps per side
3) Back Bridges, 20-25 reps

Step #5: Finish by opening the hip flexors with a yoga sequence of 3-5 deep breaths in each of the following positions (or, if you're familiar with sun salutations, simply perform several sequences of those):

1) Warrior 1
2) Warrior 2
3) Warrior 3
4) Down Dog

While this is a longer workout, simply including it once per week during the entire year will help you to move more efficiently while also protecting the common "weak links" of the human body.

Bulletproof Your Body Workout #2

This shorter injury prevention workout is a series of four exercises that you simply perform in sequence.

1) 25-50 Shoulder Wall Slides
2) 25-50 Side Lying Leg Raises per Side
3) 25-50 Broomstick Front Raises (preferably prone on a stability ball)
4) 2.5-5 minutes Front Plank

I guarantee that if you can complete 50, 50, 50 and 5 minutes of the workout above that you will significantly reduce your risk of injury when performing nearly any sport or activity on the face of the planet!

Enjoy these two routines, and if you have questions, feel free to surf over to GetFitGuy.QuickandDirtyTips.com and leave a question and I'll be happy to answer!

Ben Greenfield is a fitness and triathlon expert and host of the Get-Fit Guy podcast on the Quick and Dirty Tips network. His latest book is Get-Fit Guy's Guide to Achieving Your Ideal Body: A Workout Plan for Your Unique Shape.

For more by Ben Greenfield, click here.

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