Top 5 Muscles To Work On, For An Injury-Free Life
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Top 5 Muscles To Work On, For An Injury-Free Life

Fitness
Nikhil Kapur Tri-athlete
5 min read

Top 5 Muscles To Work On, For An Injury-Free Life

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I am a wellness entrepreneur and I could never understand how frequent travelling across different time-zones can take a toll on a person’s health. But when I started travelling extensively, I realised how it affects one’s health.

Amidst frequent and hectic trips, I really wanted to train for a Triathlon. No matter how extensively you travel or how sedentary your lifestyle is- it’s always difficult to find time to engage in fitness activities. This makes us more prone to injuries in our day-to-day life. We all like to stay injury-free, but we struggle to find time for personal fitness.
So, I suggest that each one of us should focus on personal fitness. Here are the top 5 muscles that we should work on for an injury-free life:
(This list is based on a sample profile. Sample size: 500, male and female ratio: 40:60; age: 35-60 years; lifestyle: sedentary; employed, frequent traveller - by road and by air.)

1. Spinal Muscles/Erector Spinae Muscles
This is the muscle that holds us upright and also helps in side-to-side rotation. An injury or strain to this muscle can cause back spasms and pain. This bundle of muscle runs along the spine, from the pelvis to the head.

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Here’s how you can strengthen this muscle:

a. Bird Dog Exercise – Start with hands under shoulders and knees under hip. Keep the spine in neutral and extend up hand and leg alternatively, keeping elbow and knee straight. Stay in the position for 5 seconds and repeat 5 times


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b. Extension Curls On Swiss Ball – Lie with your stomach over the ball. Cross the hands over the shoulders and raise up from the chest with spine and neck in neutral position. Count till 5 and hold till you repeat 5 times.


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2. Glutes
This muscle is what gives Usain Bolt the horizontal propulsion in every 100-metre race and helps basketball players to go low and then move around with explosive quickness! Glutes are the biggest muscles in our body. Wondering what they are? It’s your booty! Glutes are not only a must for athletic performance but also for a good posture. The reason why people suffer from underactive glutes is their lifestyle. And remember, the old saying – “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” Unfortunately, this is just what happens with your glutes.
This is my favourite muscle, because this muscle also helps us keep our back and knee free of pain.

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a. Glute Bridge – (for maximus) Place both legs on swiss ball, with shoulders and hands on the floor. Now press your heels on the ball and raise up from buttocks, squeezing them tight. Hold till you count 10 and repeat 10 times.


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b. Clamshell Exercise- (for medius) Lie down on one side, with both hips bent to 45 degrees and both knees bent. Now keep your feet together and move the above leg upwards and hold till you count 5 and repeat 10-15 times.


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3. Hamstring Muscles
For most of us, Quads are dominant and Hamstrings are weak – this causes unequal pull on the joints and sets the stage for knee injuries. Furthermore, sedentary jobs and frequent travellers who spend most of the day in a seating position, have tight and weak hams.

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Here’s how you can strengthen this muscle:

a. Swiss Ball Curls - Lie on your back with your calves resting on a swiss ball. Lift your hips off the ground, form a straight line from your feet to your shoulders. Roll the ball towards you, bending your legs and finish with your feet flat on the ball. Roll the ball back to the starting position.


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b. Standing Hamstring Curls – Theraband/Weight Cuffs – Tie a theraband or a weight cuff at ankle and bend one knee back towards buttocks, while keeping the thigh in the same position. Hold till you count 5 and repeat 10 times.


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4. Calf Muscles
Calves are also called the second heart of the body, as their main function is to push the blood back to the heart from the legs. In frequent travellers and people in desk job, the function of calves are affected. This can lead to anything, from slight discomfort to severe pain. Other reasons of calf pain can be peripheral vascular disease, Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) or even limited range of motion in ankle joint.

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Here’s how you can strengthen this muscle:

a. Calf Stretch (for Gastrocnemius muscle) – Stand with wall support in front, and right leg behind, with knees locked, and heels down on floor. Now bend the front knee to feel the stretch in the leg calf (of the right leg- see picture) and hold for 30 seconds and repeat for 2-3 times.


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b. Calf Stretch (for Soleus) – Stand with wall support in front and left leg behind, with knees in neutral position and heels down on floor. Now bend both the knees and move down to feel the stretch in the leg calf (of the leg that’s behind) and hold for 30 seconds and repeat for 2-3 times.


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5. Rotator Cuff Muscles
The shoulders go through maximum mobility. Hence, are also most unstable. A joint with less inherent stability will always depend more on surrounding structures like muscles and ligaments for stability. This means that strong muscles are important to protect less stable joints, like the shoulder and knee, but these joints are particularly susceptible to ligament and muscle injuries, like rotator cuff and ACL tears. I have been working on my rotator cuffs for the past 4-5 years, as this helps me avoid overuse injury due to swimming.

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Here’s how you can strengthen this muscle:

a. Theraband Exercise- Bend the elbow to 90 degrees and tie the band to a door or window at elbow level and pull in slowly for internal rotators and pull out for external rotators. Repeat 10 times on each side.


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b. Rotator Cuff Strengthening On Stomach –Lie on stomach and suspend the hand down from bed as shown below. Now move the hand in upward direction to get forearm parallel to the ground. Repeat for 10 times. Gradually, you can try doing this with light dumbbells in hand.


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Nikhil Kapur is a Tri-athlete, Founder, and Director- Atmantan Wellness Resort. He is also a health council member at Healthhunt.

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Nikhil Kapur

Nikhil Kapur

Tri-athlete
An Ironman Tri-athlete by passion, I am the Co-Founder Director of the award-winning ATMANTAN Wellness Resort, a one of its kind International wellness resort located in Mulshi, a hill station near Pune, India. The resort was most aptly inaugurated on World Health Day in 2016 and offers deep, authentic and multi-dimensional wellness to its guests. The luxury lifestyle magazine – GQ, awarded me one of the ‘50 Most Influential Young Indians’ (2016) for men under 40 in India who are increasingly influencing the way we live, work and play. I am also founder of Keona Organics, which is engaged in genuine organic farming practises in farms near Pune. I want to create awareness on organic produce and want people to make the responsible choices when choosing food items for their kitchen. On the home front, I love playing father to my ten year old son, he is my daily destress pill
Nikhil Kapur

Nikhil Kapur

Tri-athlete
An Ironman Tri-athlete by passion, I am the Co-Founder Director of the award-winning ATMANTAN Wellness Resort, a one of its kind International wellness resort located in Mulshi, a hill station near Pune, India. The resort was most aptly inaugurated on World Health Day in 2016 and offers deep, authentic and multi-dimensional wellness to its guests. The luxury lifestyle magazine – GQ, awarded me one of the ‘50 Most Influential Young Indians’ (2016) for men under 40 in India who are increasingly influencing the way we live, work and play. I am also founder of Keona Organics, which is engaged in genuine organic farming practises in farms near Pune. I want to create awareness on organic produce and want people to make the responsible choices when choosing food items for their kitchen. On the home front, I love playing father to my ten year old son, he is my daily destress pill


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