When a lot of us think about our animals needs, we think “food, water, exercise, rest.” We don’t necessarily think about how our own “food, water, exercise, and rest” help them out as well. You need to be strong and healthy so you can keep up with your pup, and be the person your dog thinks you are! Check out the videos below to see how you can start today!
WHY? The Anti-fall matrix is a great tool to help with proprioception (a.k.a. body awareness.) If you happen to fall or be pulled off balance by your pup, having great proprioception is helpful to avoid falling, or to get up after falling in weird positions. This allows you to connect with your whole body at one time so that way you can be more efficient with your movements, stay safer, and go further with your pup!
HOW? You’ll go through five movement as controlled as possible, standing up straight between each one. Start out by laying down on your front, then stand up. Next, lay on your back, then stand up. Right side and left side are next, and the last position is a high plank for a few seconds. Don’t overthink it, just try not to “plop” in any of the positions.
Notes: This is a fantastic move for all ages, but especially our more mature crowd. Falls happen, it’s scary, but you’ll be better prepared to get up if you’ve been practicing. Don’t overthink it, just focus on control.
WHY? Squatting is a basic function of life! Practicing your technique will help you build strong leg muscles (quads, glutes, hammies,) build upper body strength by creating tension before and during your squat, and keep your whole unit functioning together when you incorporate your abs. It doesn’t matter what type of pet you have, you’ll likely have to do squats to help them out at some point.
HOW? Plant feet firmly with toes slightly pointed out gripping the floor, and have your knees pointing where your toes do. Make sure rib cage is stacked over your pelvis and under shoulders and take a big breath in to brace. Sit down as low as you comfortably can without your butt tucking under (so no feeling it in the spine!) Exhale as you drive through the feet, squeeze your butt and push your hips back under your ribs and shoulder.
Notes: It’s okay to not be perfect yet, just focus on what you can control and if you need help, let me know. Squats look different based off of different leverage points and focus, it can be helpful to have someone teach you the difference!
WHY? External rotation will help strengthen your rear delts and help support your whole posterior shoulder capsule. Having this area strong will help ensure your shoulders are durable while you meet your doggo’s needs. These needs may include: throwing a ball or frisbee, reacting when your pup pulls a NSFWFH moment (not safe for working from home, Jack Jack,) long walks on a leash which may or may not include the occasional sneak attack towards a bird or squirrel, push ups to raise money for rescues *cough Push Ups for Pups happening May 16-31 cough,* or picking up LARGE bags of food and treats (because they deserve it and more.)
HOW? Place a loop around hands or wrists, palms facing each other, and bend elbows to 90 degrees in line with rib cage. Make sure that ears, shoulders, ribs, and hips are all aligned and brace abs (no butts sticking out!) Slowly exhale and push hands away from each other while keeping elbows close to ribs. Be sure to leave space between your ears and your neck so your traps don’t take over. You should feel them in the backs of your shoulders.
Notes: It’s like your forearm is a cabinet door on a hinge, and your shoulder is the hinge. 😉 Focus on control here, and be patient. For band placement- The further the band is from the fulcrum (in this case your shoulders,) the more challenging it will be. Play around with pauses or tempo to add a challenge.
BENT KNEE BALANCE-
WHY? Bent knee balance is a great way to help build stability and endurance in your knees so you can trek everywhere your pup wants to go! The muscles that you are engaging in this movement help support your knee cap and joint, which is super helpful when you have an explorer pup and have to go off road, but equally helpful supporting a step down from a curb on a casual morning potty walk.
HOW? This is such a simple move but can be surprisingly challenging! Start out on a flat surface, and if possible, barefoot. Firmly plant your starting foot (usually non-dominant,) spread toes, and drive your knee as far forward as possible while keeping heel planted. Try to make sure that your knee and toes are pointing the same direction to avoid your knee caving in.
Notes: Having your foot directly on the floor will help build the mental connections to your feet and give you the best “feedback” from the movement. Do not worry, it will carry over when you put shoes on (if they are the right fit,) or you can work up to doing them in whatever shoes you normally wear during activity.
WHY? We hinge in our every day life constantly, so why not make sure we are super strong in that pattern? Deadlifts and the many variations are a total body movement involving your quads, glutes, low back, abs, upper back, shoulders, and arms. The ab muscles you build during these will help keep your spine supported and allows your body to function better as a “unit” when performing tasks such as loading your dog in and out of the car, picking up dog food, staying strong and upright on walks, picking up “the business” that happens on walks, etc.
HOW? Start by working on a hinge pattern and then progress to adding weight or practicing with your dog. Place a dowel or broom stick behind back or in front of hips. Make sure that your head, shoulders, ribs, hips, knees, and heels are all in line. Shrug shoulders down and back and grip floor with toes. Take a large breath in and hold as hips are pushed back towards heels until hamstrings/glutes feel a stretch. Continue maintaining a flat back while chest moves towards the ground. Exhale as you push through all four corners of your feet and drive hips back under ribs by squeezing hamstring and glutes.
Notes: Jack Jack’s deadlift is considered a “deficit” deadlift since he is so low to the ground. Normally hips would be higher than knees in a deadlift. Each doggy deadlift will be a little different, but engage those abs and you should be good! Message me if you have any questions or want more tips for your hinge!
We hope these videos are helpful in your journey to be strong for your pet. We know you can be the person your pup thinks you are! Message us if you have questions, want more tips, or want to share a story about your pup!