I’ve trained hundreds of fitness clients ranging from HS football teams to elderly women using this. It is my go to piece of exercise equipment.

People often find using it awkward, and I’ve received plenty of dirty looks from clients because of it. But this fitness tool is incredibly effective in increasing true strength.

(As a quick side note, strength is not simply how much weight you lift when doing a bicep curl. Rather, it’s your ability to move, lift, and maneuver your particular body well in a variety of situations and environments.)

My favorite tool for increasing real strength is… the floor.

I know. It’s not very flashy. But it can do amazing things for your body (and as a bonus, it’s free).

Let’s dive into why the floor is so great for your body.

Movement Challenge
First, see if you can do this simple exercise.

Why is this seemingly simple movement sequence so difficult (for the large majority of you)?

#1. It’s a whole body workout.

Most people don’t recruit a large number of their muscles simultaneously. In fact, many gyms provide fancy machines that isolate muscles. If you focus primarily on strengthening the glamour muscles (e.g. abs, pecs, & biceps), they can easily get disproportionally strong while other less flashy muscles get neglected. Strong muscles adjacent to underdeveloped, weak muscles is a recipe for injury.

Swap out single muscle exercises (e.g. triceps kickback) for those that engage multiple large and small muscles at once, including your core (e.g. burpees). You will be a more functional mover and you will save time.

#2. You are tight.

Sitting in a chair, car, or sofa for hours on end causes certain muscles to get locked into a particular position. This repetitive chair posture leads to tight hamstrings (backs of the thighs), hip flexors (muscles around your hips), and shoulders. Moving up and down off the floor stretches and challenges your body to move these locked up areas.

Overcome Obstacles
Let’s address certain things that may impede you from doing this movement sequence regularly.

#1. You feel dizzy going up and down repeatedly.

Solution: Give your adrenals some TLC. These glands help to regulate your blood pressure when you stand up. If they are overly taxed from lack of sleep, a poor diet, excessive work or relationship stress, etc., they struggle to give your body that small amount of support needed to regulate blood pressure when you stand. Their slow response leads to a dizzy sensation upon rising.

Increasing sleep quality and quantity, eliminating processed food and foods you are sensitive to, and getting more tech-free outdoor time are all restorative steps to boost your adrenal health (or HPA axis health, for my fellow health nerds out there).

#2. There is no space on your floor or your floor is dirty.

Solution: Take 5 minutes to declutter an area and or vacuum. Also, stop making lame excuses. :)

#3. You’re at a hotel and the floor is gross.

Solution: Put some towels on the floor or do the sequence on your bed (just please watch your head when standing up).

#4. You can’t get all the way down to the floor.

Solution: Initially modify the movement by elevating the floor. Put a mattress on the floor or use a low sofa for this exercise.

Action Steps
Do the aforementioned exercise several times throughout the day for the next week and monitor how your mobility and strength improves. Here are some great opportunities for doing the sequence.

  • Now. Do it and let me know how it went in the comments!

  • Roll out of bed in the morning and start doing them. Just don’t fall back asleep on the floor.

  • When you get home from work, kick off your shoes and get a set in then. You’ve likely been sitting all day. Help your body to loosen up.

  • While watching TV, Netflix, or a movie, set a timer for every 15 minutes and do these movements 10 times each time the alarm goes off.

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