5 Tips for Working Out with Hypermobility Syndrome

From our friends at Back In Motion Sport & Spine Physical Therapy, a physical therapy & sports medicine clinic located in Fort Myers, FL. They also provide personal training and sports performance training programs as part of Back In Motion Fitness & Performance.

1. Dynamically Warm-up

Warming up the body in the right way is crucial for gaining the proper results of the workout.

The role of the dynamic warm-up is to increase the blood flow to the targeted areas involved in the working out session and to wake up the neurons and nervous system of the body so the electric impulses travel efficiently.

A warm-up should be more than a quick jog and a few burpees. Include exercises that imitate the day to day activities of life.

Some examples of dynamic warm-ups are:

  1. Skipping
  2. Shuffling
  3. Lunging
  4. High Knees
  5. Carioca
  6. Downward Dog
  7. Spider-Man Lunge

2. Limit Your Range of Motion

Mobility refers to the range of motion of the joint/muscle. In hypermobile people, the range of motion is more than usual. Hence it becomes crucial to learn to control and limit your range of motion, especially when starting a fitness program.

For instance, instead of doing a push-up all the way down to the floor, limit the range by doing only half of the motion. This will prevent stretching of the anterior shoulder and ligaments.

Similarly, if you have a hip joint that is too flexible, you can limit the range as well, too. This is important when teaching people how to squat properly.

When you limit the range of motion, you rely less on your ligaments and joint capsule, which tend to be lax in hypermobile people.

3. Consider Isometric Exercises First

Isometric exercises are the ones where the muscle is activated by holding it at constant length inducting a static contraction without any visible movement of the joint.

Isometric contraction proves to be a great method to warm up and establish a connection between the brain and the muscular system but co-contracts all the muscles surrounding the joint.

Hence, it is a great way for hypermobile patients to exercise.

The most common isometric exercise we all know of is the plank position.

Isometrics exercise provides a sense of stability in the shoulder joint, core, and knees while increasing the awareness of the joint.

This same type of muscular contraction can be used for any exercise.

For instance, instead of doing a bicep curl, you can set a weight on a bar and attempt to lift it off the rack. This uses an isometric contraction and, again, there should be no movement of the joint.

4. Strengthen Your Stabilizing Muscles

The stabilizer muscles do exactly what they sound like; they stabilize the body and the joints.

These are often called tonic muscles because they should fire before more prominent muscle groups. For instance, the rotator cuff muscles are considered stabilizing or tonic muscles.

In contrast, the deltoid muscle is a phasic muscle. The deltoid muscle is used to lift heavy weight but the rotator cuff fires first and controls the joint. When the tonic muscles are weak, the phasic muscles override. As a result, this usually causes further hypermobility due to abnormal motion.

According to one study done on the group on women with hypermobility, it was found that the lumbar spinal stabilization exercise program improved pain complaints, postural stability, and trunk muscle endurance of women with Benign joint hypermobility syndrome (BJHS)

Some of the stabilizing muscles you should target in your workouts include:

  • Lumbar Multifidus
  • Glute Medius
  • Brachialis
  • Deep Neck Flexors

5. Progress Slowly

The golden rule which hypermobile individuals must follow is “don’t train to fatigue.” The more tired the muscles get, the less they can stabilize. Instead of pushing the number of reps to grow your limits, the focus should be on quality over quantity.

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