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Health, Wealth and Happiness

Five health tips for a pain-free, fit & strong body

By Christopher Hole

During my time in the fitness industry the way we exercise has morphed many times, with fitness experts trying to discover the next global trend. These elaborate trends may be good for the experienced gym goer but what can the health seeking person do to stay pain-free, fit and strong? Hopefully these next five tips can help.

  1. Do isometric exercises

Many gym goers believe doing sit-ups, crunches, side bends and back extensions will give you a strong core. Unfortunately this isn’t so true, the bending of the spine in these exercises are in fact the injury mechanism for disc bulges and herniation’s. It is much better for your core to do static exercises like the plank, side plank, stir the pot and bird-dog. These exercises spare the spine and strengthen the muscles of the core.

  1. Lift with your hips

When we lift objects from the floor we tend to use our back because it’s more convenient. We are also taught to lift with our knees but we could be doing it better. Lifting with the back will make your back hurt and lifting with your knees will eventually make your knees hurt.  Lifting with your hips is the safest and strongest way to lift, as Leonardo da Vinci wrote in his notes “the greatest and most powerful muscles in man are his buttocks, these are of marvelous strength, as is demonstrated by the force exerted when lifting weights”.

  1. Learn the five core skills

When most people start exercise they aren’t always told where to start. If we take the mainstream approach we are told to get fitter by running & lifting weights. This may be true for some but not for all.


From my research before getting “fit” there are 5 boxes to tick;

  • Have you mastered breathing at rest and exercise?

  • When moving during exercise and everyday life do you have conscious awareness of what each joint is doing?

  • Do you have enough stability in your ankle, knee, hip, spine and shoulder to complete everyday tasks and exercise safely and effectively?

  • Do you have enough mobility in your ankle, knee, hip, spine and shoulder to complete everyday tasks and exercise safely and effectively?

  • Do you have enough muscular endurance to be able to hold posture in a variety of movements and positions for prolonged periods of time?

  1. Learn the 8 fundamental movements

We all know we can move as we do it everyday, but how well do we move? It is not very well known but small joint misalignments are contributing to injury. If we only go to the gym do get fitter faster and stronger we not adressing our complete fitness and well being, it’s like building a house without a foundation.


There are eight fundamental movements that work with the core skills.

  • Lifting

  • Carrying

  • Pushing

  • Pulling

  • Getting up

  • Rotating

  • Walking

  • Running

  1. Then get fitter

Once you have mastered the core skills and fundamental movements you will be better prepared to do more exercise. By trying to do more exercise without these movements and skills you increase your risk of injury and reduce your performance. By taking the time to work through the skills and movements you decrease your risk of injury and improve your performance.



The Plank

  • Starting on your knees and elbows, elbows below shoulders and forearm parallel

  • Make sure you have a natural S-curve in spine

  • Extend one leg and then the next

  • And you maintain a straight line through ankles hips and shoulders

  • Keep your head in line throughout



Hip Lifting

  • Place a weight in between your feet, the height at which the weight should be Will be determined by how much you can bend forward

  • Stand up straight with a natural S-curve in your spine head inline and feet hip to shoulder width apart

  • Begin to bend at the hip and allow your arms to hang naturally

  • Only flex at your knees are little and only flex at your hips until just before you lose your natural S curve

  • If you were unable to reach the weight and maintain a natural S-curve then raise the weight higher

  • Grasp the weight, tighten your abdominal wall and push your shoulders down into your rib cage

  • Push your hips forward and begin to stand up straight

  • With the exact same movement but in reverse return the floor

  • Let go of the weight, stand up, shake out your body, before performing the next rep



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