The cherry picker exercise is a lower body exercise that targets the hamstring muscle specifically.
Hamstrings are typically not well-developed because they are not as easily engaged. Since they are located in the back of the leg, the cherry pickers isolate the muscles when you bend.
WHAT TO DO:
- Spread your legs so that they are shoulder-width apart
- Lift your arms above your head. Stretch enough so that you feel your core engaged
- Bend down using the hips. Ensure that your knees remain tense
- Then bend forward, bend to the middle and bend back in swift motion
- Do 10-12 reps for 3 steps
WHAT MUSCLES DO THE CHERRY PICKER EXERCISE WORK?
While doing the cherry picker exercise, you use your hips to perform the hip hinge. A hip hinge refers to the forward bending movement you make.
As such, you bend forward using the hips rather than the spine. In order to successfully do this the hamstring and gluteal muscles are also engaged.
As such, every time you bend forward while doing the cherry pickers exercise you work the hips.
The gluteal muscles are utilised in a more of a balancing role when doing the cherry pickers exercise.
When you do the hope hinge you use your hamstring and mostly the glutes to have balance.
This ensures that you don’t fall over and allows you to follow through with the necessary movements.
The hamstring is central to all movements necessary for the cherry picker exercise. The hamstring is isolated when you bend forward, through the middle and back.
As a result, the hamstring is worked through your full range of motion.
CHERRY PICKER EXERCISE BENEFITS
The cherry picker exercise is based around isolating the hamstrings by stretching. This requires you to bend down.
The more reps you do the more the involved areas adapt to this kind of movement making it easy to complete the movements.
Therefore the cherry picker exercise improves your flexibility.
Often mobility and flexibility come as a package deal. This is because the more you do the necessary movements the more mobile you get.
The hamstring is crucial in a lot of athletic activities i.e., it is responsible for the flexion of the knee. It also helps move your leg to the side when the knee is bent.
It is therefore crucial in pivoting.
As such since the cherry picker exercise strengthens the hamstring, it improves your ability to engage in athletic activities.
For instance, you are able to flex your knee faster while running. A huge factor in how fast you’ll be able to run.
REDUCES CHANCES OF GETTING BACK INJURIES
The hip, gluteus muscles and lower back are intermittently connected. Therefore every time you do the cherry picker exercise and do hip hinges you stretch your lower back.
Stretching the back keeps the lat muscles lean, long and strengthens them. In the long run, this helps prevent back injuries.
ALTERNATIVES TO THE CHERRY PICKER EXERCISE
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and place your hands behind your head with your elbows open wide.
- Keeping your knees slightly bent, hinge forward at the hips until your chest is almost parallel to the floor.
- Press your hips back while keeping your spine neutral and abs engaged.
- Squeeze your hamstrings and glutes to push your hips forward and rise up, returning to the starting position.
- This is one rep. Complete 10 reps. Rest and repeat.
- Use an overhand grip to hold the bar at hip level.
- Draw your shoulders back and keep your spine straight.
- Push your hips back as you slowly lower the bar toward your feet.
- Press your hips forward to come into a standing position with the barbell in front of your thighs.
SINGLE LEG GLUTE BRIDGE
- Lie face up on the floor, with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground.
- Keep your arms at your side with your palms down.
- Lift your hips off the ground until your knees, hips and shoulders form a straight line.
- Squeeze those glutes hard and keep your abs drawn in so you don’t overextend your back during the exercise.
- Hold your bridged position for a couple of seconds before easing back down.
DUMBBELL DONKEY KICKS
- Start on all fours with hands under shoulders, knees below hips.
- Bend the left leg to 90 degrees and place one weight behind the left knee.
- Squeeze left leg to hold weight in place and kick left leg up into the air, then bring knee under hips.
- That’s 1 rep, do 12 on each side.
- Lie on your back. Put your calves and heels on a stability ball. Place your feet hip-width apart and flex your ankles. Set your arms on the floor, palms down.
- Move your hips upward until your body is straight. Engage your glutes.
- Slowly lift your hips and bend your knees. Pull your heels toward your buttocks, moving the ball toward your body until the soles of your feet touch the ball.
- Extend your knees and lower your hips and back to the floor.
- Complete 12 to 15 reps.
MISTAKES TO AVOID
LOCKING YOUR KNEES
While bending down, it is common to want to lock your knees to ease the strain while doing the cherry pic
This exerts too much strain on the spine as a result of too much curvature in the spine. Excessive curvature could ruin your posture and also lead to back injuries.
You should aim for smooth movements while doing the cherry picker exercise.
Bouncy movements reduce the tension generated within the hamstring thus reducing the effectiveness of the exercise.
The cherry picker exercise is a delicate workout. In order to achieve perfect form you have to strike the right balance between tension and momentum.
It can also be a bit challenging to start if you have mobility issues. In such a case it is recommended to take things slow.
However, when gotten right, it’s a great wholesome exercise that balances strength and flexibility gains.