I’m really out of catchy Post titles, not that I was ever full of them! A skill to be developed, that’s for sure!
In the spirit of full disclosure, after my competition on Saturday I did NOT perform any stretching. I was fully gassed, but also completely amped up (a combo that makes for an interesting state of body/mind!) and truly it was the furthest thing from my mind! I also skipped my Yoga DVD in favor of some foam rolling on Sunday. Both yesterday (Monday) and today (Tuesday), I’ve continued with the foam rolling in addition to stretching post-training. That wasn’t part of the plan, but as it continues to feel fantastic, I’ll keep it up and consider it a bonus!
What’s foam rolling?
From a really great article on the history and current use of foam rolling:
“A foam roller is simply a cylindrical piece of some type of extruded hard-celled foam. Think pool noodles but a little more dense and larger in diameter. The techniques are simple. Clarke’s initial recommendation was not a self-massage technique but, more the accupressure concept described previously. Athletes or patients were simply instructed to use the roller to apply pressure to sensitive areas in the muscles. Depending on the orientation of the therapist, these points can alternately be described as trigger points, knots or simply areas of increased muscle density….The use of foam rollers has progressed in many circles from an acupressure type approach to a self-massage approach. The roller is now used to apply longer more sweeping strokes to the long muscle groups like the calves, adductors and quadriceps and small directed force to areas like the TFL, hip rotators and glute medius.”
It’s a well-written and thorough explanation of the uses, pros and cons of foam rolling, and also provides some video and text instruction on performing some ‘rolls.’ Here’s another link, via Raphael (my good friend & mentor over at Fit By Raphael) that provides instruction on a large range of rolls for the entire body.
Bit of a tangent there, sort of!
Week 5 of SAT is the last week I intend to continue to build on my foundation – by the end of this week, I feel like I’ll have incorporated flexibility into my training to an appropriate and sustainable level and the hard work of maintenance begins. Today I focused on my hips/glutes and back. I used the stretch trainer machine, and added the following two floor stretches:
Lie on your back with both legs extended straight in front of you, your arms extended straight out to the sides so your body forms a “T” on the floor. Lift your the bend your right leg, bend your knee, and gently pull your knee in toward your chest. With your left hand, reach across your body and gentle press down on the knee, keeping your shoulders flat on the floor, and pull your leg across your body towards the floor on your left. As you press down, you’ll feel this stretch through your lower back and hip muscles. Hold for 20-30 seconds, then repeat the stretch on the opposite side.
The piriformis muscle is partly responsible for helping you to rotate your hip outward (away from your body), it starts within your pelvis and attaches at the top of your leg (femur). To get into position, lie on your back and bring both knees in the air until they are perpendicular with the floor. Cross your right ankle over your left knee and grasp the back of your left thigh with both hands. Gently pull your left thigh in towards your chest. As you pull your thigh closer, you’ll feel the stretch along the outside of your right glute and through your hip. Hold for 20-30 seconds, then repeat the stretch on the opposite side.
If you have trouble getting into position, you can try this seated on a chair, crossing one ankle over the opposite knee and allowing the knee to gently fall in the direction of the floor.
Almost there with this particular “thing” but that doesn’t mean there’s not time for you to join in with yours, or start a new one (there’s always time!). So subscribe, leave me a comment below and let me know what you’re up to, tweet, or ‘Like” Bloom on Facebook and join me there.