Suicide by stretching

July 5, 2011

I came across this post on the MobilityWod website yesterday and the title caught my eye.  “Mobility is about position. Stretch with purpose, not to warm up.” Since my coach, Sandy Sommer, always says “Train With Purpose” I thought I’d give it a look.

It was awesome and included a great stretch for the hip flexors and for me, my quads fo sho. He talks more about stretching to get into position, rather that just warming up. Said another way, if you cannot get into a certain position, how do you plan to get there. Here’s a good quote from his post

“Don’t confuse mobility work with warm up.  You may need mobility work to be able to actually get into your                 movement positions, because sometimes squatting light does not actually prepare you enough for squatting heavy (in a good position).”

I took that to mean, that just going through the motions of the work you are going to do, won’t necessarily prepare you for that work. Can you get into the position you need to be in, to do the work you want to do?

My hips and glutes are tight. Getting into, and staying in a deep squat, as in what I’m attempting for my 10 minute squat test, isn’t easy. That can be an easy one to assess, stretch those problem areas and it should help me get there, right? Maybe. What about my knees? Lower back? Also, my left shoulder is a problem area. Do I work that joint? Sure, but what has given me the most relief is using lacrosse balls between my shoulder blades. I found ugly knots I didn’t know I had and BOTH shoulders are benefiting from that work with increased range of motion.

Take this episodes stretch and test.

It’s called the suicide chair, or couch stretch. It’s bad and showed me how tight my quads are.  Click on the link above and give it a try. Then grab a roller and work your quads like Kelly says in the video, slow, slow, and slow all the way from the knee to the hip. I’ve not gone that slow, that long, and yeah, it hurt, but when I redid the suicide chair, it was much better. Then, I dropped into my full squat and it was much easier. My heels didn’t come up off the floor as far as they have been and it was a lot easier to stay down there. Who would have thought a stretch and rolling like that would help a deep squat.



April 30, 2011

The workouts are going great, now what?


Something I haven’t done enough of  is stretching, before or after my training, or just in general.

I’m 42 and not as loose as I used to be. Being a 40something is no excuse for inflexibility, it just takes work. Honestly, it’s not that difficult. You just have to work it into your training. Even 5 minutes a day can work wonders. Just like exercising, 5 minutes is better than 0 minutes, 10 better than 5; you get the picture.

Another thing that I’ve learned is that there is a difference in stretching and joint mobility. While I’m about to probably over generalize, they both play a big part in functional movement, which should be what we all strive for, functional strength and movement. What good is it if you can bench 350 lbs, deadlift 450, but can hardly touch your toes because you’re so tight? Good flexibility will help avoid injuries. I’m looking into different ways to learn more about joint mobility.

I got some nice stretching and movement tips when I had my Kettlebell lesson last month from Michael Spain at Summit Kettlebells. Nothing earth shattering, but he gave me some moves that will help keep my hips and hammys loose, which will help aviod injury and just help me move in general. Tight hips, or hip flexors can be debiliatating, lead to back pain and decrease your general movement. We sit so much now, weather it’s behind a desk, or behind the wheel that it’s important to pay attention to those parts of your body. You don’t have to check into a yoga class and spend hours getting loose. Just a few minutes a day will reap great benefits.

Something else I just started using is a Foam Roller. One of the first questions that my coach, Sandy Sommer, asked me, was if I had one. I had sent him a list of all the strength and conditioning equipment that I had available. I didn’t include the roller, but it’s important. Being tight can get you hurt when you’re training. Check this video clip from Todd Durkin on recovery and rolling.

He posted this on Facebook a few weeks ago and I took it to heart. It’s a great video on the why and how to roll. I especially like the tennis ball on the foot. I tried it with a golf ball and it works nicely too. The nice thing about the foam roller is that it really helps lengthen your muscles out and will work on the muscle fascia better than just general stretching. Think getting a deep tissue massage. I’ve some mobility issues with my left shoulder and rolling on my upper back and sides really seems to help with the mobility.

A roller isn’t that expensive. That Grid one Todd used is about $40. The regular ones can be gotten for around $20. A small investment that can pay big dividends.

Week 3 weekend workout log

April 26, 2011

Week three started this Saturday. Have I mentioned I really like deadlifting?

3/23 Saturday

Millitary Press

Millitary Press

45,55 x 5

65 x 3

70,80 and 95 x 5

135 x 5,5,and 3,

 155,180 and 200 x 5

I actually took a video of my deadlift which I will be sending to my coach. It looks like I have decent form. I’ll wait to hear from someone who’s been deadlifting longer. Who knows I may post it one day.

The best thing I like about these workouts is I’m not killing myself doing them, but I can tell progress is being made.

Sunday 3/24 Happy Easter!

I wasn’t 100% that day. I was wondering if I was overtraining? I didn’t think so, but you never know. I believe it was sinus stuff, or maybe a little cold. Just felt kind of jicky, a little achy. I had been foam rolling a lot Friday and Saturday. Did I overdo that? Probably not. I almost blew it off, but I just went for it. I’m glad I did. Turns out after a good nights sleep and some sinus medicine, I’m better

VO2 Max workout 35lb bell Snatches

:15/:15  12 minutes

Sandy’s been progressing me from 10 minutes, adding a minute each week so far. I made it through just fine, or at least I survived. I ordered Viking Warrior Conditioning Friday, it shipped today and should be here soon. Cant wait to read it.

I’ve been stretching more and using my foam roller more. The back feels great. That will be a bigger part of my regimen