Monday, January 9, 2012

Stretches and Strengthening Moves

I can't honestly say I'm a big fan of doing these moves, since I would much rather just get out and run or bike, but if I'm going to continue to be able to run injury free (or relatively so), it appears that I'm going to have to ensure that my body is not thrown out of alignment due to me ignoring the "not fun for me" areas which also demand improvement.

I know I was a bit vague on what the Chiropractor talked to me about the other day, so I thought I would share the general routine he asked me to follow (or ignore if I feel lucky...well, do I..?

[answer would be NO] :-)

Admittedly, many of these are both strength and flexibility moves in one.

Windshield wipers  As they do in the video, keep the legs bent (not straight). Start by going to the left, then the right, which makes a single repetition. He told me to start with 10.

Hamstring stretchwith band  With this one, he told me that keeping my leg straight is good up to a point, but there is a point where the gastrocnemius (one of the calf muscles) is the limiting factor. To move further into the stretch, unlock the knee and allow a small amount of flex in it to further stretch the hamstring (she does it towards the end in the video).  

Cross legged stretch  This is another one of those that is both a strengthening exercise, and a stretch.

Cat and Camel   This is a nice easy one. The stretch isn't pronounced, but it does the job and works some of the core muscles as well.

Piriformis Stretch (AKA The One Legged King Pigeon pose in Yoga). I didn't think I'd be able to do this when I first saw it, but it really isn't overly difficult.

Psoas Stretch  Be sure to remain facing forward...don't twist the upper body to the right or left. I personally find this to be a strengthening move as well, since I don't hold the pose effortlessly.

Cobra pose  As she says here, lead with the chest, not the head by tilting back the neck.

Bent leg sit-ups  With your legs bent and the feet NOT anchored in any way, place your hands beside and touching your ears (but not behind the head), and slowly sit up and then slowly return to the floor. I usually do two or three sets of 10.

Bent leg "leg ups"  Lie on your back, with your knees bent and your thighs perpendicular to the floor (the same starting position as the Windshield Wipers above). Cross your ankles, then slowly bring the knees up to the chest / head, then return back to the starting position. Once again, usually two or three sets of 10.

Rear Leg Raises  I normally do a couple of sets of 10 at this point.


Throughout all of these, my biggest problems doing these (aside from getting me off the couch) are not what you might expect.

  •  Regardless of his location and /or disposition just prior to me beginning, my six year old son will appear "needing" something (juice, chips, gummies, to tell me something (usually about a video game), needing me to read something to him (once again, usually  in the video game), or to ask me to play with him because he is lonely.
  •  Rio, our 11 year old Golden Retriever, will get as close to me as possible then lay down. If I need to move to a different position, it is my job to navigate around him. If happy, he will roll around on his back and flop against or on top of me (because obviously I'm in the floor to play with him). And since I'm obviously playing with the dog, why won't I stop and play with the boy (see above).
  • Oscar, our other 11 year old Golden Retriever, will drop a tennis ball next to me, back up a couple of steps and stare at me till I throw the ball for him. This will go on until he tires of the game (a LOT of throwing), or until I lose my mind and tell him NO...not now. He will then lay down and stare soulfully at me, heartbroken and hurt. Why won't Dad play with me (once again, because obviously I'm in the floor to play with someone, and it really should be him).

  • Cinder (short for Cinderella), our 2 year old black Lab. Will occasionally stop by and stare in my face (her face approximately 1/2 inch from my eyes) to make sure I'm alright. Then give me a big wet kiss and move on. Repeating as necessary (If Dad really was alright, why would he flop around on the floor like that).

The exercises and stretches themselves, aren't difficult at all...just takes a bit of time. Somewhere between 15 and 25 minutes (depending upon what happens concerning items 1 through 4 above).

By the way...I wouldn't have my workout routine "interruptions" any other way. :-)

Happy Running Everyone !


  1. nice routine... I think the trick might be to make it routine.

    I look forward to more progress reports and can totally relate to the interuptions from your "helpers"

  2. I have the same problem with too much dog help when I try to stretch :)

  3. Thank you so much for sharing your stretches! Haha, I can totally relate to the kid-interference. I like to lift a few weights after a few of my runs each week, and I'm going to add some of your stretches. Cat and camel felt great after last night's run!