Count your breathing rate, not seconds, while stretching

In everyday life, many individuals finish their workout, look at the time, and completely avoid the stretching section of their workout routine.  For those that do implement a stretching session, the feeling of being rushed and moving on to the next task of the day still lingers.  FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO STRETCH, OR AFTER READING THIS ARTICLE, CHOOSE TO IMPLEMENT STRETCHING INTO YOUR ROUTINE, I have something for you to try.

While going through your normal stretching routine there are factors and thoughts of; pain, strain, discomfort, whether you did the laundry, and what practice you are picking your kids up from that night.  But what if I introduced you to a way that eliminated all foreign thoughts and actually allowed you the opportunity to implement meditation into your stretching routine.  WHOA, HOW?  It’s simple, just breathe, and use your breathing rate in place of the 20 or 30 seconds you count per stretch.

You’ve finished your workout, and you don’t want Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) to kick in the next day or two.  You know, that feeling where you can’t even sit on the toilet or even reach to that top shelf where the sweets are located..  So the main solution and prescription is stretching.  As muscles are exerted during exercise, toxins are created within the fibers of your muscle.  Stretching, in a sense, cures this problem by pushing those toxins out of the muscle and into the bloodstream, where they can be broken down.  Along with the toxins, there are other well-known factors that also builds up in the muscle, and those factors are known as stress and tension.  This is where the breathing and meditation takes over.

From the beginning of your stretch to the end, you need to take all outside factors and flush them away.  Time is not a factor during stretching, and is now replaced by breathing rate.  Concentrating on your breathing rate, during stretching, will not only give you a moment to relax your mind and clear your thoughts but will also allow the muscle to release that added stress and tension you built up during the workout.  How many breathes should I take with this new technique?  A typical inhale to exhale duration will take 5 seconds, depending on how deep you are breathing in.  Do each stretch for 5-10 breathes, and eliminate all thoughts about time!  Worry more about releasing that tension, clearing your mind, and for just a moment let your mind and body go into a state of relaxation.

For information on stretching routines, or types of stretches you should perform after certain workouts, contact me by email: connor@1andonlyfitness.com

It’s All In The Hips

From the beginning days of internship and shadowing opportunities with Personal Trainers, Athletic Trainers and Physical Therapists, I have come to the conscious decision that an individual’s physical foundation begins at the hips.  It is where a human’s center of gravity is located, and therefore where a majority of weight bearing demand is met by various muscles.

Many of you that come into the gym have either seen or been through my hip circuit that I will put ALL of my clients through before their designated workout.  Though some are harder than others, I apply various versions of the hip circuit to those of different development levels.  If it’s your first time coming into a gym setting for the first time in a year, you’ll be on the mat doing straight leg raises before you know it.  As you progress, more usage of resistance bands and other tools will be implemented to further develop those muscles.  I use this circuit as a dual mode of warming up your body for the upcoming workout, as well as, hip development.

Through my experience I have discovered how under-developed the hip area is, and for everyone it may be different due to their past and present lifestyle.  Over a long span of time injuries and sedentary lifestyles can contribute to the pain and nagging aches you may feel in your hips, knees, and even your back.  Many have the problem with a muscle, involuntary or voluntary, that is having trouble firing or contracting because it may have been at rest for so long that the muscle’s weakness has developed a habit of not contributing.

Without even knowing it you may be walking down the sidewalk and not notice that you are stepping out farther with your left leg than your right, contracting that left glute and hamstring to push your body forward and anticipating your right leg’s hip flexor’s to pull your other leg forward.

Unfortunately, your hip flexor muscles are under-developed in that right leg and you begin a habit I like to call “The Peg Leg effect” which is where your hip flexor muscles are causing you to short step or your hip extenders and glute muscles are failing to fire for a strong push to propel you through your step.  This lack of symmetry and muscle balance between legs can cause overwork towards one side or the other that later on develops chronic pain and strain not only within the hip joint but the knee as well.

This brings you to the famous quote made by Chubs, in Happy Gilmore, where he states, “It’s all in the hips.” With a simple routine done 3-4 times a week, or more, you will have the opportunity to develop better core stability, improve posture, and increase your confidence for any leg exercise you have pushed aside through the past.  Not to mention, getting rid of that figurative Peg Leg!  Though there are many techniques and routines that are out there to contribute to your overall hip health, below are the ones that I would recommend.

 

Beginner (12-15 each leg, increase when needed)

-Lying Straight Leg raise

-Side Lying straight leg Abduction

-Side Lying traight leg Adduction

-Supermans

Intermediate (Implement ankle weights to the exercises above, increasing weight every 2-3 weeks)

Expert (Resistance Band needed, 12-15 reps)

-Side shuffle steps

-Squats (10-20)

-Zig Zag Shuffle Steps (2 forward, 2 backward)

-Squats (10-20)

-Leaning Kickbacks

If you have any further questions about hip development, need further descriptions of the exercises above, or have an interest to just learn more about the importance of hip development you can contact me at connor@1andonlyfitness.com