Week 2 – Yoga, Bambi on ice, Mobility & increasing the intensity 31/08/2017

When you attend your 1st Yoga class on a Friday night, you know your life has changed! I was scragged into a Yoga class for beginners last Friday night, but in the morning I ran for the 2nd time this week without any issues.

Friday morning I completed another run which added to some invaluable time on my feet. I also thought I’d target my posterior chain, mainly my hamstrings and glutes with some strength work. I forced myself to do lots of different types of lunges. Key thing I focused on was to control my body weight once I landed with the front or back leg, which requires a certain amount of power. Its not quite plyometric work, but it was a small sample. Here are some videos of the exercises I tried. I did find them difficult, balance was an issue but I definitely felt the intensity of the exercises afterwards.

Reverse Lunge with Hip Flexion

With the Reverse Lunge with Hip Flexion, to target the gluteus maximus of my standing leg more, I would bear more weight onto the standing leg to push off from the lunge position to the standing position. In order for me to achieve this I would have to reduce the amount of power from the non weight bearing leg/the leg going backwards. It would be easy to use my lower leg and thigh muscles of this leg to do so. this exercises does target hip flexors, quads, glutes and hamstrings. Here’s the full description to the exercise…

Start Position: Stand with an upright posture with legs straight.
Action: Move one leg directly backwards behind you and land with the toe on the floor. Bend the back knee towards the floor, at the same time bend the standing knee and lower body down to the floor. Hold for a short pause, then push off back toe to bring yourself to a standing position on the standing leg. With the standing leg straight at the knee, bring the lunging leg forwards, driving knee up until it is in line with pelvis. Hold for a short pause, keeping standing leg straight.
Key Points: Keep your shoulders and arms free so you can balance better. Try to keep legs in line with hips, do not cross legs over the mid line of your body.

Single Leg Hamstring Supine Bridge

Start position: Lie on your back with knees bent up and feet on the floor. Point the involved foot towards you so the heel is only on the floor.
Action: Straighten one leg keeping the knees together. Push down through your heel lifting your hips off the floor.
Key points: Extend your hips to neutral and avoid rotation of your pelvis.

I struggled with this and cramped up, so I bent my involved knee more to make the exercise easier. Bringing the foot/heel away from the pelvis makes the exercise harder. It’s still a great exercise with no need for any equipment and simple to do with a range of variations.

 

After this run, I went to Yoga in the evening and discovered something new, my back mobility is poor especially my L side, going into back rotation or lateral flexion (leaning over to the side). Ā I probably didn’t get the most out of the poses as I was concentrating on doing to them as best as I could, without breathing! A couple of poses with me standing on one leg made me look like Bambi on ice. i didn’t fall over, but I certainly didn’t look graceful! I’ve never stared at a skirting board so much just to keep my balance! But I was a complete beginner and enjoyed it. The class also highlighted how tight my hamstrings and glutes are! Here are some videos of stretches that I’ve done to help improve my mobility…

Calf Foam Rolling

There are two different techniques demonstrated in this video.
1.
From 0:05-0:20 seconds, place the calf on the foam roller and rotate entire leg inwards or outwards. By rotating the leg inwards and outwards, you can target tight areas on the inside and outside of the calf muscle.

2. Pin & Stretch
From 0:21-0:41 seconds, place the other leg on top of the involved leg to apply more pressure onto the foam roller. Move up or down the foam roller, or rotate the leg to find tight or sensitive areas with the involved leg relaxed. Once you find a tight area, stop all movement and pin the involved foot towards you, to create a stronger stretch. Hold for a few seconds, then release and repeat the procedure.

Gluteal Foam Rolling

Start position: Sit with your hands supporting you on the floor, a foam roller underneath the buttock to be released, and your same leg crossed over the opposite knee as shown. Place the foam roller in the same direction as your body, not across it.
Action: Slowly rotate your pelvis and body towards the same side as glute that is on the foam roller, while maintaining the start position. You will eventually reach the outside part of the hip area when you rotate your body on the foam roller.

Glute Stretch

Start Position:Start from all fours (on hands and knees)
Action: Bring your left knee forwards and place it more or less behind your left wrist. Place your ankle somewhere in front of your right hip. The more your lower leg is parallel with your pelvis, the more intense the hip opener.
Slide your right leg back, straighten the knee and point the toes. Make sure your leg is behind your body and not drawing outwards and your heel is pointing up to the ceiling.
Gently lower yourself down onto your forearms, and use some support under your left buttock if needed, to keep your hips level.

Inside Hamstring Stretch

Start Position: Lying down on your back, lift leg up towards the ceiling. Wrap a towel around the calf and hold firmly with your hands.
Action: Rotate the entire leg outwards, then pull on the towel to bring leg away from your hips. This will create a stretch on the inside of the muscles at the back of your thigh.
Key Points: Pull more with the hand that is on the same side as the leg that is being stretched. Keep pelvis on the floor as much as possible.

Outside Hamstring Stretch

Start Position: Lying down on your back, lift leg up towards the ceiling. Wrap a towel around the calf and hold firmly with your hands.
Action: Rotate the entire leg inwards, then pull on the towel to bring the leg across your hips to the other side. This will create a stretch on the outside of the muscles at the back of your thigh.
Key Points: Pull more with the hand that is opposite to the leg that is being stretched. Keep pelvis on the floor as much as possible.

 

For Week 3 I’ll be focusing on the same things, and only increasing my distance of my running intervals if my technique improves. I’ve got plenty of time to get to where I want to be, so I don’t see the point in rushing now or pushing myself too hard.

 

As mentioned before, I’ve chosen these exercises as I feel in my professional point of view they will benefit my health and fitness goals. They may or may not be suitable for you, especially if you are injured and/or recovering from an injury. Please get clearance from your injury therapist or GP before attempting them.

 

 

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