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T R E T C H I N G
Hey, I'm as guilty as
anyone when I'm in a time crunch for my workout. I focus more
on the effort stuff like the resistance training and cardio, and
less on the prep and injury reducing stuff like STRETCHING!
One thing I have noticed as I've gotten older is that flexibility
training is essential for muscle recovery, reducing soreness, and
joint health, in addition to mobility.
For those of you that
haven't stayed up on this stuff, there have been some new
studies in recent years regarding the type of stretching to perform
and when to perform it. To summarize the portion of these
studies that I wanted to talk about, "dynamic" stretching is
recommended prior to working out or participating in athletics,
while "static" stretching is recommended post workout in order to
Dynamic stretching is a form
of stretching beneficial in sports utilizing momentum from form in
an effort to propel the muscle into an extended range of motion (not
exceeding one's static-passive stretching ability). Dynamic
stretching increases range of movement, blood and oxygen flow to
soft tissues prior to exertion.
Increasingly coaches and sports trainers
are aware of the role of dynamic stretching in improving performance
and reducing the risk of injury. In the past it was the
practice to undertake static stretching before exercise.
However, static stretching has been proven detrimental to
performance, as recent studies have shown that it tampers explosive
ability. Static stretching also augments the joint and can
promote instability in the joint, thus making an individual more
susceptible to injury. Individual should turn to more dynamic
stretching to enhance rather hinder performance.
Some of the typical exercises that I
will include at 30 second intervals when warming up my clients
Static stretching is used to
muscles while the body is at rest. The focus of the technique is
to gradually lengthen a muscle to an elongated position (to the
point of discomfort) and hold that position for 30 seconds to two
minutes. 30 seconds is the minimum duration to get the benefits of
stretching, whereas two minutes is the maximum (if a position can be
held for more than two minutes, a farther stretch should be
Static stretches are best utilized at
the end of your workout to help return the muscles to their
pre-workout elongated state, to help relieve lactic acid, and to
eleviate muscle soreness. Here are a few of my favorite
stretches that I try to perform top-down after working out...
grab wrist behind back, tilt head towards out-elbow, slowly look up
straight arm across, pull into stretch with other arm
bent arm up, reach down upper back, slowly pull elbow with other
arms straight out, corner of a room, try to get chest as far forward
as possible. Good one on chest day to help growth!
lock hands behind back, stretch hands straight down pulling
shoulders back and chest up
point hands backwards, gently rock your butt backwards. Really
good, little known stretch
arm out, palm up, bend hand down using other hand
arm out, palm down, twist hand outward while bending palm towards
forearm. helpful in preventing carpal tunnel
another carpal tunnel preventer. Bend palm toward forearm with
common yoga stretch that helps to stretch the sides/obliques.
straight arm up, push your hip out to the side opposite the
direction you are bending. keep legs straight
start in the down position of a push-up. try to keep your hips
down while you straighten your arms. keep head and neck
straight rather than shrugging shoulders
can be performed on the ground, but better massage stretch with a
ball. Cross ankle to knee and rock back and forth on that butt
hip flexor stretch
start on one knee with that same arm up in the air. Pull your body
forward with the other knee while side bending over the up knee.
Hip stretches are one of the most frequent questions I get.
stand on one leg, holding the wall if you need to, pull up the other
foot while keeping your knee down
in addition to touching your toes, this one works well.
Keeping your heels down, walk your hands out as far as you can, then
walk your feet up as far as you can. Do the same thing
lean back and try to place the ball of your foot against a wall or
other stable vertical object with your heel on the ground, then pull
your body forward into the stretch
keeping one heel down, alternate pedaling one foot then the other
There are so many stretches that you can
perform, and I thought of a bunch of others after I finished taking
the pictures (groin stretches, IT band, etc..) but just to get some
of them into your routine and see what a difference it makes in how
you feel and perform!
Bodyweight Exercise of the Month!
I love this style of crunch!
I like to mix this one up and do them on furniture sliders,
stability balls, my power wheel, or anything else that allows
me to move my feet while my hands are anchored. With the
suspension straps, your feet have less friction then the floor
version, but they still provide an ab-kicking stomach workout
that you will feel if you get a good number of quality reps
Target: core and chest (rectus
abdominus, erector spinae, pectoralis major)
your feet in a low rung of your suspension straps and assume a
pushup (high plank) position with your hands. Pull your
knees in towards your chest as far as you can, pause, and
return to starting position. Repeat for maximum
There's an App
Since they're popping up left
and right in this smartphone addicted generation, I thought
I'd add a regular column for health and fitness apps that
catch my eye.
I did an
article at the end of last
year about some of the ones that I've been using, I'll start
off this column with a few new ones that I just downloaded.
As part of my personal training certification, I have to
maintain a currently CPR and AED certification as well.
So in preparation for the American Heart Association
certification I downloaded 2 really good reference apps that
most people could probably benefit from.
The first is an application
from the American Heart Association called "Pocket First Aid
& CPR" and includes a wealth of information for everything
that you need to know for first aid incidents as well as
lifesaving CPR and AED usage.
Always handy to have for
athletic events, poolside, or any time that you want to
brush up on this valuable information. I recommend
going through it prior to an emergency... not when you're in
the hot seat!
The other application that I
downloaded is more focused on the CPR portion. "Pocket
CPR" by Zoll includes audio and visual prompts, step by step
processes, tempo counts... really everything that you could
need to walk you through performing CPR during an emergency
I was very impressed with the
easy to use layout and flow of the application.
Whether you are a health care
professional, a parent, or any responsible adult... CPR is a
valuable skill to know and these apps are a great reference
to have available to you.
Recipes for Health
I'm a huge fan of the "this not that"
books. I think I have 5 of them so far... they make great
coffee table books
; ) I took this month's recipe from the
latest updated edition of Eat This Not That, since it caught my
attention enough to want to make it.
Italian Meatball Soup
- 1 lb ground beef
- 2 medium eggs or 1 extra-large egg
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
- salt and ground black pepper to
- 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 8 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 1 head escarole, chopped into
- 3/4 cup small pasta (orzo, pastina,
- Combine the beef with the eggs,
bread crumbs, cheese, and good-size pinches of salt and pepper in
a mixing bowl. Being careful not to overwork the mixture,
lightly form into meatballs roughly 3/4 inch in diameter (a bit
smaller than a golf ball)
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot
over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery
and saute' until the vegetables have softened (about 5 minutes)
Add the stock and the escarole and bring the soup to a simmer.
Turn the heat down to low and add the meatballs and pasta.
Simmer for another 8-10 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked
through and the pasta is al dente.
- Adjust seasoning with salt and
pepper to taste. Serve with extra cheese on top.
Makes 6 servings / Cost per serving:
Eat This Not That
- 2012 Edition
It's Go Time!
Yay May! Since the nice weather came
early this year, I'm sure that most of you are well into your
outdoor exercise routine, right?
Come on... what's not to love?!
The sunlight and nice weather just has a way of waking you up
and making you want to do things. Energy and motivation
should be cranking up for EVERYBODY now!
As a personal
trainer, this is the time that the emails and phone calls pick
up... I recently picked up a few more clients, a workout
partner, and a few more members of our Sunday
Warrior Workout Club !
Now THAT is what gives ME motivation and makes things fun!
Get pumped for exercise... talk it up... and spread the love!
Motivation is contagious and the more the merrier when it
comes to exercise!
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"I wasn't surprised by my
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youtube of the month -->
Very creative compilation of exercises that can be
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