"STRONG IS THE NEW SKINNY"

"STRONG IS THE NEW SKINNY"

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Recovery and Flexibility Program

Today I decided to describe a recovery session consisting of foam rolling and key stretches. This session can be useful the day after a hard day of training or competition or just as part of your weekly program if flexibility is an issue of concern. However this session could also be included towards the end of ligther sessions.  If you choose to do it as a separate session or after a session is up to you, but either way it is important to be warmed up to allow for the increase in body temperature needed for effective stretching. This can consist of 5-10 minutes of for example easy jogging, cycling, rowing etc and mobility movements such as walking lunges, body weight squats, side lunges, spiderman’s etc – see previous blog for a sample of mobility exercises.

Type: Recovery and flexibility program

Purpose: Improve muscle flexibility and aid recovery between sessions or after light sessions

Suitable for: Everyone

Equipment needed: Foam roller and a mat (or just use the floor)

Repetitions and sets:

Foam rolling: 45 - 60 seconds per muscle group

Stretches: 30 - 45 seconds hold (to a point of mild tension) for 2-3 sets per muscle group

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Picture 1
1. Foam rolling - Calves

• Start by placing your calves on top of the foam roller, start just above your Achilles tendon (Picture 1)

• Place your hands behind your back to hold yourself off the floor

• Now roll your calves on the foam roller, from above your Achilles tendon to the back of your knee (Picture 2)

• If you find a tender spot, apply a bit more pressure and roll back and forwards over the tight spot

Picture 2

• To increase the pressure further, cross one leg on top of the other, only place one calf on the foam roller

• Roll for 45- 60 seconds on each calf





2. Foam rolling - hamstrings (back of thighs)
Picture 1

• Place your hamstrings on top of the foam roller, start just above your knee (Picture 1)

• Place your hands behind your back to hold yourself off the floor

• Now roll your hamstrings on the foam roller, from above your knees to the bottom of your gluteus (Picture 2)
Picture 2
 • If you find a tender spot, apply a bit more pressure and roll back and forwards over the tight spot


• To increase the pressure further, cross one leg on top of the other, only place one hamstring on the foam roller at the time

• Roll for 45 – 60 seconds on each leg


3. Foam rolling - lower back

Picture 1
• Place the foam roller under your lower back (Picture 1)

• Place your hands behind your back to hold yourself off the floor

•  Roll your back on the foam roller, from above your hip bones to upper part of your back (Picture 2)

• If you find a tender spot, apply a bit more pressure and roll back and forwards over the tight spot. Rest your arms onto your belly while rolli

Picture 2
• To increase the pressure further, lean over slightly to one side of your back at the time

• Roll for 45 - 60 seconds in the middle, and 45- 60 seconds on each side





4. Foam rolling – thoracic spine (Sorry, no picture for this one)


• Place the foam roller between your shoulder blades

• Place your hands behind your neck and squeeze your elbows together in front of you to make it easier to target the muscles between your shoulder blades

• Now roll your upper back on the foam roller, from the lowest part of your shoulder blades to your neck

• If you find a tender spot, apply a bit more pressure and roll back and forwards over the tight spot

• Roll for 45 – 60 seconds


Picture 1 (I guess I am closing my eyes cause I am concentrating very hard)
 5. Foam rolling- Latissimus Dorsi (each side of your back)

• Place the foam roller under yourself on the side, in line with the lowest part of your shoulder blade

• Straighten your lowest arms above your head, let your feet rest on top of each other or just how you feel most comfortable

• Roll on the foam roller from your side from the lowest part of your shoulder blade till your armpit
(Picture 1)

• When you are done with one side turn over onto the other side and repeat

• Roll for 45 – 60 seconds on each side


Picture 1
6. Foam rolling - Quadriceps (front of thighs)

• Start by laying on your front on the floor

• Place the foam roller under your thighs, start just above your knees (Picture 1)

• Place your hands in front of you to hold yourself off the floor

Picture 2
• Now roll the front of your thighs on the foam roller, start above your knees to the top of your hips (Picture 2)

• If you find a tender spot, apply a bit more pressure and roll back and forwards over the tight spot

• To increase the pressure further, cross one leg on top of the other, only place one thigh on the foam roller at the time

• Roll for 45 - 60 seconds on each thigh


Picture 1
7. Foam rolling- Iliotibial Band (outside of thighs)

• Start by laying on the side on the floor

• Place the foam roller under the bottom leg just above the knee (Picture 1
Picture 2
• Keep the bottom leg straight, but bend the top leg and cross over the bottom leg

• Place your arms in front of you wherever to find it most comfortable

• Roll from the top of your knee till the top of your hip (Picture 2)

• When you are done with one leg turn over onto the other leg and repeat

• Roll for 45 – 60 seconds on each leg

You may find this one quite sore as I know a lot of peole find this one  ucomfortable, but I think you can do it :)


Picture 1
8. Calf stretch

• Start with your hands and feet on the floor

• Cross one leg behind the other, make sure the bottom heel can’t touch the floor (Picture 1)

• From this position step forward a bit further with both feet until you can feel a stretch in your calf in the bottom leg

• You should push the heel on the bottom leg down to increase the stretch further

• When you are done with one leg, cross the other leg over and repeat


Picture 1
9. Hamstring stretch

• Start by laying on your back on the floor

• Lift one leg up in the air and grab your hands behind the back of the knee (Picture 1)

• From this position, try to straighten your knee first, then pull your leg towards you whilst keeping the knee straight

• Relax your head and everything else when you do this

• For some people it will be enough to straighten the knee up, others will be able to straighten the knee and pull the knee closer. This is individual, don’t overstretch!

• When you are done with one leg, lower the leg down and repeat with the other leg


Picture 1
 10. Gluteus stretch

• Start by laying on your back on the floor

• Bend both knees, cross right leg on top of the left leg (the left foot should rest on top of the right knee) (Picture 1)

• Grab your left leg behind your thigh with both hands and pull it towards you until you can feel a stretch on the outside of your right bottom

• When you are done with one leg, cross the other leg over and repeat







Picture 1
11. Quadriceps stretch

• Start by laying on your side on the floor with the bottom hand supporting yourself

• Bend the top leg and grab hold of the ankle with the top hand

• Push your ankle towards your bottom, push your hip forwards and make sure your knees are close together   (Picture 1)

• When you are done with one leg, turn over onto the other side and repeat







Picture 1

12. Lower back stretch (“cat stretch”)

 • Start by sitting on top of your heels on the floor

• From this position, lean you body forwards and reach your hands forward as far as you can (Picture 1)

• Make sure your bottom stays in contact with the heels all the way through the stretch

Picture 2
• You can change the position of your hands to each side to feel the stretch more on the side of your lower back (Picture 2)


I hope you enjoyed this "nice" and relaxing program. I know this session may not be the most exciting in terms of tempo,pace and energy, but sometimes we need to relax and recover to make sure we get the training effects we want. I will say recovery is just as important as the rest of your strength, power, speed, endurance and agaility training, however recovery is so must more than stretching and foamrolling so we have to look at that another day...

How do you find foamrolling? Do you think it is a useful tool?

Thanks

MoTo

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