Archives for posts with tag: hip flexors

There once was a time when foam rollers were as rare as unicorns and only existed in elite gyms and PT clinics.

It’s exciting to see the popularity of foam rollers rising. They’re even popping up in big box gyms that charge $10/month.

…And Marshalls!

Woo!

Any way, whether you love or hate the foam roller, you’re really not doing yourself any favors by skipping it or only spending 0.9 seconds on your quads and calling it a day. Let me remind you of the benefits of foam rolling, cause yeah, it’s that awesome.

Why Foam Roll?

  • Long story short, it essentially helps to turn muscles “off.” Upper back or hamstrings always tight? Foam rolling can help
  • Breaks down any adhesion or scar tissue in our muscles that limit our range of motion
  • Works out any knots you may have
  • Helps to release trigger points
  • Some research has shown foam rolling increases blood flow and vascular function
  • Increases flexibility and range of motion
  • Improves posture and function
  • Helps to prevent injuries from running, lifting, or overuse in general

The Standard Go-to Areas

Obviously everyone’s needs are going to be different, and people will feel the effects of rolling in some spots more than others. But the standard areas are always a good place for beginners or extraordinarily tight folks.

Quads

Hamstrings

Calves

Upper back

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IT Bands

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Foam Rolling 2.0- The new spots that need attention

The TFL – aka the ‘pocket’ muscle. This is the small muscle that runs in between your IT band and your quads. If neither of those spots are tight, try getting in the middle area (wear your pants pocket would be) and it’s a game changer.

The VMO – This is the quad muscle closest to the knee in your inner thigh. This is a very important spot to get especially if you’re varus or bow-legged.

The Psoas (or hip flexor) – So the hip flexor is a tough one to get with the foam roller; it’s best to do with a tennis or lacrosse ball. Lay on your stomach with the ball between you and the floor. Start with it right under your pelvic crest of your hip bone (the part that protrudes) and roll around slowly to find the tender spots.

Medial Gastroc (or inner calf) – Like I said earlier, the calves are a good go-to spot. However changing the angle just a little bit will make a huge difference. Manipulate the position on the roller by crossing one ankle over the other and turning your foot inward to get the inside of your calf muscle.

Conclusion

Foam rolling is all about taking it slow and finding the spots where you feel it the most. If you feel nothing on your quads but your calves cry a little every time you roll them, don’t waste too much time on your quads. It’s easy to manipulate angles and find tender areas, you just have to play around with it. On my non-workout days, I almost always spend around 30 minutes foam rolling. It’s one of the best things you can do for your body!

If don’t already have one for home, I highly recommend it. If you have limited time during the day, it’s convenient to have one at home to use for 10 minutes while you watch a show or wait for dinner to heat up.  You can get them at most sporting goods stores, and sometimes if you’re lucky you’ll find them in a Marshalls or TJ Maxx. However the cheapest place that I’ve found is http://www.optp.com.

Enjoy!

 

-LD

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I am a big fan of spinning. It’s a good 45-60 minutes of interval training that usually consists of sprints and climbs. It’s excellent conditioning, easy on the joints, and not to mention with the right teacher… it’s just a good time.

However, I want to talk about reasons it may be good for female lifters other than the obvious.

This occurred to me while I was doing some post-deadlifting spinning on Saturday. Once I was in my groove, I thought how nice the position felt on my back. Like a lot of women (and serious lifters of either sex), I have an anterior pelvic tilt.

Basically what that translates to is elongated (and/or weak) hamstrings and hip flexors, and short spinal erectors. This imbalance can be caused from a number of things: wearing high heels, standing all day, power lifting etc. Often times, anterior tilt can be to blame for the feeling of ‘tight hamstrings.’ People think they need to stretch more, which actually exacerbates the problem and is the opposite of what they need to be doing.

 Obviously, when anything is imbalanced, it can cause issues or pain when training. To help correct anterior tilt, the prescription is usually some direct lower abdominal and hamstring work.  The reverse crunch and stability ball hamstring curls are two effective exercises for this.


Now you may be asking how spinning fits in with all of this.

My only gripe with spinning is that it puts most people that are sitting all day… in a seated position some more. Now we all know that hosts a plethora of postural imbalances from tight hip flexors/weak glutes to tight pecs/weak upper back.

So these people should make sure to do some supplementary stretching of the hip flexors, quads, and chest, as well as strengthening the glutes and upper back.

However, for those of us that live in anterior tilt, a spin class might serve as a 45-minute-corrective-cardio-sweat sesh! The motion of spinning heavily works the hip flexors and hamstrings, while putting the low back on stretch. This is exactly what anterior tilt needs for corrective exercise!

In fact upon thinking about it, when I first started at Fitcorp I used to take spin classes frequently to supplement lifting. Then once my schedule started getting crazy spin fell to the way side. Coincidentally my low back started giving me problems. Who knows if that’s cause and effect but it definitely got my wheels turning.

Pun intended.

I think it’s valuable for everybody who exercises to have an understanding of their alignment. This is obviously a very individualized issue so unfortunately there is no blanket program for everybody. Whether it’s through an awesome trainer at Fitcorp (*cough*), a physical therapist, a chiropractor or the likes, everybody needs some form of exercise to improve and maintain good posture.

On another note, I may or may not get a post in before Thanksgiving, but if not, I hope everyone has a fantastic holiday! I’m personally looking forward to my aunt’s famous pumpkin ravioli. Okay… looking forward is an understatement; I LIVE for this day 😀

Try not to overeat TOO much, and don’t forget to come to the Turkey Throwdown this Wednesday morning!

Happy Monday!

-L