“Joy pain” and the art of stretching

I am officially in pain. I have only myself to blame and my Devil of a trainer. I am not injured – just really sore. And by really sore I mean I can barely move. Turning over in bed is painful. Bending over, not possible. And walking is a chore.

I haven’t hurt this much since I started working out in November. What’s changed you may ask? Two things:

  1. I slacked off for 2 weeks really. I went from training 3-4 times a week to twice and then once last week and truly, that shouldn’t even count since I was hung over and really not up to par. My training session on Monday was intense and, after not much working out for 2 weeks, perhaps too intense.
  2. The biggest issue (IMO) is that I didn’t stretch enough afterwards. I worked my legs pretty intensely and should have stretched for a lot longer and then followed it with a hot bath and more stretching. I still would have hurt but I doubt I would have hurt for 3 days afterwards!

The biggest lesson I have from this is STRETCH. I’m trying to do the following stretches now and after EVERY lower body workout:

  1. Hip/Glute Stretch
    Cross left  foot over right knee.  Clasp hands behind right thigh and gently pull the leg in towards you, keeping upper body relaxed.  Switch Legs

  2. Hamstring Stretch
    Lie on floor with knees bent.  Straighten one leg and slowly pull it towards you, clasping the thigh, calf or ankle.  Keep knee slightly bent. Switch legs.

  3. Inner Thigh Stretch
    Sit on floor with feet pressed together.  Keeping abs in, lean forward until you feel a gentle stretch in your inner thighs.

  4. Lunge Stretch
    In lunge position, rest back knee on the floor, with front knee at 90 degree angle, abs in.  Gently press forward until you feel a stretch in the front of the leg/hip. Switch legs.

  5. Kneeling Hamstring Stretch
    From above lunge position, slowly move backward until leg is slightly bent. Bend forward at the hip, keeping back flat until you feel gentle pull in the back of the leg. Switch legs.

  6. Piriformis Stretch
    Begin on the hands and knees and bring the left knee in, resting it on the floor between your hands (you should be on the outside of the knee).  Straighten the right leg out behind you and, if you can, bend forward and rest the forearms on the floor.

  7. Knees to Chest
    Lying on the floor, pull your knees into your chest and clasp your hands under your knees.  Gently press your hips to the floor.

  8. Knee to Chest
    From above position, straighten one leg and pull the other knee into your chest until you feel a stretch in your hip.  Switch legs.

  9. Calf Stretch
    On hands and knees, straighten your legs, but keep them slightly bent.  Gently press one or both feet towards the floor, keeping back flat and abs in.

  10. Kneeling Calf Stretch
    On hands and knees, bring the left foot in between the hands and gently press the knee forward while pressing the heel towards the floor. 

  11. Spine Twist
    Lying on the floor, place right foot on the left knee.  Using your left hand, gently pull your right knee towards the floor, twisting your spine and keeping left arm straight out, hips and shoulders on the floor.  Switch sides.

  12. Quad Stretch
    Lie down on your side using elbow for balance.  Using other arm, slowly pull your foot towards your glutes, keeping both knees together and bent knee pointing down.  Switch legs.

 (from About.com)

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