A Surprise Fix

If you’re any type of runner at all – competitive, recreational, distance, sprint, or just the occasional trot around the block – then you’ve probably experienced pain in your Illiotibial (IT) Band at some point or another.  The IT Band is a very long tendon that is attached the the tensor facia latae muscle.  This muscle/tendon combination stretches all the way from your hip to the lateral portion of the knee joint.

One commonly prescribed “treatment” for IT Band pain is to foam roll.  You’ve probably heard it coming from running buddies, trainers, and doctors, and everybody in between.  There is certainly nothing wrong with this prescription.  In fact, there is much research showing the benefits of using a foam roller.  But, it isn’t the “cure-all” that some make it out to be.  A client of mine sent me an article this week that gets to the root of the problem, and does a very good job of explaining just what is happening to most runners.

The article comes from Breaking Muscle, a website with articles and forums covering any and everything related to muscles and their activities.  It’s a very informative and easy-to-follow explanation, one that you can read here.

Make sure the read the entire article.  It provides not only a good lesson in anatomy and physiology, but provides a good video description toward the end.  Also, read the first two comments in the comment section.  A reader brings a good question and the author offers a pretty good explanation of the article.  Hope you learn something!!

Exercise of the Week

Scorpion

This week I’ve got a new core exercise for you, called the Scorpion.  Once you watch the video you’ll understand why it’s called that.  Start by assuming the pushup position.  Bring your leg over the top of your back and touch down on the opposite part of your body. The goal here is to touch your leg as high as you can on the opposite side.  The higher you leg is, the more you will activate and stretch your core muscles.  For this exercise, keep the pace slow.  The slower you go here, the better.

Exercise of the Week

Bike Jacks

We’ve got a special guest for this week’s exercise!!  As you can tell me both the name and the exercise itself, we’ve combined a couple exercises for this one.  We use both the jack knife and bicycle situp in class quite often, so we decided to combine them.  In this exercise, maintain the situp position (back flat, chest out, no rounding over).  Each time you bring your knees in, rotate your core so that you elbow is touching the opposite knee.  Trust me, after 20-30 of these bad boys the abs will be on fire!!!

Exercise of the Week

Toe Touch Lunge Jump

We’ve been doing this exercise in class for a little while now, but it still may be new to some of you.  If it is new to you, you’re in for a treat.  The exercise goes just as the name indicates.  With your lunge jump, you’re going to take your hand down to touch your opposite foot.  Make sure you bend with your knees as opposed to your hips.  Trust me, this is going to make it burn a little more, but it will be worth it.  A great exercise for people at all fitness levels.

Exercise of the Week

Kneeling Kettlebell Swing

This week I’ve simply added a little twist to the standard KB Swing.  Simple take one knee down to the ground.  Make sure whatever knee is on the ground, the same hand is holding the KB.  If you try the opposite, the exercise won’t flow very well and it will throw everything off.

Focus on doing this exercise just like the normal swing.  Use your hips for your momentum here.  While dropping the KB, push the hips back.  On the way up, focus on pushing with the hips to get the KB moving forward again.  You’re really going to feel a stretch in that hamstring of the front leg, and the quad of the back leg.

Focus on form, because when done right, this can be a great exercise for core strengthening and flexibility.

Exercise of the Week

Bent Knee Crunch

As you can tell from the name and the video here, I’m adding a little something to the standard crunch this week.  Start the exercise by lifting both feet about six inches off the ground.  Then, take one leg and bend it so that both the hips and knees are close to a 90 degree angle.  That’s your starting position.  Reach your hands as far forward as you can, under control, then return to the starting position.  Try your best to keep both feet still during the movement, but if you need to touch your straight leg down to the ground then you can.

Exercise of the Week

Plank Variation

This week I’ve got a variation of the front plank for you to try out.  It’s a very simple adjustment, but one that can have your triceps burning in no time.  Simple take one hand and place it flat on the ground as if you are at the bottom of a pushup position.  Hold your elbow in tight to your ribcage, and keep it as close to 90 degrees as possible.  Switch arms every 15-20 seconds.  Holding this 90 degree angle will really get your triceps going, adding another dimension to an already great exercise.