Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Stormy Workout Blues: Training Indoors

With the recent reports of hurricanes and storms on the East coast of the U.S., I thought it would be the perfect time to talk about indoor workouts and training from home. Clearly we can’t train in the middle of a hurricane, but we still want the benefits from a workout. Here are some workouts to try while you wait for the storm to pass, or if the gym just doesn’t sound as appealing today.

Drills are the easiest workouts to do without equipment, and if you normally use the gym as your go to workout place or don’t have the equipment, these are perfect for you.

Mountain Climbers
For the original mountain climber, start on the ground almost as if you were trying to do a push up. Then take your right leg and hike it up to your chest and extend it back to its original position. Switch legs. This is not a slow exercise, so pretend that you are trying to climb a mountain, your legs should be switching pretty fast.

Modified Mountain Climbers 
Some people also call these high knees. If you do not want to go onto the floor, or don’t have the space for it, then try these as a replacement. Instead of going on the floor, stand and do the mountain climber exercise, your back should be straight while doing this exercise and it will burn in your thighs. Try doing these for a minute at a time and take a break in between sets.

Lunge into Squats
For this exercise, start by doing a standing lunge, so as not to move around your whole living area. Then switch legs and lunge on the other leg, again try to remain in the same area. After you lunge on both legs return to a standing position and get ready to hold a squat. Squatting after lunging will help build strength and muscles in your thighs and gluteus maximus. This will give you more power on your runs, without even leaving your house.

Glute Bridge
My sister and I used to do these in dance everyday, but they also work for strengthening exercises at home. Word of caution, these will look funny if anyone walks in, but they are worth it.  Lie on your back with your palms face down at your sides. Your feet should be planted flat on the ground comfortably, not too close to you but not too far; you shouldn’t feel any stretch yet. Thrust your pelvis towards the sky. Your body should be straight and aligned, do not over stretch. Staying in the air, go back down (only with your pelvis) and then up. Your butt should not touch the ground. After a few of these, you should feel it in your outer thighs.

Star Jumps
To do a star jump, start out with your feet on the ground and your torso touching your knees, with your arms almost touching your feet. I like to pretend to be a frog to get the accurate position. Then jump up in the air and stretch out all your limbs, so your arms should look like a V and your legs should look like and upside V. Then get back into the frog position. After a couple reps of these, you will feel it through your entire body.

A benefit of treadmill training is being able to know exactly what speed and incline you are on and tweaking it to what best suites you. If you can’t make it outside and have a treadmill at home, consider this the best time to find your marathon pace. As always, start with a quick, easy warm-up run and then find your groove. Your pace shouldn’t be too slow or too fast, just find what works best for you. This will also help you time yourself to see how long it takes for you to run a mile at your comfortable race pace, so you can keep track of your running goals.

picture courtesy of the running blog

Final Notes

Staying at home is also another great time to take out your weights and lift. If you do not have weights, then push-ups and planks are another option. There are also the dreaded burpees. If you want to focus more on cardio, but do not have a treadmill, jumping rope can help get your heart rate up.

Whether you are staying home because of bad weather, or just simply don’t want to leave the house, these workouts can help you maintain your training goals.

Stay Safe and Happy Training!

Sebastian Linke
Owner SLS3

Monday, October 3, 2016

Knowledge and Alleviation of IT Band Syndrome

What is IT Band Syndrome?

IT Band Syndrome, aka Iliotibial Band Syndrome, is also known as runners knee and is common with any high impact sport. The IT Band is a ligament in the leg that connects the hip to the knee which helps stabilize the knee. If you are experiencing pain on the outer side of your knee by extending or bending your knee, then you might have a case of IT Band Syndrome. Not to worry though, following the acronym of RICE can easily alleviate it: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. If resting just isn’t going to cut it, you can try some low impact exercises like cycling or swimming. Here are a few tricks and stretches to help speed up recovery so you can get back on track.

Rolling with the Foam

Many of us have foam rollers to help stretch and massage pain and soreness after workouts, but it can also be used to relieve and stretch the IT Band. Start by lying on your affected side with the foam roller underneath your hip. Gently roll from your hip all the way down to your knee and then gently roll from your knee back up to your hip. This will help stretch out the IT Band and alleviate some pain. If you have any particular spots that are sore because of IT Band Syndrome, roll until you hit the affected area. Keep the foam roller in the affected area to create pressure and help relieve the knot.

Sleepy Time

Since this is a soft tissue injury, you might want to consider getting in some extra zzz’s. Your body will repair itself and replenish more when you are asleep rather than when you are awake, helping speed up recovery. Plus, everyone needs a lazy day.

Stretch that Ligament

One stretch that will help alleviate and strengthen the IT Band is to start by lying on your back. For this example, I am going to assume that the right leg is affected. Take both of your legs and scoot your feet on the ground so your knees are pointing to the sky. Make sure that your feet are not too close to you; it should be a comfortable position. With your right leg, cross over your left so the right ankle is touching the top of the left knee. Lift the left leg off of the ground; your right knee should be closer to your chest. Reach your left arm around just below the knee of your left leg and with your right arm reach through the opening in-between your legs to meet your left hand. Gently pull the left leg closer to you. You should feel it in your right hip area.

                                                picture courtesy of 

Hip Isolation Exercises

If you have an exercise band, then this one is for you. Lying down on your side opposite of the affected leg, place the elastic band around both knees. Gently bend both of your legs so that they are not straight out. With the elastic band around your knees, lift the leg closest to the sky; make sure not to rotate your hip. The other leg should stay on the ground for the entirety of the stretch. Repeat on both legs if necessary.

If you do not have an exercise band, or want to try other exercises, lie on the ground with the affected leg closest to the sky. Bend the leg on the ground; making sure it is not straight. Carefully lift the affected leg in the sky, not to high but enough to stretch. Again, making sure that your hip does not rotate and the bottom leg never leaves the ground. Repeat if necessary.

The Light at the Tunnel

Hopefully, these tips and tricks help alleviate the pain and get you back on the course faster. If you continue to experience pain, it is always a good idea to check in with the doctor to make sure you don’t have a serious injury.