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Flexibility Fix

Guess what? You’ve made it to the sixth Workout Wednesday of 2013!

In about another week, the exercise and healthy eating habits you started in January should start feeling more like a part of your daily routine. So whatever you do, don’t give up now!

Don't forget to stretch!

Don’t Forget to Stretch!
Photo by Leslie Hassler

I’m actually a little miffed with myself that it’s taken me until this point in the new year to remind you about one of the most crucial yet often overlooked part of a well-balanced exercise program: flexibility training. One of my biggest regrets in my life-long love affair with fitness is that it took me far too long to incorporate a healthy amount of flexibility training into my own routine. Since many of you are still working out some kinks in your exercise program, I didn’t want this habit-forming time to end without reminding you to take care of the kinks in your body, too!

What kind of kinks am I talking about? Well, unless you’re a runway model, chances are your posture isn’t the best thanks to countless hours spent sitting at a desk crouched over a keyboard or stuck behind the wheel commuting or shuttling the kids around town. If you’re on your feet all day or paint houses or work in construction, you can also suffer from tightness thanks to repetitive motions.

While I can’t assess the exact points of tension in your body, one of the most common problem areas are the latissimus dorsi, or lats, in your back.  I know when I’m on deadline at work and don’t take enough breaks to step away from the computer, my lats start screaming for some TLC.

So on this Workout Wednesday, here’s a look at one stretch for this sore spot that I think is worthy of an encore performance: the static latissimus dorsi ball stretch.

  1. The prep: Kneel in front of the stability ball with one arm on the ball and the other hand on the ground. (Training tip: For the arm that’s on the ball, make sure your thumb is pointed up.)
  2. The move: Draw your navel upward and reach forward with the arm that’s on the ball. You will feel a stretch along the side of your torso into the lower back.
  3. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Return to start position, switch sides and repeat.

Photos by Lauren Bachner
At Hype Gym

For an active variation on this stretch, you would prepare for and execute the stretch the same way. However, once you reach your arm forward, hold the stretch for 2 seconds, then roll back to the start and repeat for 5-10 reps. Switch sides and repeat.

As we move forward in 2013, don’t be surprised to find I re-visit the importance of flexibility training in any fitness program. Taking care of those tight muscles is a surefire way to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Flexibility Friday – Stretch Those Lats!

Whether you spend hours each day sitting at a desk, standing in front of a classroom, painting houses or running from place to place taking care of a never-ending to-do list, chances are your back tends to get tight. That tension often specifically targets the latissimus dorsi, more commonly referred to as “the lats.”  Add some poor posture to the mix of daily activity and your lats can really start screaming for some TLC.

So on this Flexibility Friday, I offer one of my all-time favorite stretches for this sore spot: the static latissimus dorsi ball stretch.

  1. The prep: Kneel in front of the stability ball with one arm on the ball and the other hand on the ground. (Training tip: For the arm that’s on the ball, make sure your thumb is pointed up.)
  2. The move: Draw your navel upward and reach forward with the arm that’s on the ball. You will feel a stretch along the side of your torso into the lower back.
  3. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Return to start position, switch sides and repeat.

Photos by Lauren Bachner

For an active variation on this stretch, you would prepare for and execute the stretch the same way. However, once you reach your arm forward, hold the stretch for 2 seconds, then roll back to the start and repeat for 5-10 reps. Switch sides and repeat.

I know it’s a recurring theme here at LauraLovesFitness, but I simply can’t stress enough the importance of flexibility training  in any fitness program. Taking care of those tight muscles is a surefire way to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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