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The Triad - Cardio, Strength....and Flexibility!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

So I freely admit, I enjoy working out. It wasn't always so, but it is today. I enjoy both cardio and strength training. I like pushing my limits on both, whether it means getting my heart rate up doing interval training for cardio, or adding more weight on the bar for squats, deadlifts, presses etc.....I even (though not as enthusiastically) like combining the two, lifting mid-level weights for lots of reps in a short amount of time.

But there is a part of my fitness life where I have to admit to being a total slacker.

Yes, I'm not afraid to admit that I's the truth and there's no use hiding it....I'm a slacker.

I don't like stretching.

Actually, I kind of do like stretching....more like I enjoy the feeling after stretching.

You see, while working out, I enjoy the exertion, whether it's breathing hard as I peak during interval training, or pushing with all my might against the force of gravity with a heavy weight on my back....I'm OK with that.

But sitting on the floor, reaching for my ankles, trying to pull my back & hamstrings into extension is....not fun.

Maybe it's just that beginner's mentality thing....everything is hard when first starting out. And I've gone through bouts where I stretch regularly for a few days....then slack right back off.

I've even got all sorts of gadgets to make it easier and more fun. I do admit to liking this nifty little roller from Trigger Point;

It's an evil little device (as are most foam rollers) but I have to admit, when I'm done rolling it over my back, hams, quads, you name it, I feel like I've had a high end sports massage.

I also like it's evil side-kick, the Trigger Point Massage Ball. This little thing beats the pants off of tennis balls for finding those little spots in between the muscles; it forces them to separate and release. He hurts like a 'mo, but I can't deny his effectiveness.

I've found these little bad boys to be quite less painful, but they took a lot of getting used to....mainly because they weren't so painful (Why do I always go back to thinking that stretching has to be painful?)

They're kind of cool (SWMBO likes them too)...they just don't work fast. You basically relax into them as you place one or both on your lower back and gently press and relax into it. As you do so, you're supposed to breathe into it and let your lower back stretch, while keeping your abs somewhat tight. Not bad....I just have to get my Type A personality to accept them.

The last tool I have is a Stretch-Out Strap;

It looks dangerous, but it actually works pretty well for a not-so-loose guy like me, allowing me to hook hands & feet at various tension levels and just relax into them.

A few years ago, SWMBO and I went to a couples yoga class....while it was a pretty good date night event, it was an unmitigated disaster for was worse than being the kid who couldn't climb the rope.....I was the kid that couldn't hold the downward facing dog pose

Needless to say, what started this blog entry today was coming back home from an hour of cardio and 30 minutes of farmer's carries (see my blog
) and noticing I felt a little tight.

So after feasting on our Easter Ham (I make one hell of a good ham!), I got out a few of these torture devices and proceeded to stop, drop, and roll many of the various kinks out.

And, of course, I liked it....when I was done.

I make no promises....but maybe....just maybe....I'll find a way to work in this third leg of the fitness triad; cardio, strength,.....and flexibility!

Have a great night Spark friends!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    emoticon It took the Trainer at my Gym 2 YEARS to talk me into Stretching! I can be a Slow Learner, LOL! But when I finally really did it and did it correctly, I fell in love with it!
    emoticon I wouldn't dream of leaving the Gym without Stretching now.
    1761 days ago
  • KA_JUN
    I'm the same way. Have a love/hate relationship with my roller. That thing hurts if you're doing it right, but worth it in the end. While you're doing it, though. emoticon
    1790 days ago
    I think a lot of people overlook flexibility, but I think it can make a huge difference in loosening tight muscles and even help improve hip flexibility for squats and other ST exercises. I try to make sure I do a long stretch after an intense cardio or intense cardio/ST combo and I've seen a lot of improvement over the past 3 months. My foam roller, aka "Jillian" is also a lot less painful that it was for the first session.

    Hopefully you can make it a regular part of your workout routine. It does get easier over time, just like cardio and ST. That strap contraption looks a little scary though. It almost looks like one of those things those people hang from during Cirque du Soleil!

    1791 days ago
    I introduced some of the yoga exercises to my routine since January and I feel that they do me lots of good. Flexibility is important - especially to stay fit in older age, what I want to achieve with my program. My downward facing dog is not very pretty though....but it is getting better.
    I will call Amazon and see if they will replace the DVDs. Never did that, so it is going to be a challenge in itself
    1791 days ago
    Thanks for sharing! Stretching is too often an afterthought, if I have time, if I remember it, if it is convenient. A good reminder that it is an integral part of the whole fitness picture.
    1791 days ago
  • BOB240
    We're both too old not to do it. I force ten minutes stretching at the end of every routine. I hate it but it must be done.
    1791 days ago
    I *love* working out as well. I don't do enough stretching, either. I need to get back into it! And do more yoga, which helps the flexibility as well.
    I bought a foam roller the other week. I've used it once. I was so sore before, and it was so painful I was tearing up during (IT bands from running and lower body workout) but then after- it was a miracle!

    Keep up the stretching!

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1791 days ago
    i like exercising but i do get sick of doing some of the same things over and over. i do get bored with jumping jacks and lots of pushups. but i try intervals, different dance classes, yoga, strength training and HIIT.
    1791 days ago
    Great job on the stretching but it's really much better to stretch RIGHT AFTER working out! Then you don't get as much pain and it helps your muscles not tighten up as much in the first place. It doesn't have to hurt and it really gets better the more you do it. And that's my soapbox. So there. :)
    1791 days ago
    What a great blog! I also tend to think that stretching needs to be painful, but I'm kind of masochistic and I enjoy that pain while I'm stretching. Lol I came in from my run about an hour ago and started stretching and for about the tenth time in the last week I thought to myself, "I need to buy a foam roller". Those things are amazing! I might check out that torture ball you posted also. Sounds like it'll do wonders on my back!
    1791 days ago
    Dear GettingStrongerr,

    I guess as a person who's had quite a few injuries, I've become adept at stretching AND I know that without it, I might not walk the next day (no lie). But I can see that it takes some patience and practice to get into stretch. I think it's become so ingrained, that I just DO IT, didn't say I had to "like it". I hope this third leg of working out becomes more routine for you and therefore easier to get into.

    I do wish you all the best of success in your weight management journey!
    All the best!
    1791 days ago
    Flexibility is something that I've lost! I hope it's one of those things that you can get back with practice.
    1791 days ago
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