How to do crunches. :)
A systematic review of studies that addressed the impact of stretching on sports injury risk published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise notes that the jury is still out on whether or not stretching can prevent injury among competitive or recreational athletes. However, flexibility exercises when done after a workout or at least after a brief cardio warm-up do help to maintain circulation around the joints, keeping muscles healthy where they’re most apt to get injured.
Stretching allows the body to move more efficiently and perform at its peak. During the course of a workout, muscles begin to shorten as they fatigue. This impedes your ability to generate speed and power and leads to a less efficient, shorter, more shuffling stride. Stretching keeps muscles elongated, reducing this tendency.
It can make you stronger. Some research shows that stretching the muscle group you just worked between sets can increase strength gains by 19 percent.
It’s an incredibly soothing way to connect your mind and body, and it simply feels great!
Because of the repetitive motion of the legs, running creates tightness in the hip flexors, hamstrings, and quads, often leading to lower back pain. Running also fails to strengthen the upper body or the abdominals. The YogaFit poses here serve as counterposes to offset runners’ lower-body strength and to provide supplemental work to increase total body strength, endurance, and flexibility. Many runners find yoga keeps them running longer and faster, without the nagging injuries.
Abdominal Curl: Start on your back with your feet flat on the floor and knees up. Place your hands behind your head with your fingers interlaced. As you exhale, slowly lift your head, neck, and shoulders away from the floor. Inhale and release slowly back toward the floor without ever completely relaxing your abdomen.
Yoga Bicycle: For oblique work, start on your back with your feet flat on the floor and knees up. Place your hands behind your head with fingers interlaced. Exhale, lifting your head, neck, and shoulders away from the floor as you bring one knee to your chest. Twist, bringing the opposite shoulder toward the opposite knee. Touch your elbow to your knee and inhale as you release slowly back toward the floor without ever completely relaxing the abdomen. For an extra challenge, extend your other leg out above the floor, pushing through the heel.
Modified Flow Series:
- Child’s pose: Begin kneeling on all fours. Push back and bring your arms around to the side of your body. To stretch your shoulders or to transition into another pose, reach your arms out in front of you for anextended Child’s pose. To make more room for your body, separate your thighs for a wide-knee version of the pose.
- Kneeling Plank: (either on forearms or hands) From Child’s pose, shift forward until your shoulders are directly above your wrists. Keep your back straight and abdomens firm. (I assume you can just do a normal plank for yoga for running but the book doesn’t say it)
- Kneeling Crocodile: From the kneeling plank, shift forward, bringing your shoulders over your fingertips. Hug your rib cage with your elbows and lower your chest, keeping your abdominals strong and hips stationary.
- Cobra: From your belly, rest your hands lightly on the floor next to your chest. Use your back to lift your chest up and forward. Draw your shoulders back and down.
- Back into Child’s pose.
Incline Plank: From a seated position, extend your legs. Place your palms on the floor behind you with fingertips spread and pointing toward your body. Press down through your hands to lift your hips toward the sky. Keeping your legs together, point your toes toward the floor. Look straight to the sky without letting your head drop back.
Bow: Lying on your belly, grab your right ankle with your right hand and your left ankle with your left hand. Lift your chest and legs to the sky. Pull your ankles back against your hands with your feet flexed, as if straightening your legs.
Half-Bow: Hold one ankle at a time, flexing your foot. Switch sides.
Kneeling Lunge: From all fours, place one foot forward between your hands, stacking your knee over your ankle.
Crescent Lunge: (not in book but I find it a great running stretch) Lift your back knee off the floor and straighten your back leg, pressing your back heel toward the wall behind you.
Quad Stretch (or sleeping hero pose): From a kneeling position, sit back on your heels. Place your hands on the floor next to your hips. Lift your hips and chest to the sky. For a greater challenge and a deeper stretch, place your forearms on the floor (or if you’re as flexible as I am and get no stretch from this, lay all the way back.)
Butterfly: Sitting tall with a straight spine, places the soles of your feet together in front of you. Use your outer thighs to draw your knees toward the floor. Holding your ankles, use your abdominals to fold forward. (If you’re flexible enough, bring your feet as close as you can to your body and bend forward as far as you can.)
Upside-Down Pigeon: From your back, lift your right foot off the floor and place your left ankle across your right thigh, flexing both feet. Hold your right hamstring with both hands and gently draw your right knee toward your chest until you feel a stretch in your left hip. Switch sides.
Seated Forward Fold: From a seated position, extend your legs. Pull your toes/feet back toward your body. Read forward, placing your hands on your legs, ankles, or feet, or on the floor. Draw forward through the top of your head using your abdominals. for an added challenge, bend one knee, bringing your foot flat to the floor with toes pointing forward. Keeping your knee pointing straight up, reach forward. If you can’t do either of these, just do a seatedhamstring on both sides.
i had my little sister alyssa do this last night, and it took her roughly an hour to complete— definitely due to the fact that i had to explain the different exercises.
i’d say it’s a very doable workout, as it doesn’t require any weights or extra equipment. it may have been a challenge for her, but she claims that she’s not too sore right now.
the funniest thing was what she said before we started: “what happens if i cry?”