Greetings from smoky Sun Valley. While we’ve had some amazingly clear days to get out for long rollerskis and runs, the air here has been super variable. Most evenings the team is making an indoor backup plan for the next day’s session, and everyone checks the air quality in the morning. We’re lucky to be able to easily swap some outdoor workouts onto the rollerski treadmill, but some days require getting creative in the gym between SkiErgs, spin bikes, and running treadmills. While we’re adding in more intensity sessions and lifting heavy in the gym, it’s important to do some stretching that helps lengthen out my spine. Here are some movements I like to do to help counter-balance the compression from double poling and deadlifting.
You’ll want a yoga mat or some soft carpet for these exercises. Always remember to move into the stretch gradually, breathe through it, and listen to your body. No need to injure yourself during some recovery!
Indoors on a smoky day & outdoors on a clear day with my teammate Sarah Goble
Cat/cow. You’re probably familiar with this one through yoga. Starting on your hands and knees with hands underneath your shoulders and knees underneath your hips, curve your back upwards and drop your neck, then arch your lower back, drop your shoulder blades together, and look up. Do this 10 times to bring some motion into your upper body as a bit of a warm-up.
Prone elongation. Time to find some length. Lie on your stomach with your forehead resting on your mat and your arms extended in front of your mat. Reach through the fingers of your right hand and the toes of your left leg. Hold for a couple of seconds, then relax and switch sides so you’re stretching your left hand and your right leg away from one another. Repeat 5 times on each side.
Child’s pose variations. Push up from your mat onto your hands and knees, and then sink your hips all the way back to your heels. If you’re not quite feeling a stretch yet, walk your hands out a bit further. Take a few deep breaths in the position, and then walk your hands over to the left until you feel a good stretch down your right side. Take a few more breaths here. When you’re ready, walk your hands over to the right and breathe deeply into the stretch along your left side. End with a few more deep breaths in the center.
Back flexion. Roll over onto your back. Then hug your knees into your chest and reach your chin down towards your chest. You’ll likely feel this along your whole back and neck. Hold it for a count of five deep breaths and work into it. Feel the stretch but don’t overdo it.
Hamstring/Back progression. This is a four-part series to end the session.
Tip toes. Come to standing, interlace your fingers, and raise your hands up over your head. Stand up onto your tip toes and press up as far as you can. Hold for a count of 10 and then relax.
Counter stretch. Rest your hands on a counter or a table that’s about waist height. Walk your feet back until you are bent at the waist and feel the stretch in your lats, back, and hamstrings. If your hamstrings are particularly tight, you can also do this with a couch or coffee table from your knees.
Wide hang. Standing with your feet wider than your hips, hang down in the center. Walk your hands to the right and hold your ankle or knee. Breathe as you feel the stretch in your hamstrings and left side. Hold for a count of 10, and then walk your hands back to center and across to the left. Hold here for a count of 10 again, and come back to center for a few seconds before unwinding into an upright position.
Toe touch. Stretch your hands up over your head again and reach for the sky. Hold for a couple of seconds, and then hang straight down. Can you touch your toes?? Hold for a count of 10 and then slowly unwind back to standing.