Monday, March 4, 2013

Timed Stretching

First and foremost, I have to wish a very happy birthday to my big brother!! I hope it's a great day!


(How cool is this bobble head of Chris and his wife? A wedding gift from their friend--amazing!)

Okay, back to the blog.

Last week, we only woke up early for one morning workout. This week, we're determined to get back on track with five in a row. And today we got it started with our 4:50 wake up calls (no, we don't live in a hotel, but since my phone is my alarm I can call it a wake up call) and wandered into the gym by 5:15. There were some snoozes.

Today's workout, according to the 10K training plan, was upper body and stretching. We focused on chest and back, 10 reps and two sets of each of the following, completed as supersets.

  • Superset 1: Bench press + Standing cable chest press
  • Superset 2: Reverse fly + Cable wide-grip rows
  • Superset 3: Push ups + Chest fly on stability ball
  • Superset 4: Bent over row + Prone wide-grip row on ball
We also hammered out about 10 minutes of core work before stretching.

As I mentioned yesterday, I feel the need to focus much more on stretching as we continue training for our 10K. It's funny: Jenn and I attended a yoga class together awhile back (not during race training), and when we got to pigeon pose, Jenn couldn't help noticing how stiff I was. And it's true. 

I used to dance, so at my peak, I could stand up in the splits. On either leg. But still, my hips always proved to be my tightest muscles. And now that I don't stretch as much and I run, my hips hate me. 

The solution? Obviously, more stretching and more foam rolling. And lately, my stretching has been much more productive because of my HIIT timer. I set it for 30 seconds of work and 30 seconds of "rest", but I switch stretches after each interval. So if I set it for 10 rounds, I'm getting five minutes of stretching in 10 different poses. The timer prevents me from hopping out of poses too quickly and helps me stay focused for a set period of time, instead of walking away after a few stretches. I set a timer on the treadmill, so why not for stretching?

As for my favorite stretches (all images from Google Images), I've included several below. These are my everyday stretches, but I certainly add variety to these when I have the time.

Hamstring stretches:

Supine one-leg hamstring stretch

Standing one-leg hamstring stretch

Standing hamstring stretch

 Inner thigh stretches:
Supine straddle stretch

Triangle Pose

Hip openers:
Double cross stretch

Supine hip opener

Pigeon pose

If you're looking to add some flexibility to your life, I hope these stretches help! Consider my timer method--it really helps me and makes me feel fantastic after a solid block of 10-20 minutes of loosening up.

What's your favorite stretch? 


  1. The hip opener (I call it the pretzel) is my favourite. Always feels so good!

    1. I agree! Amazing feeling to get all loosened up!

  2. The timer is a great idea for stretching! It's definitely something that I struggle with as well and I'm trying to be better about holding myself accountable - ESP since I'm 1/2 marathon training.

    1. Yes! It really helps--I get distracted too. It's easy to half-ass the last few minutes of a workout, but they're so important.

  3. My favorite stretch is HAPPY BABY! Looks sketchy... feels so good!

    1. Ahhh good one! I love that during yoga!

  4. Great stretches! I love so many of them.

  5. ahhhh i don't stretch near enough!! i like the looks of that workout though - looks awesome!!

  6. Replies
    1. I still can't even get my knee down in pigeon, but I'm working on it. :-)

  7. #3 for hamstrings and the triangle pose :)

  8. My goal is to stretch more this month, these are perfect for that goal

  9. Love it! Stretching is so important and often overlooked. Great!

  10. Just discovered Pigeon pose and I am loving it!

  11. That timer suggestion is genius! I always get distracted when I stretch. I also have really tight hips, so my fave is definitely pigeon pose!

    1. We're twins! I'm always distracted, and my hips hate me. Hope the timer helps!

  12. The supine hip opener is a good one... but I'll put my arm under the knee and pull towards my chest... great for IT band stretch.