The Final Stretch

Whether you’re a novice runner or a multi-marathon veteranyou’ve heard the importance of a post-run stretch, but do you know what to lengthen and what needs to stay strong?  Pilates is a specialized regimen that properly stretches the muscles of the body with the strength and control necessary to help joints maintain a proper range of motion. Without specialized stretching and the opposing strength to hold the newly found range of motions, muscles can become tight and leave you susceptible to pain or injury. 

So, what muscles need stretching? Any physical activity utilizes a whole range of different muscles, but targeting the ones that are being used the most during your runs will be most effective and help you improve in the long run

1. The Quadriceps

Quadriceps_3D

Your Quadriceps, or “Quads” are comprised of four separate muscles on the front of your thigh. This area can be overused during running and may be one of the first areas you feel soreness in, especially in a marathon like Boston that starts off downhill!   If not lengthened out properly, tight quads can cause a misalignment in the leg joints.

2. The Calves

Calf Muscle

Courtesy of lumen learning

Made up of two separate muscles on the back of your lower leg, the calves are an often overlooked, but essential piece of your running anatomy. If weakened or tightened, the calves can affect the movement at both the knee and the ankle joint.

3. The Hamstrings 

Hamstrings

You might not know exactly what or where your hamstrings are, but chances are you’ve felt them. The hamstring is a grouping of three muscles that run the length of the back of your upper leg. Although the hamstring is important for knee and hip movements, runners often forget or neglect to stretch them out. The hamstrings are important hip mobilizers and they also help to stabilize the pelvis.  Maintaining the right flexibility for a runner can help with muscle fatigue, overuse, and even lower back pain!

4. The Iliotibial (IT) Band

Tensor fasciae latae

While the Iliotibial band is not a muscle it plays a vital role in your body’s mechanics for running. The IT Band is a fascial band that spans the outer knee and thigh. It is part of a system that contributes to hip movement and knee stabilization and is used constantly during a run. The IT band is meant to be tight in order to control the position of the leg, yet becomes overly tight and overused when the glutes and inner thighs are weak.

5. The Gluteal MusclesGluteus_all.gif

Did you know that your Gluteus Maximus (aka your backside) is the largest and heaviest muscle in your body? It is also one of the laziest!  Your glutes are made up of three main muscles and several smaller ones that make many of your lower body movements possible. Sitting all day and general inactivity leads to these muscles becoming underutilized and weak, so it’s important to give them the attention they deserve. On the flip side, overuse of the Gluteal muscles can affect hip flexibility and overall pelvic stability.

Now that we’ve covered the basics of which muscles need stretching, you still need to know HOW to stretch them! Endurance is excited to announce two FREE upcoming seminars for runners of all skill levels: 

Runners Relax and Renew

Tuesday, April 16th at 10 AM: 

For our friends running the Boston Marathon, we are hosting a 45-minute post-run stretch and meditation session to help rejuvenate the muscles and embrace your amazing accomplishment!

Sign up HERE.

Saturday, April 20th at 1 PM: 

Inspired by your friends running the marathon? If you’re interested in running next year or just looking to jump head first into the sport, join us for an Intro to Running class where we’ll cover injury prevention, scheduling, nutrition, and cross-training. Learn how to run with the Endurance Method, the safest way to run with your butt and gut! 

Sign up HERE.

Stress Less at Endurance

Stress Less at Endurance!  Because for One Hour, all you will be able to think about is you!

Joseph Pilates called his method Contrology and according to him….

“The acquirement and enjoyment of physical well-being, mental calm and spiritual peace are priceless to their possessors if there be any such so fortunate living among us today. However, it is the ideal to strive for, and in our opinion, it is only through Contrology [Pilates] that this unique trinity of a balanced body, mind, and spirit can ever be attained.” Joseph Pilates

Want to take your mind off everything else going on around you- for an hour?  I will admit it- I seriously started doing Pilates because I needed at least one hour in my life on most days of the week where I didn’t have to think about anything else except exactly what I was doing with my body at that particular moment.  I couldn’t think of my grocery list or the 10 things I had to do when I went back to the office after my evening class.  Lots has changed since then, but I still use my Pilates workouts to get away from the rest of the world.  I can’t check my email, texts or monthly sales numbers when I’m backbending on the reformer.   I could do other forms of exercise session- spin, step…get on a treadmilll or elliptical and try and zone out, but everything I had to do or was worried about would creep into my mind.  That is certainly not the case with Pilates!

When students perform Pilates exercises at Endurance, we give them lots of direction as to how to move precisely and with control- there are no haphazard movements in a Pilates class.  Once we’ve established a certain level of control, we add in more flow and more moving pieces to control.  It’s the “mind over movement” that makes Pilates the ideal workout for stress relief.  During a particular exercise, you will be told how to do it, where to feel it, how to make it even better for your spine and overall physique.  Our instructors have taken years to learn Pilates in their own bodies and have plenty of practice “squeezing the juice” out of each and every exercise.  They when it is time to slow the workout down for precision and when to speed it up to flow.  Ever had a difficult time meditating?  Because you were trying to clear your mind and all those to-dos kept creeping back in?  We guarantee that for one hour, the only thing you will be able to think about is your tummy, tush and inner thighs working really hard to move your body in a more perfect and precise way in just about anything that you do outside the studio!  Come clear your mind with us and get a great butt and flat abs while you leave your cars by the door!

“Ideally, our muscles should obey our will. Reasonably, our will should not be dominated by the reflex actions of our muscles.” Joseph Pilates

Photo by Servidone Studios

In just a year, Jaz has accomplished so much! Glad to be a part of the journey…and can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!

One year ago on September 13, my friend and student Jaz was in an accident.  Unfortunately due to the injuries this young man sustained, his left leg was amputated above his knee.  Recovery has not been easy for Jaz or his family- he is 13 years old and is growing like all of our little guys do at that age- like a weed of course.  As anyone that has ever lived through prosthetic fittings, it can be very challenging in the first year for an adult, let alone a growing teenager, to find a leg and a fit that may never be described as comfortable, but one that doesn’t inhibit movement, instead it enhances mobility.  Jaz will need some additional surgeries and more tweaks to his walking prosthetic leg and is very excited to receive his running prosthetic very soon- thanks Challenged Athletes Foundation!  Jaz has been very patient throughout the process, although there are days when he is down emotionally and in pain.  But, he’s a student and a brother and a friend and an athlete and he knows that he needs to keep pushing forward.  There are some days when this is very challenging.

I have been very blessed to have played a tiny little part in Jaz’s recovery.  Prior to Jaz being fitted for a prosthetic, we started doing Pilates every week, on his living room floor.  Now, if you’ve ever worked out with me, you know that it certainly isn’t a walk in the park.  We started focusing on Jaz’s core, on his posture, on his overall torso strength and once he had his prosthetic, we were able to work on leg strength, flexibility and mobility and he has done an amazing job in every single workout.  I know it wasn’t easy for him to start, nor have I gotten any easier on him.  Jaz’s mom, Jess hung out with us at every workout and learned enough to be able to work her son out on their own.  I’m hoping she keeps going down this path as she is a natural! 

Jaz can do burpees, play basketball, in fact, his team won their tournament this summer!  What an inspiration this young man is to others- young and old.   There are days when I am just “calling it in” on my run- pausing way too much to check for emails or texts.  And then I remember how darn lucky I am and how hard some of the folks I work with have worked, still work and will work to run.  And, I try a lot harder.  Jaz can dance and climb and run and jump and swim.  We chat Pokemon hunting!  He has come so far over the past year- and is still in the process of healing.  I am so thrilled to have met this amazing family and I know that today, I certainly am not focusing on the accident that led to me meeting  Jaz and Jess.  I am grateful for the past year that this family has allowed me to come into their homes and their lives and hopefully with a little bit of movement training, give them a little more hope for the future.  Jess is a personal friend that I enjoy chatting with and sharing the ups and downs of our lives.  And, I will never forget the day that Jess told me Jaz would like me to be his godmother….we’re not sure how that works, but I’m not sure I have ever been so honored in my life. 

It is so much more than just a workout.  Endurance.