Archive for September, 2013

Muscle Series 4: Internal Oblique

Posted on September 27th, 2013 by Shari´ Parks

Week 4 of the muscle series consists of one of the core abdominal muscles: the internal oblique muscle. This muscle is a deep thick strong muscle that wraps around the lower torso, connecting the abdomen to the lower back.

Some of it’s function are to flex i.e. bend forward, rotate the torso, and assist forced exhalation. In running it’s vital because it stabilizes the spine while in motion putting stress on the lower back.

When there is an injury to this muscle the lower spine is compromised; manifesting into limited mobility in the lower back pain.

Stretch for this area:
Spinal Twist Stretch
* With feet flat, lie on your back with your knees and feet together.
* Place your arms at your side.
* Relax your shoulders on the floor
* Allow both legs to fall to one side while your spine rotates and trunk of the body lengthens. Breathe deeply.
* For added stretch, turn head the opposite direction of your legs
* Repeat on the other side by returning knees to the center.

Muscle series 3: Pes Anserine Group

Posted on September 20th, 2013 by Shari´ Parks

Week 4 of the muscle series covers 11 muscles collectively known as the Pes Anserine Group. These muscles are all superficial i.e. top layer. They stabilize the lower half of the body when changing direction in such activities such as walking and running when the foot is in contact with the ground.

Injuries to these muscles are common when knots and poor circulation converge at the knee limiting functionality.

Stretches to these muscles:
Seated Hurdle Stretch

*Sit with one leg extended out and the other bent meeting the calf forming the letter V.
*The bent leg should be tucked without stressing the knee.
*Sit up tall while bending the waist forward as you exhale.
*Keep the back straight as you imagine reaching your chest forward toward thighs.
*Reach toward your toes as you gently stretch the inner thighs.
*Repeat on other leg.

Muscle Series 2: Soleus

Posted on September 13th, 2013 by Shari´ Parks

Week 2 of the muscle series we’ll talk about the Soleus. It is one of two calf muscles of the posterior leg. It attaches to the heel, but shorter beginning below the knee.

The soleus provides movements such as jumping, walking and standing. Poor range of motion in this muscle may lead to Achilles tendinitis and plantar fasciitis. Runners often have this muscle ‘cramp up.’

An effective stretche to this muscle: Calf Stretch

* Stand facing a wall and place ball of foot against the wall.
* As you lean closer to the wall keep both feet pointed forward.
* Breathe deeply
* Bend forward slightly to stretch the soleus.
* Shift your weight back to rest, then repeat on other leg.

Monthly Muscle Series: Tibialis Anterior

Posted on September 6th, 2013 by Shari´ Parks

Welcome to week 1 of the muscle series. As I’m training for my 6th marathon, I thought it be cool to feature some of the major muscles used by long distance runners.

This week we’ll focus on the Tibialis Anterior. Since mine are still sore from speed work two days ago, I thought it be fitting. The tibialis anterior is a large superficial muscle on the front of the leg. The function varies according to foot position. It helps support the arch of the foot. Overuse, weakness, or imbalance of this muscle often manifests itself in a common condition called ‘shin splints.’

An effective stretch to this muscle: Standing Shin Stretch

*Stand up straight and steady yourself with one hand if needed.
*Bend one knee and grasp the top of your foot as you pull it behind you.
*Gently point your foot as you pull your heel toward your buttock.
*Maintain an upright position and a straight line between your hip and knee.
*Breathe deeply as you focus on stretching the front of the ankle and shin.

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