Monday, April 11, 2011

Another recovery challenge

Well we've wrapped up another 4-week Hi-5 FitCamp session. This one was certainly different. We really got into some heavy lifting basics: bench press, squats, pullups, lunges. In addition, the core work and glute activation really helped stifle some common overuse injuries, such as anterior knee pain, low back pain and rotator cuff strains.

Speaking of overuse injuries one thing you'll need to add to your home stretching protocol is calf stretches and heel walks. Both of these will be added to the warm-up but because we are going to be adding a lot of hill work and running to our programs we want to try our best to avoid shin splints.

Gastrocnemius and soleus of the calf muscle group.
How can you do this??

Well as I mentioned in past posts, stretching the calves involves stretching those that cross above the knee as well as those that anchor below the knee on the tibia.

To stretch the gastrocnemius, we do a straight knee calf stretch. Basically this is what most people do when stretching. In this the knee is fully extended and the gastrocnemius as well as the soleus is stretched. However, depending on how tight the soleus is, the gastroc received most of the stretch.

The straight knee calf stretch involves pushing up against a wall or something sturdy with the back knee full extended and the heel pushed to the ground. You'll feel this stretch higher in the calf.

To stretch the soleus we can take the same position, but we need to put the knee into slight flexion (bend the knee). What this does is allows the gastroc to relax so that the soleus receives all of the stretch.

The muscles on the front of the shin are easily overworked.
So the question usually comes up as to which is more of a problem for shin splints? And the answer is the Soleus. Why? Well considering that the gastroc does not even anchor to the tibia that pretty much rules it out. But research also shows that the excessive eccentric contractions (stretching contractions) induced by the plyometric effect of jogging places incredible strain on the soleus and other lower calf muscles. This will cause pulling on the tibia and cause inflammation around the lower leg.

In addition to that, each time a step is taken, the foot must be pulled upward as the leg moves through the swing phase. As a result, the muscles of the front of the tibia also have to do a considerable amount of work. If these muscles are not prepared for it, they will get very sore and overworked just like any other muscle.

To prevent this soreness you can spend about 30-seconds each day walking on your heels. This will help to strengthen the muscles as well as actively stretch the calf muscles. You'll feel like Frankenstein, but you're body will thank you come next week!

This weeks recovery circuit!!

Go around as many times as you can in 15 minutes. Attempt to do it without stopping.

1. Floor Y, T, W x 8each (lie face down on the floor and make these letters by lifting your arms off the ground for each repetition)
2. Heel Walks x 20 steps
3. Lunges x 10 each leg
4. Squats x 20
5. Pushups x 20
6. Split Jacks x 20 (perform jumping jacks but have your legs move front to back instead of inside/outside)
7. Bearcrawl x 20
8. Mt. Climbers x 20
9. Squat jumps x 20

See you for our next Hi-5 FitCamp on Monday, April 18th!!

1 comment:

Julie said...

workout looks like fun. should keep us going for the break!

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