Month: April 2012

Worldwide WordPress 5k (WWWP5K)

WordPress announced that they’d like for all their blogging users and members to do a 5k run/walk/swim/bike by April 29.

WHAT IT IS: A 5k run/walk (approximately 3.1 miles). You can run, walk, or skip. It’s up to you. There’s no time limit and there’s just one requirement: that you participate! You can do it inside or outside, on a treadmill or on a track, or even do a swim or a bike ride instead of running/walking – just get moving! — WordPress wwwp5k

Aspen Backcountry Marathon Finish
Aspen Backcountry Marathon Finish

Last year I ran in the inaugural Aspen Backcountry Marathon, in Aspen Colorado, and it was a blast. Afterward I promised myself I would never run again. Alas, that wasn’t really true. Nearly four months ago I fell down the stairs and cracked two ribs, then a few weeks after that fell skating and pulled a groin muscle and sprained my ankle. I’ve just started running slowly again, and today I did my 5k run for WordPress. Here are my stats from ifitlive:

ifit stat for my 5k run this morning
Stats for my 5K this morning

I challenge everyone reading this to seriously consider doing your own 5k. Run/walk/bike/crawl/skate – whatever your thing is, get out and move.

Glute Kicks with Bands from Power Rack

Your Glutes are a big powerful muscle group, and are essential for a great many training movements, including squats and deadlifts. For mountaineering they come into play stepping up and hiking up. Kicking steps, pushing up in ice climbing or rock climbing, and even trail running all utilize the glutes. For other sports, like skating and gymnastics, the jumping and sprinting sports too, strong glutes are important.

Many who participate in these sports have obvious glute development. The Glute Kick is one way to work your glutes, but since your motion is so large, and the weight is being moved from your ankle, way out with very little leverage advantage, you’ll be using pretty light weights. In this case I’m using a pair of Harbinger Leather 3-Inch Double Ring Ankle Cuff Attachment with hardware-store quicklinks, and Champion Sports Stretch Resistance Band – Light* as the resistance.

Velcro Ankle Cuffs
Leather Velcro Double-D Ankle Cuffs w/quicklink

I clip the quicklink to the Double-D rings, then to the fitness band, which is looped around the lat tower on my power rack. You could use just about anything, and some fitness bands come with little straps you slam in a door.

pull the velcro through and fasten behind
Pull the velcro through the D-rings and fasten

I like this ankle cuff a lot because it’s pretty sturdy, and has sheepskin lining for padding, and helps it slide without leaving chafing or blistering.

clip the quicklink through the second D-ring and then around the stretch band
Clip in the second D-ring and the stretch band

After fastening the velcro ankle band, clipping into the D-rings and the stretch band with the quicklinks, step back away from the support for your band (in this case the power rack lat tower) and stand steadily on the non-working foot. Trying to keep your legs kind of straight, and your back kind of straight as well, just kick back with as little rotation and as much height as your own mobility or flexibility will allow.

clipped in and ready to work your glutes
Band extended showing how the D-Rings and quicklink are connected

In the video I am braced against a bar set high in the rack, but you would get more core activation if you just stabilize on the standing foot. This is one of those exercises that I personally recommend as a warmup or finisher, either just before or just after Good Mornings, or some variation of Deadlift, Straight Leg Deadlifts being one of my favorites.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kb6NPekbrpI

You could do anywhere from 10 to 25 reps with each leg if you’re doing a warmup, or if you’re doing it as a finisher, maybe 4 sets of 10 to 25 reps with each leg. As usual, don’t hurt yourself, do what feels right or natural, and beware of any feelings of pain or discomfort that might indicate a flexibility or mobility issue. YMMV of course…

Making it tougher: stand on your heel or toe, stand on a wobble disk or cushion, add a weighted ankle cuff, add bands, use the low pulley on a lat tower with weight, close your eyes.

* – I’m actually using a light-medium from another company in the video, but there’s no link to that I could handily display here.

Sissy Squat Mobility Rehab GPP Conditioning Exercise

The Sissy Squat is one of my favorite warming up exercises for any other type of squat. It warms up the joints and muscles with very little risk under a very light load. It is excellent for rehab or mobility work, since you can work through a greater range of motion than when your back is experiencing compression loads (bar on your shoulders). It’s also excellent to include in General Physical Preparedness. GPP should be a large part of your early training efforts, and might be a good inclusion in a year-long training cycle just to make sure you’re not missing anything while you’re training for other more specific goals.

In the variation I demonstrate in the video, I’m grasping the side posts of the power rack about mid-chest height. I put my toes against the bottom rail just as a marker for alignment more than anything – it’s not important since you don’t push against it. I let my butt ride outward and hang lightly from my arms, then drop my butt toward my heels and then use my upper legs to push my butt back out.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IMgMvPb00Q

For this training session I’m using it as a warmup for squats, so I’m doing a set of 10 just to get the blood flowing and my joints warm. I might otherwise do maybe 4 sets of 25 if I were doing it as my light leg workout. You might have other goals and needs, but just about any set/rep pattern could be used.

3 x 10
5 x 5
4 x 25
4 x 8

Are just examples. Don’t use weight since your knee might experience too much shear force. This is a light-duty movement, and if you can use more weight, or do regular squats with a loaded bar, you should do your mass gaining training with regular squats and use this for warming up or as a toxin-flushing exercise on your off days. If you can’t do squats with a loaded bar, working your way up to higher sustained reps (25, 50, 100) might help you work into larger squats.

Be sure to only employ a range of motion suitable for your body, and don’t try to emulate mine. If you have shoulder or wrist issues, adjust the placement of your hands, or the angle, using a table edge or door frame or some other appropriate object to grasp. Try to not to use excessive force to brace or lever yourself with your arms or hands. If you have any hip, ankle or knee issues, please be sure to limit your movement, or seek the advice of a qualified physical therapist to guide you in adjusting this motion for safety. If you’re confident that you can work through your issues safely on your own, then work toward greater range and smoothness of motion.

Your mileage may vary of course …