Training Footnotes: Structure, Strength, and Stretch

July 10th

I’ve decided that it is necessary to explain the many aspects of my training regimen in separate posts. Today I will be going more in-depth about a block of activities that is part of my regular routine: Structure, Strength, and Stretch (hereby referred to as SSS). Structure and Stretch should really be done everyday by yours truly in order to maintain and continue to improve my conditions that have been previously discussed in this blog. The complete SSS routine is done as either “active rest” or as a replacement for a hiking workout in my training schedule. So, in the future, if you see a training schedule that has only “SSS” listed, you can bet that it was a pretty fast but intense routine. Let’s get to it!

Structure Exercise: Special Sit-Ups

This exercise used to be called “Assisted Sit-Ups” because once upon a time I was too damn weak to do them on my own. I have been working on these sit-ups for approximately 3 months, so I have progressed quite nicely into being able to do them without a supporting band, while also increasing the repetitions. If you are interested in trying out this exercise, I strongly recommend you start with them assisted!

I call them Special Sit-Ups now because they have a slightly different goal than regular crunches and I also apparently lack the creativity it takes to come up with a proper name for them. We once again focus on the transverses abdominis, but the exercise also engages the glutes and aductors:

Thanks Google Image Search!

It’s just great, because you get to do so much with just one exercise! Here’s how it goes: (click to enlarge!)

Strength Exercise: Ball Flies, Press, Pullovers

Great name, I know. Go ahead and giggle, I did when I wrote this post. Maturity is not required when creating names for exercises. This is basic dumbbell work with a different perspective so it magically evolves into full-body work.  As an aside: I, in the not-so-distant past had an enormous aversion to any work with free weights. I can only that I was prejudiced because my mom told me I should try them. This obviously makes no sense and remains one of the mysteries of my own life as to why I must immediately say no to anything my parents suggest. I believe I have improved upon this attitude as evidenced that this entire blog and training plan was originated by a motherly suggestion. In any case, once I realized that I could get an awesome workout and also totally awesome arms by using free weights, I warmed to them quickly.

This strengthening work is actually a series of exercises that are done in tandem. Please note: These pictures are absolutely silly looking and I have less than perfect form in them. When you back is on the ball, your butt should be working to keep your hips level to your shoulders. I digress:

Stretch:  The Frog

Once, to the mortification of my physical therapist, I called this “The Birthing Stretch.” This was at once because of the positioning of the limbs and also because it was so painful that I imagined it to be on-par with the pain of giving birth. Having never given birth myself, it was perhaps slightly presumptuous of me to give this stretch such a name. I have thusly moved to calling it by its true and more appropriate name: the Frog stretch.

Get your thighs 90 degrees to your shins and your shins 90 degrees to your flexed feet and feel the pain.

Get your thighs 90 degrees to your shins and your shins 90 degrees to your flexed feet and feel the pain. Use your arms to push you butt back towards the wall. You can engage your glutes while you do this or even push against the wall to enliven the stretch a bit (because it really needs it). Keep your pelvis neutral. I REPEAT: DO NOT STICK OUT YOUR BUTT. KEEP IT LEVEL TO YOUR BACK. Be a table.

More training footnotes and how-to’s to come!

Kind regards,

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