I just spent the greater part of last weekend in cars and airplanes, and my body absolutely hates me. My neck hurts, I have a headache, and my hip flexors are so wound up I can hardly stand up straight. Sound familiar? Here are the three exercises I hit immediately upon arrival at my destination after extended travel.
Start by lifting and lowering your head, with your elbows pulled in towards each other. For added intensity, lift and lower your head and hips at the same time, hinging over one of those three spots. Repeat 10 times per spot.
Want to ramp up this mobilization? Place the peanut on top of a yoga block or thick book, and follow the same steps as listed above.
Single Leg Bridges
What happens to your glutes and hamstrings when you sit on them in an airport for 5+ hours? THEY GO TO SLEEP. They shut off. They peace out. And once they're asleep, its a real pain in the you-know-where to wake them back up. This single-leg bridge variation is a great way to wake up your stubbornly sleepy booty so it doesn't miss out on all the holiday fun.
Lie on your back with one leg hugged in tightly to your chest. Press into the ground with your other foot, and lift your hips as high off the ground as possible. Hold for 5 seconds. Slowly lower. Repeat 10 times per side.
**Why the one legged variation? Great question. Glad you asked. When you hug the opposite leg in to your chest, your lumbar spine slightly flexes (hollows forward). When our low back is in this flexed position, it is almost impossible to use our low back muscles instead of our glutes- which is the most common “cheat” I see people do during a two-legged standard glute bridge. This variation makes it WAY harder to cheat!**
Hip Flexor Release
Sitting for hours at a time promotes tight and angry hip flexors. This is a great way to coax a nasty psoas out of its holiday tantrum.
Questions? Comments? Concerns? Feel free to comment below, or let me know what YOUR go-to exercises are after a long travel day!