THREE EXERCISES TO COMBAT A CRANKY BODY AFTER HOLIDAY TRAVEL
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.
- This is my all time favorite peanut drill. Ever. It’s basically the closest thing I’ve found to a magic wand for your #circusbodies. It addresses a tight thoracic spine and upper back muscles, which are typically even MORE hypomobile and tight after sitting for prolonged periods of time (hello, holiday travel). Don’t have a peanut? No problem, here are some peanut alternatives:
- Two tennis or lacrosse balls in a sock, tied off with a hair tie
- Foam roller
- Rolled up towel
Now: Place the peanut at one of these three spots:
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.
Start by finding your anterior-superior iliac spine (ASIS, also known as the “pointy front hip bone”). The bottom ball of the peanut goes just inside this bone. With the peanut in place, lie on your stomach. Start by taking deep breaths into the peanut. Once the initial intensity subsides, lift and lower your back leg, on the same side as the peanut. Still not enough to loosen those hip flexors? Try adding a push up into a cobra position as you lift your back leg. Your psoas(..es?) will be singing “Joy to the World” in NO time!
Questions? Comments? Concerns? Feel free to comment below, or let me know what YOUR go-to exercises are after a long travel day!
LOOKING FOR THE PERFECT HOLIDAY GIFTS?
Whether you’re looking for the perfect holiday gift for yourself or your #circusfamily, the products listed below are some of my all time favorites! Take a peek:
People always ask me what my favorite brand of peanut is, and here’s my answer: Rad Roller. This Rad Roller mobility kit
is the ULTIMATE gift for your favorite circus artist…OR yourself! It has literally everything you could need and want, and is the *best* addition to your mobility collection!
STAY HYDRATED. STAY MOBILE.
You guys. This is a FOAM ROLLING WATER BOTTLE! My parents gave me this last Christmas, and it remains my favorite multitasking training tool.
GIVE THE GIFT OF FLEXIBILITY.
Featuring Morgan Oldham, Photo by Jon Jerome
Flexibility- especially active flexibility- is something that almost every performing artist struggles with at some point. That’s where my program MyFLEX
comes in: this customized program is specifically engineered to target areas of mobility, strength, and control that tend to be overlooked in traditional flexibility programs. If you’ve been frustrated with a lack of flexibility progress, or have been plateauing despite your most concerted efforts, these programs will give you the boost your training needs! And the cherry on top? Injury prevention is built in to these programs, so you won’t be sidelined by unnecessary training-related injuries!