On Saturday, my mom and I went to a two-hour stretching workshop with Jay. More than just a long stretching class, the workshop is designed to teach people to stretch better at home. As such, there’s quite a bit that you learn and I wanted to share some of the insights with you.
1. Roll all the things
Jay had us start by rolling one (and only one) calf with a tennis or golf ball while she was explaining to us about fascia, their tendency to become less mobile with age, and their way of saving a portion of kinetic energy during a movement and giving it straight back to you during the rebound phase. Then she had us stand up and jump up and down on one leg, first on the rolled one, then on the one we didn’t do anything with. I recommend you try this experiment for yourself. It’s rather eye-opening.
2. Yoga blocks are friends, not food
Not that I ate any, but I was really hungry towards the end of the workshop. Anyway, you can use yoga blocks to get your upper body into an upright position while working on your front splits. And if you’re not quite down yet, like me, you can use them to prop up your legs so that you can relax into the stretch without killing yourself. Neat, huh?
3. Yoga wheels were invented by the devil to torture me personally
I knew that already from Jay’s regular class. I actually bought a yoga wheel so I could guiltily avoid using it whenever I can. It makes me feel great afterwards, but while I’m using it, I hate its guts. Not that the bleeding thing has guts.
4. Not everyone can do the side splits
Some people’s greater trochanter interacts very unfavourably with their hip bone, effectively jamming the split in certain positions of the pelvis. I have, however, been able to perform the side split as a child and to regain it as a teen, so I cannot use this as an excuse.
5. Intense stretching gives me DOMS
More so than strength training, actually. Maybe I’m doing one of them wrong?
There’s not too much left to go on my front splits, but if my experience is any guide, it could still take forever to get there. Then again, I’ve improved both kinds of splits significantly with mostly just stretching during class and briefly before bed, so I’m sure it’s not impossible. Getting the splits ASAP is simply not a priority right now. Besides, my right hamstring has been less than excited about the whole stretching thing. I’ll be adding Nordic hamstring curls to my gym routine starting Wednesday.