612-644-9781 info@crossfitslipstream.com

Why Personal Training?

Intensity is the bread and butter of our programming, making it possible to improve your fitness by taking one-hour group classes a few times a week. However, group sessions may not focus focus on a new skill or technique that you’ve been wanting to learn.  Or a class may moves too fast to really sink your teeth into a movement.  Or you may have a specific goal in mind, and it isn’t happening as fast as you want in group classes.  If any of these feel like they apply, you should consider a personal training session with one of your coaches here at Slipstream. In this post, we’ll go over a couple of the key benefits you could gain from one-on-one sessions. While there’s nothing quite like working out with a group that motivates you, personal training can help you reach a specific goal or goals.


FOCUS

The biggest difference between a group class and a personal training session is the increase in focus: from you, from your coach, and from the workout. Scientific studies consistently support the hypothesis that supervised exercise leads to faster rates of improvement (usually measured in increases in strength). While we pride ourselves on providing attentive instruction in all our classes here at Slipstream, personal training takes this a step further.  Instead of sharing a coach with a group of people, your coach is focused on you, your goals, and making your time in the gym the best it can be.

Related: The Mindfulness of Movement


INDIVIDUALIZATION

Everybody (and every body) is different, and while our coaches are great at adapting workouts to each individual, personal training takes this a step further. Your coach will spend time going over your unique strengths, weaknesses, and goals to design workouts specific to your individual goals, be they skill, strength, endurance, or whatever you choose.

Related: Continuing Education: Benefits of Learning New Skills


ACCOUNTABILITY

Another benefit of personal training sessions is increased accountability.  You’re less likely to pass up a workout, or just go easy, when you have an appointment with a coach and a program specific to you. We are all for taking a rest day when it’s needed, but more accountability might be exactly what you need to get you in the gym from day-to-day.  Know also that your trainer will adjust the workout to your abilities that day.  So if you’re low on gas, it may be a great chance to work on a mobility or other issue that is holding you back, instead of the 20:00 thrasher originally planned.


EDUCATION

The one-on-one format of personal training also allows you time to ask plenty of questions about your workouts, or anything else you’ve been curious about. For example, a lot of times we don’t have time in class to dig into the “why” behind the workout. Why do we do certain exercise? Why are we doing X number of reps? etc. Also, you’ll be able to find out what “homework” you might need to do in order to reach your goals. For example, your coach will be able to individually address mobility, recovery, and other things you can do at home that can help make the most of your time in the gym.


“The biggest difference you’ll notice between a group class and a personal training session is a general increase in focus: from you, from your coach, and from the workout.”

CrossFit Slipstream exists to help you get the results you want, but we can’t do that without help from you. It starts with your initial goals statement when you join. Your free consults are a great time to continue the process. But if you’re wanting to take the next step, reach a specific goal, or reach it sooner, personal training is the shortest distance between you and that goal. If you’re interested in setting up a personal training appointment, contact us by email at info@crossfitslipstream.com, or speak with Susan or any of the coaches at the gym and we’ll be happy to help.

–Jay Alexander

Coach/Trainer

jay@crossfitslipstream.com

MEMBER HIGHLIGHT – MEET JESS!

 
Why did you decide to try CrossFit?
I actually never thought I could do CrossFit. I’ve always avoided sports and physical activity. I had a friend who had been doing CrossFit and told me to try the New You Challenge. I had recently had a daughter and I felt like I was at all time low for my body’s fitness. On a whim, I signed up the the challenge and started that next day. my
  
How is having a CrossFit coach changed your workout or fitness results?
Well, for one, I would have never seen the results I have seen without one! Knowing someone is watching me and helping me makes me always aware of what I am doing. I also never have to worry that I am doing a movement wrong. Before CrossFit in typical gyms, I would move to the back of group fitness classes and I would poorly do my weight training. I often gave up when I couldn’t figure something out. Now, I push myself in my classes and I’m proud of my achievements. My coaches recognize my strengths and know when to push me and when to help scale my activities. There is absolutely no way I could have made it to where I am now (and where I am going to be!) without the help of my CrossFit coaches. 
  
How has doing CrossFit affected your health and/or life?
I am on my way to being as fit, if not more fit, than I was in high school. I have lost many inches all over my body and I have noticed that many tasks in my everyday life have been easier. I have more energy for at work and I can still come and have some left to play with my daughter. I am also realizing that I am craving movement! Times when I have been sitting for a while, I want to get up and run – I never wanted to run anywhere before! I officially can consider myself an athlete when I would never have used that word to describe me previously! CrossFit has made me want to improve in other areas of my life as well. It has made me want to fuel my body with good nutrition so I can make better achievements. It has also opened my mind to other opportunities that I may have been too scared of in the past because they required athletic movement. 
Something that was unexpected was the change in my mental health. I realize that no matter how tired I am or how bad of a day it has been, nothing cures it better than a good WOD with my coaches. 
 
What is your favorite CrossFit movement?
I may be crazy, but I love squats! 
 
What would you say to someone who is thinking about trying CrossFit?
Just do it! But prepare yourself to get addicted. CrossFit has a scary connotation that it is only for extremely physically fit athletes. I’m here to tell you that that is not true! CrossFit will make you feel like a beast and it will make you a better person. I am better at my job and I am a better mom/wife, all thanks to CrossFit!

The Mindfulness of Movement

What do you think is harder? 10 quick squats or one 30 second squat? Instinctively you might look at the reps and say, “Jasmine the 10 quick squats are harder…that’s 10 to 1!” Lets put this to the test. Do 10 air squats; take a break, and then do one 30 second squat.  I want the entire down process to take 15 seconds and the up to take 15 seconds. I want SLOW. What did you feel? Was it hard for you to keep a neutral spine all the way down and up? Did your knees cave in? Did you struggle?

“We can get caught up in the number of reps or rounds for time and forget to slow things down.”

When we take the time to think about and breakdown our movements, we can begin to reveal our weaknesses. Oftentimes it is the end-range of motion where we are the weakest because we are less able to generate tension (think bottom of the squat or pull-up). These are the spots we tend to mask with speed by kipping our way through or bouncing out of the bottom.

Related: The Importance of Foundational Strength

Mindfulness during movement enables us to catch our movement faults and correct them. Let’s say during a squat my knees have the tendency to cave in and I continually feel low back pain after. I might take a mindful approach by removing the weight and practicing super slow squats with just the bar. Every time I feel my knees cave in or my upper back/shoulders dip forward I remember to squeeze the glutes, push the knees out, and stand up tall. Now I will be able to practice more efficient movement patterns that I can reinforce during the WOD.


By taking a slower, more mindful approach we can think about addressing some of the following questions:

  • Are your knees or ankles caving in during a squat or hinge movement like the deadlift, clean, box jump, or wall ball? That’s a great time to pull out the band and do some x-walks and practice the bracing sequence.

  • Are you able to maintain an upright neutral spine throughout the entire lift or movement? If not, consider breaking the movement up (i.e. hang clean) or shortening the movement (i.e. deadlift from plates).

  • Can you pause at various points during a movement and be stable? If not, take the time to pause at that sticking point and correct yourself.

  • Where do you feel tightness or looseness?

  • What movements do you speed through? Why are you speeding through them?


I’m not saying you need to start super-slow training every movement you come across, for that would be torturous and unpleasant. What I am saying is, when not doing a WOD, take the time to feel out your body and how you execute a particular movement. Mobility guru Kelly Starrett is a big proponent of “owning the position”:

“We need to learn not only how to move well through a movement but also be able to stop at any point during the movement, breathe and still be able to maintain a braced position.”

This is HARD. And I am not expecting you to be able to hold the bottom of a squat for a minute at your 3-rep max. But I want you to start being more present with your body as you tackle different movements. Coaches are a great resource and you should feel free to ask us for help to isolate weaknesses in your movements. Taking slow-mo videos or using apps like Technique, can also help you learn to identify when you are moving in a way that is 1) inefficient and 2) potentially leaving you susceptible to injury.

Related: What is the Functional Movement Screen and How Can it Help You?

So what’s our take away with all this?

“I challenge you to approach our warm-ups, practice reps, skill work, and strength work mindfully.”

Really pay attention to how your body is moving through a particular movement and if something doesn’t feel right, or if a coach tells you something is not right, pause and feel where your body is in space and then repeat until you can “own” that particular part in the movement.

Below are a list of great movements to begin this practice:

  • body squat

  • pull-up

  • push up

  • super light deadlift

  • back squat

  • overhead press

  • hang clean

  • end position of the squat clean

  • box jump (landing position)

  • hollow rock and back extension

If you would like individualized help in recognizing the spots in a movement that you need to work on, consider scheduling a personal training session with a coach or request a Functional Movement Screen with John.

Until next time, stay mindful!

–Jasmine Gerritsen

Coach/Trainer

jasmine@crossfitslipstream.com

 

What to Expect From the CrossFit Open

For CrossFit fans across the globe, the most wonderful time of the year is upon us, as the Slipstream Open officially kicks off on February 22. Whether this will be your first Open or your fifth, this post will address what you can expect when you walk into the gym the next five weekends.  The Slipstream Open is our take on the CrossFit Open, a worldwide online competition that is the first step in making it to the CrossFit Games.

“The workouts will push you, the community will support you, and chances are you’ll surprise yourself somewhere along the way.”

Related: 5 Tips for Watching the CrossFit Games 

But that doesn’t mean we have to be elite athletes to participate. Each week, a workout is announced and we’ll all complete them together during the Saturday morning class (with make- ups on Monday at 6AM and Noon). The workouts will push you, the community will support you, and chances are you’ll surprise yourself somewhere along the way.


THE WORKOUTS

If you’re still reading, you’re probably curious about what the workouts will entail this year. While we have to wait until Thursday of each week to find out, we can look to past years to predict what we’ll see. As you read this though, keep in mind that there are multiple versions of each workout, so there WILL be a workout you can do.

The CrossFit Open began in 2011, and there are 8 movements we’ve seen every year: Double-unders, a snatch variation, muscle-ups, toes-to-bar, wall balls, thrusters, pull-ups, and everyone’s favorite: burpees. Essentially, you’re as good as guaranteed to see these. Some others seen fairly often include deadlifts, box jumps, power cleans, and rowing. However, at least one new movement gets introduced each year.  Last year it was dumbbell work. What will it be this year? Your guess is as good as mine, but some things we’ve never seen are sumo deadlift high pulls, squats of any variation, rope climbs, any kettlebell movement, strict press, and any strict gymnastics movement.

The average length of all 36 previous Open workouts is 11 minutes and 10 seconds. The shortest lasted 3 minutes (with the possibility of extending it if you completed the allotted work) and the longest was 24 minutes. All but 5 workouts have been an AMRAP format, with the most common time lengths being 10 minutes and 7 minutes, both seen in 5 workouts. What this tells us is that even though the workouts are tough, most don’t last very long. Neither are they terribly short, so pacing is always an issue. But if all this CrossFit geek speak is scaring you, don’t worry, there’s so much more to expect from the Open than 5 workouts that will leave you gasping for air.


THE COMMUNITY

Within our gym, these are some of the most anticipated Saturdays of the year, with big turnouts every week. To add to the fun, the Slipstream Open gives everyone a chance to compete for points based on participation and spirit, rather than time or reps.  Read about this year’s Slipstream Open HERE. Also, you’ll have a judge to count your reps and cheer you on as the workout gets tough. You’ll be surprised how motivating this is. It’s also a chance for you to socialize and connect with your coaches and fellow members after the workouts, with events like the Chili Cook Off on February 24th.

However, the special thing about the Open is that the community extends far beyond our gym as we get the chance to be a part of the worldwide CrossFit community. Every CrossFit gym in the world will be doing the same workouts as you for the next 5 weeks, giving you the sense that what we do here extends far beyond the front door of the gym.


THE FEELING

While the workouts and community are enough to make the Open special, the sense of accomplishment after completing an Open workout is the main attraction. For many of us, the atmosphere during these workouts will help us reach a level of intensity we didn’t know we had. There might be a movement you’ve never done and an Open workout might give you the perfect opportunity to get your first one. It’s also a chance to reflect on how much progress you’ve made in the past year and see how your work in the gym is paying off.  I have found nothing else that can lead me to surprise myself and increase my self-confidence more than the CrossFit Open, regardless of how the workouts go.

Related: Measuring Progress Off the Scale 

Hopefully this post answered some of your questions related to the thing called the Open that everyone won’t stop talking about. But to really get a feel for what this is all about, make sure to make it in every Saturday the next 5 weeks to take part in the Open for yourself.

–Jay Alexander

Coach/Trainer

jay@crossfitslipstream.com

COACH SPOTLIGHT – MEET JAY

Coach Spotlight – Meet Coach Jay!

Coach Jay has been with CrossFit Slipstream since January 2017, first as a coaching intern, and now as a coach. No matter what time of day it is, Jay brings his smile and attentive coaching style to every class. Whether he is coaching or getting his own workout in, Jay is incredibly supportive of everyone and a pleasure to have around the gym. We wanted to catch up with Jay to find out more about him and show you why you should check out one of his classes (where you’re likely to workout to some fun 80’s and 90’s pop tunes) ASAP!

What is your fitness background?

My fitness background started while I was in high school. I actually tried a hot yoga class with a friend on the cross-country team, because we just wanted to try it out to have something other than running. I started teaching yoga about a year after that, and then once I came to college, started playing around with some body building. I found CrossFit Slipstream last January, so January 2017, and I did my internship there until about May 2017, when I started coaching here part-time.

Why do you like coaching CrossFit?

I really like coaching CrossFit because I didn’t really ever think of myself as strong before I started CrossFit. When I’m coaching, it’s really awesome to see that with other people when they get to discover their own strength and play around with barbells. Maybe people have never touched a weight before in their life, but they come to a CrossFit gym and they get to try these things and surprise themselves on a day-to-day basis, so that’s really why I love it.

What is your coaching philosophy?

I’d say my coaching philosophy is really just that when you get into the gym, it should really be the best time of the day. This is so much more than just walking into a gym, doing your own thing, and listening to your headphones. This is about having people around to support you, and giving them reasons to find their own strength and come back and progress in CrossFit, whether that’s because they really want to be the best they can be at CrossFit, or if it’s because they want to the best version of themselves outside of the gym.

To hear some fun facts about Jay over the next couple of weeks, like us on Facebook! 

Gratitude: The Art of the 5-Minute Journal

“You should be grateful for the food on your table!” my grandma shouted at me as I inevitably left scraps of food on my plate. I used to question lots of her practices. Why did she insist on praying the second she awoke in the morning? Why did we have to tiptoe around her at night while she murmured all of the things she was grateful for during her nightly prayers? But the more I learn about gratitude and what it means to be grateful, the more I have come to see my grandmother’s eccentricities as contributing factors to her current longevity and general happiness with life.

What exactly is gratitude and how is it different from feelings of happiness or devotion? According to Webster’s dictionary, gratitude is to be “appreciative of the benefits received.”  However, I have come to understand gratitude to be a little more complicated than that.

“Gratitude is acknowledging things that have come to you that you may or may not have worked for or deserved. Gratitude is more of a lens or a way of seeing the world that involves recognizing others and their actions that have positively affected your life.”

Unlike happiness, which is a temporary state of being that may or may not acknowledge how or why you feel that emotion, gratitude may be felt even when you aren’t particularly happy.

Related: Flipping the Script: “Have To” vs “Get To”

Studies have begun to uncover the many psychological and physiological benefits to practicing gratitude.  The practice of gratitude has been shown to activate neuro-transmitters associated with positive mood and has the potential to rewire the structures of our brain to develop more empathy for other people. Expressing gratitude can also lesson levels of depression, anxiety, and stress while decreasing hormones like cortisol that cause stress to the body. Decreasing total stress to the mind and body may lesson the likelihood of developing stress-related chronic diseases.

“Other positive correlations with gratitude include increased quality of sleep, fewer symptoms of illness and improved performance.”


There are, of course, many ways to practice gratitude but my goal is to provide you with at least one tangible way to practice gratitude that will help you reap all of the physical, social, and emotional benefits.  Behold! The 5-minute Gratitude Journal! I have altered the format to my liking, so please feel free to do the same.

I am grateful for…

Begin and end your day by writing three things you are grateful for.  Consider describing tangible, in the moment things (i.e. I am grateful for this delicious cup of hot tea). That way, even if you aren’t feeling particularly grateful for anything, you can use your senses to become more present.

What would make today great?

Next, “prime” or “pre-frame” your mind for seeing opportunities to make your day as successful as possible. By writing down what you want to happen to make your day great, your mind is more likely to point out those opportunities to you. Think of the car effect. When you buy a new car suddenly you start seeing that car everywhere. Your mind has retrained itself to SEE that particular car, and that’s the exact kind of thing we are trying to do in the gratitude journal.

Daily affirmations…

End your morning journal with some daily affirmations that guide how you would like to see yourself. These can be simple and are meant to help remind you to make decisions throughout the day that reflect your values.

How could I have made today better?

The evening portion of the journal is used to reflect upon your day. It is a space to write down the things that may have bothered you and to come up with solutions to address those issues. Sometimes just getting your frustrations down on paper can be enough to let you have a decent nights sleep.

Three awesome things that happened today…

Lastly, I like to end with happy thoughts, as I’ve found that forcing myself to think of the reasons why I should be grateful has oftentimes lessened feelings of sadness or anger.


Tips For Success

  1. Streamline your journaling process. Make sure to set-up your journal ahead of time. For some people, this may mean investing in pre-made gratitude journals easily found at your local bookstore.

  2. Consider multiple journaling avenues. I have also found that keeping a journaling app on hand has enabled me to still undergo a daily practice of gratitude, even if it’s not as detailed as the 5 minute journal. I personally use the Gratitude App, where you literally just add what you are grateful for that particular day. It takes about 30 seconds, must faster than any WOD you have ever done.

  3. Find yourself an “accountability buddy.”  Be it a partner, child, friend, coach, or a classroom of students, letting other people know about your goals and even asking them to join in with you can mean a higher likelihood of success for you.


“You can express gratitude to basically any external force that may have contributed to something beneficial in your life. “

My challenge to you is to try to find a way to incorporate gratitude throughout your day, whether it’s through something like the 5-minute journal or quickly scribbling down something you are grateful for on a piece of paper. Refer to the blog post How Do I Stay Consistent with my Fitness? to learn how to begin making the gratitude journal a daily habit.

If you need help setting up your journal or brainstorming other ways you can incorporate gratitude in your life, email me at jasmine@crossfitslipstream.com

—Jasmine Gerritsen

Coach/Trainer

CrossFit Slipstream

Jasmine@crossfitslipstream.com

A Deeper Look at Collagen Supplements

Along with many other “trendy” supplements, collagen (usually in the form of a powder or bone broth) has been popping up along shelves everywhere over the last year or so. And while you might not have heard the word “collagen” before seeing it in the supplements aisle, you’re actually very familiar with it, because collagen is the most abundant structural protein in your body. Found in skin and other connective tissues like ligaments and tendons, collagen makes up about 1/3 of the protein in the human body. But before throwing that box of bone broth in your shopping cart, let’s take a closer look to see if this supplement could help improve your health and wellbeing.

“Collagen fibers start to break down in our early to mid twenties, so the idea behind taking dietary collagen supplements is that it could help repair our bone matrix and joint surfaces.”

While it might seem like a trend, collagen supplements actually date back to 1981, when the FDA approved bovine collagen to be used for cosmetic injection. For decades, collagen has been used to smooth wrinkles and improve things like skin complexion and hair health. And its proven to be very good at doing this job, but how did we transition to using collagen as a dietary supplement? Lately, improvements in technology have allowed production of ingestible forms of collagen supplementation like powders and bone broths, which have their roots in Chinese medicine dating back over 2,500 years.

Collagen fibers start to break down in our early to mid twenties, so the idea behind taking dietary collagen supplements is that it could help repair our bone matrix and joint surfaces.  This might prevent some musculoskeletal issues that are common with aging.  If you’ve ever had achy knees, this might sound like a worthwhile investment.  However, it’s not quite that simple. Collagen is a protein that is produced from a long and complicated chain of reactions that happen within the body. When we consume collagen in its pure form, digestion breaks it down into its individual amino acids, so there is no guarantee that it will actually end up being built back up into collagen proteins.  Therefore, collagen supplements are most likely not any more effective than consuming adequate amounts of protein that can also supply the essential amino acids necessary to allow our bodies to produce collagen.

Related: Protein Intake for Best Results

Further, when taking a look at the research, there are few if any studies that have even looked at, let alone supported, the idea that collagen supplements can have an effect on musculoskeletal health. And as with all supplements, keep in mind that the FDA does not require that supplements be effective or have accurate labels to be put on shelves, they only have to prove they don’t do any harm.

Don’t worry though, all is not lost in the battle to keep our skeletons happy and healthy, because there are a variety of foods that have been proven to boost collagen production within our bodies; including red, orange, and dark green vegetables, berries, fish, citrus, lean proteins (egg, nuts, etc.), white tea, and garlic.  Ensuring that we’re eating these foods and getting sufficient amounts of other vitamins that support bone and joint health like vitamin D and calcium may be a better first step than jumping on the collagen bandwagon. However, if you have dietary restrictions or struggle to eat enough protein throughout the day, collagen supplements might be a good choice for you, just know that they’re not the only option and make sure to do your research first. Email me at jay@crossfitslipstream.com or set up your monthly consult to talk with one of your coaches about the best nutrition plan to help you reach your goals.

Related: 3 Key Elements of a Successful Nutrition Plan

–Jay Alexander

Coach/Trainer

jay@crossfitslipstream.com

MEMBER HIGHLIGHT – MEET SARAH!

Sarah has been with CrossFit Slipstream for almost a year!  She is very strong and athletic!  It is inspiring to watch her lift the barbell!  We love having her at CrossFit Slipstream!
1. Why did you decide to try CrossFit?
I started CrossFit to get in shape! I wanted to find something that would actually stick, and now it’s become somewhat of an addiction! I had a gym membership prior to joining CrossFit with the occasional training session, but I found that when I actually did attend the gym (albeit not very regularly) I didn’t get much out of it. I’m not one to motivate myself enough to get a quality workout when I’m the only one to hold myself accountable. 
2. How has having a CrossFit coach changed your workout or fitness results?
I think it’s pretty fantastic to have someone motivating you to reach your personal best! The trainers are all great about scaling the workout to meet your needs and abilities. It’s also comforting to know that someone is always there to correct your form if need be. Again, I lack self motivation, so having someone to encourage me to keep going is exactly what I need! 
3. How has doing CrossFit affected your health and/or life?
I feel like I have more energy in my day to day life. I started off with the New You Challenge which was a great program for easing into CrossFit WODs. The New You Challenge also incorporated a nutrition program which kept me accountable for what I was doing outside of the gym. Even after the challenge, as a member you have regular consults with Susan and John which are helpful to keep you on track to reach your fitness and nutrition goals. I also now have PERFECT form for carrying 50 lb boxes of clay, thanks to CrossFit! 
4. What is your favorite CrossFit movement?
Tire flips, they make me feel like a beast! 
5. What would you say to someone who is thinking about trying CrossFit?
The trainers meet you where you are, it’s a pressure free and safe environment!
It’s a really encouraging and motivating community to be a part of! 
CrossFit should come with a Surgeon General’s warning, it’s pretty addicting! 
Contact us at info@crossfitslipstream.com or call 612-644-9781 if you’d like to set up a free no-sweat intro.

Healthy Hips 101

When it comes to the human body, the hips can be thought of as the workhorses of creating movement. Not only do they have the important job of allowing locomotion, but they also have the tricky task of transferring power from the legs to the spine. We also can’t forget that they create a large amount of power on their own.

Related: How can ROM make you fitter?

Like the shoulders, the hips are a ball and socket joint. This means that the head of the femur (thigh bone), sits in a socket of the pelvis known as the acetabulum. Where these two bones meet is surrounded by a variety of ligaments, joint capsules, and muscles that work together to move the hips through its wide range of motion.

“Hip pain is increasingly common with aging and can create much more serious problems later down the road, and don’t just take my word for it, take it from the 2.5 million Americans living with Total Hip Replacements.”

Related: Shoulder Prehab 101

Problems with any one of these muscles, ligaments, or capsules can result in hip pain or restrictions. In CrossFit, nearly every movement we encounter involves the hips creating or transferring force in some capacity, so careful steps need to be taken to keep our hips happy and healthy. Hip pain is increasingly common with aging and can create much more serious problems later down the road, and don’t just take my word for it, take it from the 2.5 million Americans living with Total Hip Replacements. This post will introduce 5 drills that will provide relief for any nagging hip pain and strengthen the joint through its full range of motion to ensure that we’ll keep our hips healthy for years to come.


ADDUCTOR STRETCH

This stretch provides the best relief for hip impingement of any I’ve come across so far, which is a common ailment with how much we sit in today’s society. To start, kneel on a soft surface and extend one leg out long to the side while keeping your torso upright. Then, send your hips back as you reach arms out long in front of you. Go to a point of discomfort in the groin of the extended leg, but not pain. Hold for about 3 seconds, then return to starting position. Perform 10 reps on each leg, or more if you think this one feels as good as I do.

Related: What is Sitting Really Doing to Me?


INTERNAL ROTATION ON BENCH

For this stretch, stand next to bench, and place one knee on the center of the bench. With the leg that’s on the bench, wrap your foot around the edge of the bench. Then, walk your standing foot forward a bit and start to turn towards the leg on the bench to increase the stretch, stopping at the point when you feel discomfort, but not pain. Depending on your own personal hip anatomy, you might feel this on the inner portion of the hip or the upper-outside portion of your hip towards the glute. Hold for 1 to 2 minutes on each leg. If you’re at home, you can also perform this stretch on the edge of a bed or couch.


SUPINE PIGEON

Start lying on your back for this stretch and bring your knees up to a tabletop position. Cross your right ankle onto the left thigh, just above the left knee. Then, grab onto the backside of your left leg and gently start to pull the left leg towards your chest until you feel a stretch on the outside of your right hip and glute region. If you’d like to increase the stretch a bit further, you can also use the right elbow to gently push out on your right knee. Hold for about 90 seconds to 2 minutes, then switch legs and repeat.


HIP CIRCLES

You’ll need a lacrosse tennis ball – or any round object – for this drill that will focus on strengthening your hip through its end ranges of motion. Start on your hands and knees, and place the lacrosse ball on your low back. Slowly start to raise your right knee out to the side, keeping your hips squared off down to the ground to make sure the ball doesn’t roll off. Raise the knee as high as you can, then rotate your hip to point your knee straight behind you. Lower the right knee to the ground, then reverse that same circle (lifting knee behind you, then to the side, then down). Perform 5 circles in each direction with the right leg, then repeat on the left.


GLUTE BRIDGES

Strong glutes are essential for healthy hips, so this drill will target the glutes as well as the hamstrings. Start lying on your back and place feet flat on the ground hip-width distance apart. Walk feet in towards your glutes until your fingertips can touch your heels. Drive heels into the ground to lift hips straight up for the ceiling. Make sure that your knees are staying hip-width distance apart instead of flaring out wide or caving in. Hold for 3 seconds, slowly lower hips back down to tap ground then lift straight back up. Perform 3 sets of 15 to 20 reps. If after doing these a couple times you’d like to increase the challenge, feel free to lift one leg at a time, but keep the hips squared off to the ground still while you do this.

–Jay Alexander

Coach/Trainer

jay@crossfitslipstream.com

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