Friday, October 21, 2011

Day 8D--progress

My thighs and butt feel much tighter. I am also experiencing some soreness from the exercises. That is why I didn't add any new exercises the last two days. I will add some next week.

Tonight's my first time I'm bowling since I was on crutches. I'm hoping that will add some cardio and upper body work to my days.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Day 7D--Static Lunge

The lunge works the glutes and quads. After doing all my other glute and quad work, I was only able to do ten reps each leg. It also works all three of the hamstring muscles, the biceps femoris, semitendinosus and semimembranosis.

I have added this exercise to the graph. I have noticed that I am having a hard time increasing my times and reps. I hope that changes soon, because I'd like to see some improvement in my numbers.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Day 6D--Butt

Glutes are one of our most under-used and under-trained muscles. They're not designed to be sitting 99% of the day like most of us do. This is not just a problem for the casual athlete, but also some professional athletes, too. Darwin Fogt has said that many professional athletes fail simple glute tests.

To counter this, I will not only be doing the bridge but added squats today. The motion is just like sitting in a chair and standing back up, but with no chair to catch you. All of the lowering should come from your knees and hips. Such a simple exercise, but also very easy to do incorrectly. Many people end up doing much of the lowering by bending their ankles. If your knees go beyond your toes, it's poor form. To keep correct form, I have to hold my hands about a foot in front of my chest to hold my balance.

I am still doing all the exercises from last week, but did miss a few days. I will be running through them all during commercials tonight to get in some more reps. I left those days blank on my progress chart. As you can see, I added a second chart to track the reps on several exercises. These numbers aren't my total reps for the day, just the amount I do at the first time I do the exercise every day.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Day 5D--Hips

Today's exercise is the counter to yesterday's exercise. This involves lifting the lower leg while you lie on you side. It works the hip adductor (the inside of your thigh) instead of the abductor (outside) Because it's crossing the other leg, it won't lift nearly as far as when lifting the higher leg. The supporting muscles are the same as yesterday, the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and abdominals.

With the complete exercises from this week, the thigh has been targeted from every side. The abs have also been targeted. This should increase strength and balance.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Day 4D--Hips

This is an exercise that primarily works the hip abductor (the outside muscle of the thigh) It also works glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and abdominals. This one exercise engages all the muscles from the other exercises from earlier this week.

When lying on your side with your back to a wall, just lift the upper leg straight up. It's deceptively simple, but is difficult to hold for the 5 seconds before lowering it for the next 9 reps. I haven't added this exercise to the chart, but only because I'm not sure if holding it steady for longer and longer times will actually do more than just 5 reps of 5 seconds each..

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Day 3D--Butt

The third exercise I will be adding is the bridge. I'd describe it like a pelvic thrust when you're laying down in sit up position. It mainly works the glutes and hamstrings, otherwise known as the butt. It also works the quadriceps, abdominals and shoulders as supporting medicines. This is another exercise that can be done quickly.

My abs are still sore from yesterday, so my plank time took a backwards step. I love that I can feel the exercises working, even if the chart doesn't reflect that.

I can't find a record time for the bridge, but did find one for the wall sit. Dr. Thienna Ho once held it for 11 hours and 5 minutes. I thought 11 minutes sounded ridiculously long and impressive. I guess I have a new goal to shoot for. Although, 11 hours of sitting would be super boring. I could watch the director's cut of all the LOTR movies in that time. Not that I would be any less bored if I did that.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Day 2D--Core

The second muscle group that I will be targeting to improve my running is my core. The core is made up of all the muscles in your stomach. I focused on my transversus abdominis muscle. I did that by performing the plank. It's similar to the look of a push-up, without the pushing. You just hold your body straight, like a plank, while balancing on your toes and elbows or forearms. It forces the deepest abdominal muscles to engage and hold your body up.

Paul Drinan holds the world record in the plank at 33 minutes and 40 seconds. Today I managed to hold the plank for 1 minute and 10 seconds. I will continue to work on improving my time. I have added a chart to the top of the blog tracking my progress on the plank and on the wall sits. I'll chart the longest I can hold the exercises each day. I am doing them more than once a day, but these are my longest.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Day 1D--starting again

Six weeks on crutches and unemployment have done a number on me. I am sluggish, heavier and just plain out of shape. Now that I've ended my stint on crutches, it's time to get myself back into shape. My goal is just general better health, with a more specific goal of running the marathon next year. To achieve that specific goal, I will be targeting muscles that will help me improve my run performance. To determine which muscles to target, I will be doing research into anatomy and running injuries.

The first muscle that I know I need to work on is my quadiceps. It seems such a straight-forward muscle, but it's not focused on enough by many runners. It's the muscle that makes walking possible, but that doesn't give it enough work to fully strengthen it. To isolate the quadriceps, I will be doing wall squats. They consist of "sitting" with your back up against the wall and your feet about a 12 inches out but with no actual chair. It's amazing how quickly this will make your legs quiver in exhaustion.

Kathrine Switzer mentions this exercise in her book "Marathon Woman" and how she was insulted at the idea that she needed to strengthen her thighs, despite running 100 miles a week. Her first try she was able to hold it for 70 seconds. Later, she built up to 11 minutes. The doctor who gave her the exercise had never seen anyone exceed 4 minutes. I don't know if I will get up to 11 minutes, but need to improve on my current 25 seconds.