Monday, July 9, 2012

Stretching is supposed to feel good

So for the last week I haven't been able to work out because I've been sick. This also had the effect of driving me nuts since I'd just started this whole workout thing and then found I couldn't actually DO any of it.

I made the rather understandable mistake of mentioning this to my husband. As a Marine and consumate badass, little things like illness (or loss of surface skin, for that matter) don't really slow him down much and he sympathized with my plight more than I think I'd intended. This whole not working out thing was a problem that had to be solved. He'd been the one to say "don't work out this week" since I'd been sick but I had underestimated the true depth of his knowledge in all things designed to suck when it comes to exercise.

He suggested I stretch.

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"Ok," I thought, "sure! I can do that! It'll be relaxing! I'll just do some fun yoga or something and that will be my exercise." So yesterday, I told my hubby I was going to take his suggestion on stretching. That's when he sent me the link to this site. It's a mobility workout of the day site by a guy called KStar. He's actually a well respected athlete who looked at his fellow muscleheads and said "Wow, we are all in a lot of pain." He decided that people knew too little about how their own bodies work and he set out to fix that. His site is a series of mobility workouts, one per day, that are designed to stretch you out in ways that might otherwise go overlooked.

Sounds great, right?

I clicked the play button on video number one and found that my first daily stretch was just sitting in a squat for 10 minutes. Well THAT'S not hard, right? It's just a squat. In fact, peoples around the world who don't have a ton of European luxuries actually sit that way normally all the time. Scientists even tell us that this is a NORMAL position for people and that we aren't really designed to sit squarely on our rumps. This can lead to lots of back pain.

Photo from

Ok, this whole squatting thing is natural and perfectly normal so sitting like this for 10 minutes should be cake. I plop down into a squat and congradulate myself on having managed something this easy. Then I take a closer look at how Kstar is sitting. Ok, so my heels aren't on the floor. I correct this...and promptly fall over. What the hell? Turns out that it's not as easy to sit like this as you might think. Also, it hurts like holy hell. It's not because it's not natural, it's because since I was a child, I've been taught to sit in a chair so this seemingly normal squat becomes somewhat problematic. All the muscles that SHOULD be stretched to do this, namely the hips, back of the thighs, and butt, are all shortened from lack of stretching over the course of years and now I'm trying to tug them into a position they no longer deal with well.

I spend the next five minutes trying to convince my heels to stay flat, my knees to stay apart, my butt to stay off the ground, and my back to stay straight. That last part is important. PAY ATTENTION TO IT. Seriously, it hurt when I found myself curling over to try and balance better. Instead, I just caused some serious lower back pain so don't do that. To help with my balance, I wound up clinging to the leg of a table like some cracked out lemur while I tried not to topple over, all while counting down the minutes with a desperation I hadn't realized one could get just from stretching.

The whimpering sounds of my agony eventually drew my husband back out of his office and he gently informed me that the 10 minutes didn't have to be consecutive. I could build up to this sort of thing. After which, he helped ease me down to the floor and kept me from hyperventilating as my screaming muscles finally relaxed again. Now at least I know not to try to do these exercises all in one go. They are not for the faint of heart and much like fighting a dragon, if you go in unprepared, it will eat your butt alive.

Thus ends my lesson in how stretching isn't always relaxing and how I am apparently tense in muscles I didn't even know I had. Tonight, I'm back to my workout so, seeing as my butt is reminding me of what I did to it yesterday, doing weighted squats tonight should be fun. >__>


  1. Aw, man. I feel ya. I've been working on being able to squat-sit like that, and while I can go quite a while without too much back pain, my legs fall asleep! I have no idea how to fix that, though. More practice and thinner calves, I imagine.

    1. LOL! Well, I think it's just a matter of practice. There's plenty of people out there that manage to do it for hours on end and they have strong calves too. ;)