Tag Archives: muscle

Foam Roller: Calves Relief

You´ll hear/read foam roller is a self-myofascial technique. Ok, self-myofascial release is the term for self-massage to release muscle tightness or trigger points. By applying pressure to specific points muscles return to normal function. Normal function means your muscles are elastic and ready to perform.

Some of the basic, most obvious benefits are better movement and increased range of motion. These benefits can decrease the chance of injury and decrease recovery time after a workout.

We should start foam rolling our calves. From the shoes we wear to the way we sit in a chair, our calves are suffering most of the time.

I would like to introduce a new style of videos, please click play and be amazed how the letters fall from the sky, haha! No, seriously, I would appreciate your feedback.

Read the main instructions on how to foam rolling, here.

Foam Rolling

This month we´re going to learn how to foam rolling. I love my foam roller so much, I´m even worried! Maybe I skip a training session or miss a yoga session, but I always find ten minutes to catch up with my blue friend (you´ll see it´s blue).

As each exercise has its own instructions, but there are main guidelines and usual mistakes common to all of them, I think it´s easier to read separately. Once you know the “rules”, it gets boring read them over and over again, right? Anyway, if you need a reminder or thinking on new followers, I´ll add a link to this post for everyone´s safety.

  1. WARNING! Most important: Do NOT use the foam roller on your lower back. Never. You may get injured. And that´s the opposite you want. Rolling your lower back will cause your spinal muscles to contract to protect your spine. To release your lower back, we roll the muscles that connect to it, glutes, hip flexors, and so on.
  2. Time: Ideally, you should spend 20 seconds or so on each tender spot while managing how much pressure you apply. When using a foam roller you should apply enough pressure so that you feel some tension released, either with constant pressure or by making small movements back and forth. A mild amount of discomfort is expected but you shouldn’t be in pain.
  3. Pressure: Apply enough pressure so that you feel some tension released, either with constant pressure or by making small movements back and forth. A mild amount of discomfort is expected but you shouldn’t be in pain. On painful or inflamed areas, it’s often best to roll just a few inches away first and then use large, sweeping motions to cover the entire area.
  4. Speed: Do not roll too quickly; slow and concentrated movements. If you roll too fast, your muscles won’t have time to adapt and you’re not going to get relief.
  5. Bad posture: If you use an improper form or bad posture while doing this, it could exacerbate existing postural deviations and cause injury. This is why we give specific instructions on each exercise!

Are you ready to foam rolling?

Resistance Band Triceps Extension

We can work our triceps at home, using the resistance band.

Anchor the band at the top of the door and stand facing it. Your feet hip-width apart. Grab the handles and brace your abs to stabilize your spine. Keep your torso aligned and pull your shoulder blades back and down.

Exhale and contract your triceps, straighten your elbows and pressing the handle down toward the floor. Continue pressing until your elbows are straight but not locked.

Inhale and return to the starting position. Repeat.

Are you ready for a challenge?

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Dumbbell Triceps Kickback

An easy exercise for your triceps is the kickback.

Hold a dumbbell in the right hand. Stand in a split-stance position with the left leg forward. Keep your weight distributed through the heels of both feet. Brace your abdominal and core muscles to stabilize the spine. Slowly lean forward, shifting most of your upper extremity body weight into the left side. Pull your shoulder blades down and back. Your head should be aligned with your spine. Maintain these engagements throughout the exercise.

Bend your right elbow bringing your upper arm parallel to, and close to, your torso. Your forearm should hang perpendicular to the floor.

Exhale and slowly straighten your elbow. Your upper arm should remain stationary next to your torso. Do not allow the upper arm to rise during the movement. Do not allow the low back to sag or your torso to rotate.

Inhale and slowly bend your elbow, returning to starting position.

Repeat and change sides.

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Standing Barbell Curl

The barbell curl is a pure biceps mass builder. This is very simple exercise to perform but as with all other exercises, the form is very important. To get the most from this exercise, you must learn to use your biceps to move the weight. Learn how to use your biceps to move the weight without using your body weight and you’ll start to build well shaped biceps.

Hold a barbell or E-Z bar with palms facing forward. Your grip should be shoulder-width apart. The bar should rest on the front of your thighs with your wrists straight, not bent.
Stand in a split-stance position with knees slightly bent to stabilize your body. Brace your torso by contracting your abs. Pull your shoulder blades down and back. Your head and neck should be aligned with your spine.

Exhale. Contract your biceps, bending your elbows, and raising the bar toward the front of your shoulders in a slow and controlled manner. Keep your torso erect and the wrists in neutral. Do not allow the shoulders to shrug, the back to arch or the elbows to move forward throughout this movement.

Inhale. Straighten the elbows and lower the barbell back to the starting position in a slow and controlled manner. Do not bounce the bar off the front of your thighs.

As some of us show structural differences at the elbow, we may not be able to grip the barbell with our arms against our sides in the lowered position unless we force a bend at our wrists. The grip position you select should be the one that is most comfortable and enables you to keep the wrists aligned with the forearm.

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Barbell Shrug Behind The Back

This is an excellent exercise for your traps, and I like it very much because I don´t need a heavy weight to feel the burn.

Stand up straight with your feet at shoulder width as you hold a barbell with both hands behind your back with palms facing back. Your hands should be a little wider than shoulder width apart.

Exhale as you raise your shoulders up as far as you can go. Hold there for a second.

Inhale and return to the starting position.

Repeat.

NOTICE: Do not lift the barbell by using your biceps. The arms should remain stretched out at all times.

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Barbell Overhead Triceps Extension

This is a classic exercise for triceps, but you should be careful and I don´t recommend it if you have lower back issues. As you imagine, holding a weight behind your head creates tension in your lower back.

Stand-up holding a barbell or e-z bar with palms facing forward and hands closer than shoulder width apart. Feet about shoulder width apart. Lift the barbell above your head until your arms are fully extended. Keep your elbows in.

Inhale. Keeping your upper arms close to your head and elbows in, lower the barbell behind your head until your forearms touch your biceps. The upper arms should remain stationary and only the forearms should move.

Exhale as you contract your triceps, extending your arms to the starting position.

Repeat.

Do you want to gain muscle or lose fat this month?

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