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TRX Squat

Squats will exercise all major muscle groups with an emphasis on quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteal muscles, calves, abdomen and lower back.

TRX stands for Total Body Resistance Exercise, meaning it allows you to use your body as the resistance. TRX straps help you intensify squats without adding additional load from dumbbells, barbells, or machines.

Start by grabbing the handles of the TRX, facing towards it. Distance yourself just far enough from the TRX.

Stand straight up but with a slight backward lean so that there is tension on the straps. Open your feet to make a wide base (wider than shoulder-width apart), and point your toes slightly outward.

Keeping your arms straight and keeping tension on the straps, inhale and squat down until you form a 90-degree bend with your knees. Your back should stay straight and your chin up. The pressure of your body weight is on your heels rather than your toes.

Exhale as you come back to the standing position.

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Foam Roller: Quads Relief

The Quadriceps can be subdivided into four muscles or heads: Vastus Intermedius,  Vastus Lateralis, Vastus Medialis and Rectus Femoris. This group of muscles combined is the largest muscles of the leg. They are extremely crucial muscles aiding in important actions such as walking, running, jumping and squatting in addition to stabilizing the patella.

Tight quads? Don’t worry: foam rolling your quads is quick, easy, and truly effective. There are two main variations on foam rolling your quads: rolling both legs at the same time and rolling each leg individually. Neither is better, it’s really a matter of personal preference and what works best to release your fascia. If you’ve never used a foam roller before, or never foam rolled your quads, you might want to start with the two leg variation. It maintains an even pressure on both quads at the same time, distributing your weight, and so it’s a little lighter. The single leg variation thereby exerts more pressure on the fascia, so it’s better for those that have rolled their quads before, and know that their quads require harder pressure.

Please, read the general instructions on how to foam rolling, here.


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Foam roller: Hamstrings Relief

Tight hamstrings are a common issue among all kind of athletes, no matter the sport. Even non-athletes suffer from tight hamstrings, especially professionals who sit for extended periods of time. Foam rolling the hamstrings is an effective solution for this problem.

Stretching may be more beneficial if foam rolling is done prior to the stretch. A study from 2014, Foam Rolling and Static Stretching on Passive Hip Flexion Range of Motion, measures the effects of foam rolling prior to static stretching. The authors found an increase in the hip range of motion after rolling on the hamstring then stretching, compared to stretching alone.

In my experience, tight hamstrings cause lower back pain. Countless times the pain is gone once I take care of my hamstrings. As foam rolling the lower back is something we should NOT do, loosen up your hamstrings is an indirect way to relieve pain and tightness in the lower back area.

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


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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 the 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.

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


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Lunges

You can do lunges anywhere and the effects can be seen in no time, in the form of shapely, toned legs and backside. Lunges are a good exercise for strengthening, sculpting and building several muscles/muscle groups, including the quadriceps and hamstrings, as well as the glutes. A long lunge emphasizes the use of the gluteals whereas a short lunge emphasizes the quadriceps. It is a basic movement that is fairly simple to do for beginners.

Some people tend to avoid lunges because it can put too much strain on the knees. If you feel pain, take smaller steps. Increase your lunge distance as your pain gets better. Some people also find that doing a reverse lunge instead of a forward lunge also helps reduce knee strain.

Stand with your torso upright holding two dumbbells in your hands by your sides.

In preparation to step forward, slowly lift one foot off the floor and find your balance on the standing leg. Try not to move the standing foot and maintain balance. Hold this position briefly before stepping forward. The raised foot should land on the heel first. Slowly shift your body weight onto the lead foot, placing it firmly on the floor.

Inhale and lower your upper body down, while keeping the torso upright and maintaining balance. Do not allow your knee to go forward beyond your toes as you come down, as this will put more stress on the knee. Keep your front shin perpendicular to the ground.

Exhale, push up activating your thighs and butt muscles to return to your upright, starting position.. Repeat or change legs


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Lower leg muscles

The gastrocnemius is in the back of the lower leg. Deep to the gastrocnemius (farther from the skin) is the soleus muscle. They share a common insertion via the Achille´s tendon.

Gastrocnemius

Origin:
1. medial head: just above medial condyle of femur
2. lateral head: just above lateral condyle of femur

Insertion: calcaneus via lateral portion of calcaneal tendon

Action:
1. plantarflex the ankle
2. knee flexion (when not weight bearing)
3. stabilizes ankle & knee when standing

Pain and symptoms associated with the Gastrocnemius muscle

– Pain in the arch of the foot
– Pain toward the outside of the back of the knee
– Pain toward the inside of the back of the knee
– Pain going down the inside of the inside of the lower leg
– Pain around the inside ankle
– Pain on the inside of the foot in the high arch

Activities that cause gastrocnemius pain and symptoms

– Walking uphill
– Climbing
– Climbing stairs
– Cycling
– Jumping
– Swimming with toes pointed (flutter kick)
– Wearing high heels
– Tight banded socks or stockings
– Using footstools and recliners that put pressure on the back of the calves
– Sitting in a chair with knees pressed against the seat
– Sleeping with the covers tucked in too tightly requiring the toes to remain in a pointed, downward position
– Immobility of the lower leg due to a cast or brace

Soleus is a powerful muscle in the back part of the lower leg (the calf). It runs from just below the knee to the heel, and is involved in standing and walking. It is closely connected to the gastrocnemius muscle and some anatomists consider them to be a single muscle, the triceps surae.

Origin:
1. upper fibula
2. soleal line of tibia

Insertion: calcaneus via medial portion of calcaneal tendon

Action: plantarflex the foot

Acting via the Achille´s tendon, the gastrocnemius and soleus cause plantar flexion. That is, they increase the angle between the foot and the leg. The soleus plays an important role in maintaining standing posture. Together, the gastrocnemius and the soleus are involved in walking, dancing, running, jumping…

Pain and symptoms associated with the Soleus muscle

– Pain in the heel often to the point of not being able to put weight on the heel
– Pain in the ankle
– Pain in the calf sometimes extending into the back of the knee
– Deep aching in the back of the knee
– Deep pain in the low back
– Hypersensitivity to touch in the lower back
– Poor circulation in the lower legs and feet
– Pain in the jaw and on the side of the head

Activities that cause soleus muscle pain and symptoms

– Walking uphill
– Climbing
– Climbing stairs
– Cycling
– Jumping
– Wearing high heels
– Using footstools and recliners that put pressure on the back of the calves
– Immobility of the lower leg due to a cast or brace

A calf muscle tear is graded from 1 to 3, with grade 3 being the most severe.

Grade 1 symptoms

Grade 1 calf strain is a minor tear with up to 10% of the muscle fibers affected. The athlete will feel a twinge of pain in the back of the lower leg. They may be able to carry on playing or competing in mild discomfort. There is likely to be tightness and aching in the calf muscles two to five days after injury.

Grade 2 symptoms

Symptoms of a grade 2 strain will be more severe than a grade one with up to 90% of the muscle fibers torn. A sharp pain at the back of the lower leg will be felt with significant pain walking. There is likely to be swelling in the calf muscle with mild to moderate bruising. Pain will be felt on resisted plantar flexion or pushing the foot downwards against resistance. There may be tightness and aching in the calf muscle for a week or more.

Grade 3 symptoms

There will be a severe immediate pain at the back of the lower leg. The athlete will be unable to continue and unable to walk. There will be considerable bruising and swelling appearing and the athlete will be unable to even contract the calf muscle. In the case of a full rupture, often there is deformity where the muscle can be seen to be bunched up towards the top of the calf. A grade three is a near, or complete rupture of the muscle.