Friday, August 5, 2016

Five Exercises I Do Everyday (Friday Five Edition)

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Since my first half marathon several years ago, I have been plagued with IT band and knee issues on my left leg.  Below are five exercises and stretches I do every day - well at least 5 days a week.  I can tell when I slack off.  I have found that my cats love "helping" me do my exercises.

**Disclaimer:  I am not a doctor or physical therapist.   These are just things I have picked up over the last few years that I have found that has helped me.  Everyone is different and different things work for different people.

1. The Clam Shell - I put a band around my lower thighs right above the knees.  It's best to start with no band and work your way up.  I started out with 20 reps both sides and am now at 60.  I need to get a tighter band and start back down at 20.

2. Standing Abductor Lifts (to the side, angled back, and to the front) - I use a band around my ankles, but like the clam shells, it's best to start off without, you still get a good workout.  I do the side and angled back to help my hips and glutes and the front to help strengthen my quads.  I do 40 each leg, each position.

3. Seated Leg Lifts - The teacher of my FT class I take at the gym got me hooked on these.  When I start building up my mileage I try to find extra things to help strengthen my quads.  This little move does not look like it does a lot, but man it really gets your quads good.  I do 20 quick pulses then five slow ones trying to get as high as I can and then 20 more pulses.  To make it harder, don't let your heal touch when your leg comes down.

4. Butterfly/Piriformis/Glute Med - I love these stretches!  My hips get so tight the more I run.  A lot of that tightness is in my glutes.  I do the butterfly and each leg twice to the count of 20.

5. Rolling - I roll everything.  My IT band, quads, hips, glutes (though sometimes it's hard to hit that right spot), and back.  I love to hate my rollers.

It hurts so good! I have to credit this and point to the post which is great!

I have several rollers.  The green one is a softer one which I use for my back.  The smooth black one is a harder one which I really try to get my IT band, glutes, and quads with.  The spiky one is just as much a torture apparatus as it looks.  I only use that when something is so tight, I can't get it worked out with the others.  Both black ones are a nice travel size to bring with me on race-cations.  The two sticks are hand held versions of the rollers.  They are great to have in the office or for travel when space is limited.

I did use this at the gym and think I might have found another one for my collection.  It's really an addiction.

I do a few other things to stretch and work my core a little, but these are the basics.  In total, it takes me about 20 minutes to do everything.  Sometimes if I have time and feel like it, I'll spend longer stretching and rolling, especially after a long run (and I'm not rushing off to work after).  I overall feel a lot better doing it everyday.

What exercises do you do?   Do you love to hate your rollers too?  Do your pets love to "help" you stretch?

Linking up with Courtney, Mar & Cynthia 



  1. These tips of exercises are so important to help stay healthy overall! Love your roller collection!

  2. I do clamshells all the time too! I have never seen those leg lifts- I'll have to give them a try. Great routine!

    1. The leg lifts are powerful for such a small move. Thanks!

  3. I have been slacking on the stretching but was just thinking about getting back to doing Clamshells. I like the stretches that use the bands. Yes, Baylee always has to have a part in my stretching. It's like that's the time she thinks she needs to sit on my lap!

    1. Yeah, the moment I get things out, Aiden is right there. He thinks it's cuddle time.

  4. That's quite the collection of foam rollers! I need to get better about rolling. I only do it when my muscles are feeling tight but I should do it more regularly.

    1. I set an alarm on my phone every day to remind me. It doesn't help all of the time, but it does help me some of the time.