I have a confession to make. This fall, I was a “Siesta Key” fan.
It’s a total garbage reality show – and I’m totally, completely, okay with that because it’s my one hour out of the week to turn my brain off and just laugh at the ridiculousness of what’s unfolding in front of me.
This kind of outright love for reality television show drama seems to be a theme among my busy friends, and there’s plenty of reality TV drama to go around. Whether your poison is “Real Housewives,” “The Bachelor” or “Wipeout” (which I may or may not have applied to be on), zoning out for an hour helps many reset (hey, if Kathryn Budig can do it and be wildly successful, I’m in too).
But – as the busy professionals that we are – that hour can sometimes feel less like a harmless guilty pleasure and more like a stress-inducer when we think about how many other things we should be doing with our time.
Stress no more about your guilty pleasure TV show, this “mind mush mobility workout,” will turn your veg time into something useful. Grab your foam roller or lacrosse ball, a mat, queue up the latest episode of “The Challenge” and let’s get to work.
The Mind Mush Mobility Workout
During this recovery workout, you’ll go through ten exercises, switching every two minutes. If you’re watching a half-hour show, you’ll go through the sequence of exercises once, if your show is an hour, you’ll have time to go through them twice – and if you’re watching “The Bachelor” you can make it through a whopping four rounds of mobility while you let your brain take a break.
Here are your exercises to improve mobility:
- Pyriformis (foam roller or lacrosse ball) – right and left side
- Tensor fasciae latae (TFL) release (foam roller or lacrosse ball) – right and left side
- Reclined/seated figure four stretch – right and left side
- Double pigeon – right and left side
- Low lunge hip flexor stretches – right and left side
- Half splits and quad stretch – right and left side
These are the exercises broken down:
Pyriformis stretch with foam roller or lacrosse ball: You’ll feel this stretch in your glutes. For your right side, cross your right ankle over your left knee and place either your foam roller or lacrosse ball towards the right side of your right glute. Avoiding rolling over bony areas, make small movements until you run into a tight spot (you’ll know you’ve found your pyriformis muscle once you find a tight spot – this little muscle is deep and generally very tight for everyone). Stay on this spot for a few breaths, then move slightly and hold still again. Continue this pattern of seeking out the areas of tensions and breathing, then making small shifts for two minutes.
Tensor fasciae latae (TFL) release (foam roller or lacrosse ball): Your TFL is another small muscle connected to your IT-Band that gets very tight. Lie directly on your side on either a lacrosse ball or foam roller. Avoiding rolling over bony areas, make small movements until you run into a tight spot. Breathe deeply and try not to tense your muscles. Rather, release that tension and breathe into the stretch to alleviate tightness through your TFL on both sides.
Reclined/seated figure four stretch: Lie on your back and cross one ankle over your thigh, flexing your foot. Thread your hands behind your thigh and pull your leg closer to you to deepen the stretch. This is the most accessible of the three outer hip stretches.
Next, create that same shape sitting upright. With your hands by your hips and ankle crossed over your thigh, sit up tall and scoot your hips closer to your bottom foot to deepen the stretch.
Double pigeon: After a reclined and seated pigeon on both sides, cross one ankle over your thigh, stacking one ankle over your knee and your opposite knee over ankle. You’ll have your shins stacked. If there is pain in your knee, add some cushioning between your top knee and ankle or return to a previous stretch.
Low lunge hip flexor stretches: From a low lunge position, place your hands on your thigh and draw your front hip backwards. Gently flex your glute muscle to increase the stretch in your hip flexors.
To deepen the stretch, gently round your shoulders and draw your bellybutton toward your spine.
Next, lift your chest back up, lift your arms up and lean towards your extended leg. You’ll feel the stretch deeply through your hip flexors and your obliques.
Half splits and quad stretch: From your low lunge position, flex your front foot and shift your hips back. Keep your foot flexed to protect your hamstring and breath into the stretch.
Next, rebend your front knee for a low lunge and reach around for a quad stretch – aiming to reach your hand for your back ankle or foot. Hold this stretch and breathe evenly. To release, avoid letting go quickly. Slowly back out of the stretch.
(Disclaimer: This workout is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor is it a replacement for seeking medical treatment or professional nutrition advice. Do not start any nutrition or physical activity program without first consulting your physician.)