Monday, March 2, 2009

Resistance Stretching and Running Article

On the Innovative Body Solutions website there is a new article on resistance stretching. The article comes from Vogue magazine so unless you want to buy a copy of the magazine, you may want to read it there. It is authored by Elizabeth Weil, who wrote this article on Dara Torres for the New York Times and is the author of "Age is Just a Number" a new book on Olympic swimmer and Dara Torres. Of course it was Dara Torres' resistance stretching routine and success at the Olympics that brought a lot of publicity to resistance stretching.

Here is a link
to a previous post I made with links to many other posts on resistance stretching.

Elizabeth Weil mentions that she had been a runner for ten years starting in her teens. As she is approaching 40 years old, she decided she wanted to become a runner again and run as fast as she had when she was younger. She was fortunate to get stretched by Anne Tierney and Steve Sierra. Innovative Body Solutions is their site and they are also Dara Torres personal stretchers. In other words they are the best in the business.

In the article Tierney says, "We are troubleshooters. We'll look you over and figure out where your trouble spots are. It's usually a small chain of imbalances that are holding you back. Once we figure those out, everything will open up."

The two stretchers noticed that one of Elizabeth's hips was higher than the other and one muscle making up her quads was not properly firing and they proceeded to go through two hours of stretching all over her body so as to fix her imbalances. It is an interesting read particularly as it relates resistance stretching to running.

I did go to a resistance stretcher last fall and had some good runs afterwards that continued as I did resistance stretching on my own. However I have not been doing it for the past month. Why? I have been doing something similar in application but more directed at my own imbalances. I have been pushing my legs, from my hips, against resistance (although I am not moving the leg through the resistance). This is what is ultimately balancing out my hips to a level that I haven't had in 25 years. I think this is why parts of resistance stretching were working for me. I was starting to get at my stuck hips. Whether you call it resistance stretching, Muscle Energy Technique, leveraging, or whatever I don't care. What I care about is that something is definitely working.

I am still slowly going over the DVDs on The Malalignment Syndrome: diagnosis and treatment of common pelvic and back pain, I haven't used their tests to figure out what is imbalanced with my hips, but I have been directing the "pushing" I was already doing with the guidance and direction from the DVDs so that I have an idea of the why and how of what I have been doing. It is interesting to note that Dr. Wolf Schamberger who developed this technique is a former 2:20 marathoner who used this to fix his own imbalances.

Although it is my left hip that usually is the "sore hip" I think that my right hip is the hip with an upslip. That means that it is higher than my left hip (which explains why this is my short leg) and probably why my left leg takes more of the stress (and reacts with its own twisting) when I run. To correct this I bend the right leg at the knee and I push the right leg against the pressure of my arms. I don't push it as hard as I was doing on my own. Then for the left leg I pull the left knee towards my chest as I resist against the pressure with my arms. Both of these are exercises I had discovered on my own but now I know the how and why of doing them (and which leg to do them on). I also am starting a few exercises for the rotations of my hip (one is farther forward than the other). Is it working? I have already mentioned that I feel better than I have in 25 years when not running. As my hips come into a better balance all the aches and pains as well as tension in my muscles throughout my body from feet to upper back seem to be leaving. In basic terms, I feel loose and I am not spending my day trying to figure out how to get rid of the pains and imbalances that I normally feel. I also don't pay much attention to my body being out of balance as I feel more solid and steady in posture.

As for running? I took a test run yesterday at the Freeze Your Buns 5k race. I did this race to see if my hips would stiffen at a faster pace of running. I must say despite a slow time compared to previous years of racing, that this is the best I have felt in a race in years. Was it perfect? No, but I was so much more balanced that I am used to and I felt like I was running smoothly and with a proper running motion. I haven't felt that good in a long time! I just hope that the path I am on continues, because I would like to see how I can really do as a runner when I am not fighting my own body as I run.

The other thing I continue to do each day is the Turkish get ups with my kettlebells. This exercise is helping my hips strengthen and increases the mobility through the movement of my hips. The funny thing is I used to spend hours a day trying to figure out what was making my body so uncomfortable and trying to relieve the discomfort. I now am spending hardly any time at all, just a few things thoughout the day and I am good to go.

As for the race, I thought I was running hard (so I probably was) but I was disappointed at the time I saw at two miles. I did put on a long surge during the last mile and caught up to and passed the lead female runner, Amber Cullen. I made up about 10-15 seconds. Maybe she was having an off day, but I rarely catch people near the end of a race. It was very helpful to be pushing with her at the end because it got me under 20 minutes for the race. This is a much better time than my first 5ks last year.

Here are the result of the Freeze Your Buns race.

5K Results 2009-March-01
Name Town Age Sex Time
Ferreira, Danny Concord, NH 26 M 0:17:36
King, Andy Lowell, MA 33 M 0:17:42
Wade, Michael Nashua, NH 40 M 0:17:47
Indruk, Greg Nashua, NH 28 M 0:19:09
Hansen, Jim Nashua, NH 50 M 0:19:53
Cullen, Amber Concord, NH 26 F 0:19:54
Snow, Ken Merrimack, NH 53 M 0:20:11
Kane, Brian Merrimack, NH 47 M 0:20:29
Cullen, Gregory Westford, MA 56 M 0:20:33
Rouleau, Stephen Nashua, NH 30 M 0:21:00
Burnett, Jim Canaan, NH 59 M 0:21:31
Lee, Stephen Concord, NH 45 M 0:21:49
Poublon, Danielle Nashua, NH 10 F 0:25:58
Hiatt, Melissa N. Hampton, NH 11 F 0:26:50
Gallagher, James Merrimack, NH 42 M 0:26:51
Welts, Bob Hollis, NH 75 M 0:32:35
Adams, James Nashua, NH 35 M 0:33:13


Anonymous said...


You have an abducted foot (feet) this is the source of your problem. Work on the medial aspect of the kinetic chain. Use a thera-band for ankle work.

Jim Hansen said...

That is a good reminder. I used to do thera-band work on my feet. I should start up again as the hip is improving, but that foot still rotates out.