Move better TLC: Chest roll

Your Torture Loving Care for today.

Sitting all day? Your chest is probably tight and knotty! Do this roll to ease shoulder and neck tension. 

  1. Lie face down on semi-soft ball (I’m using an Yamuna ball.) Place it in the shoulder/chest area.
  2. Make slow circles clockwise and counter-clockwise several times. To add more pressure, use the opposite hand to add more body weight.
  3. Pause and rotate the arm: palms up to palms down. 
  4. Roll for about 2 minutes each side. 

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Alleviating Knee Pain: IT (iliotibial) Band Foam Roll

Hello runners! This is for you. Ever feel that pain under your knee? I have and do occasionally. But ever since I started foam rolling my IT band, it pretty much stays away. So get on the foam roller band wagon now.

For an explanation and diagram showing the IT band, see my earlier post from this week. 

But let's get down to foam roll business:
1. Roll your roller up in a yoga mat. Unless you have a Melt roller.
2. Start above the leg bone, right on the side hip/butt.
3. Roll back and forth 1-2 inches. Pause.
4. Rock back and forth. Pause. 
5. Hold for 2-3 breaths and allow your muscles to relax and melt into the roller.

Now for the side of the leg:
1. Keep the roller in the mat.
2. Start at the top of the leg.
3. Roll back and forth several inches. To take pressure off, come onto hand and drop the top leg to the front or back. This shouldn't hurt! 
4. Rock gently side to side. Again. if this hurts, go back to step 3. 
5. Do figure eights on the side of the leg. If this hurts, go back to setp 3 or 4. 
6. Repeat further down the leg, but stop right before the knee. 

Repeat on other side. 

Remember less is more. If it's too intense. back off and only do what feels good. Happy rolling!


Daily Stretch Break: Neck Release (Sphinx Pose/Salamba Bhujangasana)

In our sitting culture, bad posture is very common. Sitting in a hunched fashion causes the chest muscles to contract and our upper back muscles to stretch all day. This causes our back muscles to deactivate. They forget what to do. To counter this action and improve your posture to release neck tension, try this stretch, the Sphinx pose.

Sphinx pose is gentle backbend.

Key benefits:
1. Stretches and lengthens the spine.
2. Stretches the chest, lunges, front shoulders and abs.
3. Firms and activates glutes and muscles between the shoulder blades.
4. Helps relieve stress.
5. Helps relieve neck tension. 

To get into the stretch:
1. Lie on your belly, legs stretched out behind you.

2. Place your hands flat on the floor with your elbows slightly forward of your shoulders. Cross your forearms so that you're hands touch your elbows to ensure you arms are shoulder width apart. Rotate your hands so that they are straight in line with elbows and shoulders.  Spread your fingertips wide apart from one another and press strongly through your hands.

3. Press down through the tops of your feet and down through your tailbone.

4. Keeping your legs and glutes firm, but not clenched, as you lift up with your chest and draw your shoulders back and down. Keep the back of your neck long; do not kink your head back.

5. Hug your belly to your spine to support your lower back.

6. Hold the center pose for severals breaths, then drop your right ear to your right shoulder. Hold for another few breaths. Switch sides.

Beginner's Tip
Roll up a towel and arrange it in a U-shape on the floor. Lie with the bottom of the U just above your pubic bone and the legs of the U under the sides of your belly to help support the belly lift.


Recipe of the week: Whole-grain Blueberry Muffins


1 cup rolled oats (not instant)
1 cup reduced-fat milk (or almond milk)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup pumpkin
1 egg
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 blueberries

1. Soak oats in milk for approximately 1 hour.

2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.

3. Add applesauce, pumpkin and egg to milk and oats. Mix until combined.

4. Add dry ingredients (flour, flax, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon) to wet ingredients.

5. Add blueberries. Do not over mix the batter or the muffins will be tough. 

6. Spoon batter into 12 prepared muffin cups.

7. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until done. Insert toothpick in center muffin. If it comes out clean, muffins are done. 

Calories: 93.5 Total Fat: 0.5 g Cholesterol: 0.4 mg Sodium: 196.2 mg Total Carbs: 20.5 g Dietary Fiber: 1.7 g Protein: 2.9 g


Workout of the Week: 30-minute core circuit

An ab workout designed to get your heart-rate up and build strength, endurance and stamina. Complete exercises back to back and rest in-between sets. Try to do each exercise for 45-60 sec and then move right into the next one. Repeat circuit 2-4 times.