Having an injury sucks, but sometimes it’s a total blessing in disguise. My year of physical therapy was the most miserable and rewarding year since I started running because of how much I learned. When I was recommended a physical therapist, I was lucky to be sent to one who knew what it meant to be an endurance athlete — he understood the mentality, the desire to get back to a sport, and the stubborn personalities many of us exhibit. It was also a perk he’s worked with everyone from hobby joggers, to age groups, to professional triathletes, and even very much not benchwarming NFL players.
I previously talked about the things I’ve learned from physical therapy in a three-part series which addressed pre-hab, post-hab, and everything in between. Many of these tips and exercises are still true today, but I’ve expanded my knowledge so much in the past year with CrossFit. It helps that the gym was opened by my physical therapist and coaches who are endurance athletes themselves who have put the work in and now see the results. The “work” has been the things I mentioned in the above links and the results are the whole “not injured and PRing” things. I like those things, don’t you?
Since I only go to CrossFit once or twice a week, I have to make sure I’m staying true to my exercises whenever I can. I work in an office setting so I’m spending probably 8 hours of my day on my butt, not including what I do at home. Do you know what that does for your butt? Nothing. I find that coming home after work and doing my “everything in between” exercises often isn’t enough to counteract DBS (dead butt syndrome) before I go running. I’ll be honest, I don’t notice any difference between going out for a run with my dead butt, or warming up my butt to be just half dead, but I will notice a difference in the weeks down the road as kinks start showing up.
In addition to DBS, I’ve always been a sufferer of the heel whip and poor femoral control. I’m not quite as bad as Priscah Jeptoo (I admire her because we’re kind of bad form twins and she’s awesome, so I can be too) but my legs are not pretty. Chris tells me it’s my femoral control, or lack thereof. How do I fix this? Funny story, but fixing that femoral control issue I’m having goes hand in hand with counteracting DBS.
And so here we are. Approximately 8+ hours of sitting on my butt at work and another 3-4+ hours of sitting on my butt at home, followed by 7+ hours of laying on my butt in bed. I’ve learned to counteract my DBS by doing some exercises at work. Yes, in my cubicle where I have friends and coworkers surrounding me. If you’re lucky, your coworkers will buy into your shenanigans!
So what do I do? It’s actually really simple…
I downloaded “Stand Up!” which is a free app (on iTunes, at least) where you can set an alarm to go off in specified intervals on specified days. I have mine set to go off every 40 minutes from 8:30am to 4:30pm. When it goes off, I tell my row it’s time to stand up and we all do a brief stretch or exercise. [Note: This is not a sponsored post; this was simply an app recommended by my friend Karen and it’s now become one of my favorites!]
Every 40 minutes, my phone goes off. If my friends are at their desks next to me, I let them know it’s time, and we stretch or do an exercise. I stick to the same few which I’ll talk about, but there has been plenty of exercises, some push-ups, and even sit-ups! We’ve definitely gotten caught by some people walking by, including the managers in our aisle, but nobody says anything or laughs to our face. After all, we’re being the healthy ones here!
Here are the three exercises I do comfortably in my little cubicle.
World’s Greatest Stretch
1. Take a giant step back with one leg and reach overhead, you should be in a lunge-style position. Squeeze your glute in the outstretched leg.
2. Place your hands on the ground, one one each side of your front foot and keep squeezing your glute.
3. Open up towards your bent knee, arms straight, shoulders stacked. Are you still squeezing?
4. Place your hands back on the ground.
5.Push up from your back foot into figure 4 position (running position, balancing on one foot).
Single Leg Romanian Deadlifts
1. Balance on one leg in that figure 4 position (I like to put my arms bent as though I’m about to run, too).
2. Bend at the hips and extend the leg that’s in the air backwards, along with the same side arm forward. If your hamstrings are warmed up and you’re flexible, chances are you may be able to come close to looking like a flat board.
3. Check your positioning, your hips should not be turning to the side. Can you balance a glass of water on your mid back?
3. Come back to figure 4 position.
4. If you can, keep doing this without changing legs or gathering your balance again, then switch sides.
At 40 minutes intervals in my typical workday, I’m doing one of these exercises for 30 seconds approximately 10 times per day. If I’m diligent, that’s 50 times per week which doesn’t include what I’m doing at home (admittedly, not a lot this week). It takes a lot sometimes for me to get motivated to strength train, but hey, if I can fit the little things in during work — why not?