My Little Black Strap
|Getting my black strap on. |
The assisted "couch stretch."
Although my husband and I joke half seriously about its potential as a marital aid, I actually use this stretchy black rubber strap to facilitate joint distraction in my hips.
I know. B-O-R-I-N-G.
That little black strap is all about the distraction without the sexual benefits. For now, anyway.
Distraction of a joint separates the joint surfaces without pulling ligaments out of place or dislocating anything. For people like me, with tight hip flexors and junky joints, the aid of a stretchy band can help loosen my hips considerably when I'm stretching. It can be a little intense while I'm using it but afterwards I feel less stiff and much more mobile.
I'm aware of the huge controversy about stretching. I know there are a ton of studies out there which go both ways, but, what I've come to believe is that it seems stretching is more personal and situational. I have a tendency to hold my body in constant tension (yeah... I'm literally uptight and wound up all the time) and stretching for me forces me to consciously relax those muscles on a regular basis. For me, that's critical.
There are certain stretches that I can do that feel amazing afterward (like the pigeon pose or the couch stretch in the above pic. Other stretches Fuck. Me. Up. I tried doing a wall stretch by laying on the ground and propping my feet up against the wall. A super simple stretch, right? My left leg was good, but it somehow messed up my right leg. In fact, my right leg felt like it was overextending at my knee and it ached for some time after that. Recipe for disaster in my book. That stretch was fired.
So for me stretching is done as a way to facilitate range of motion and loosen me up. Um. I should mention here that cocktails loosen me up too *grinning* and if I combine the two its like I've transformed myself into an Olympic gymnast! You should see me try to do the splits after a couple gin fizz's. Now that's a spectacle. OK. Seriously now, I'm no Olympic gymnast no matter how many cocktails I've had but after I've had a few I like to think I have potential. Actually, not really. I just fall asleep.
One thing I don't normally do is use stretching as part of a warmup to a workover or running, although I might do it several hours prior to exercising and almost always after exercising.
Lately, I've been back to working in my office at a regular desk a couple hours out of the day and I've noticed I've been more tight in my shoulders. Instead of going out and buying another expensive piece of rubber (the black bed strap was part of a $20 pilates kit I bought years ago) I decided to make one myself I can use to stretch my arms, back, and shoulders.
Luckily, my husband is a bike whore. We have old mountain bike tires and punctured road bike tubes decorating the walls and floor of our garage. In fact, we could make bank in Japan converting all that rubber into those cheesy rubberized fake food displays. Yeah. We have a lot of rubber.
So here's what I did. It was super easy.
|1. Got myself an old bike tube.|
|2. Cut the stem out.|
|3. Cut open the tube along one fold.|
|4. You will have about a 3in. wide piece of rubber.|
|5. Tie a knot in it.|
Also, once I cut it I washed all the powder out of the inside. It was getting a little messy. I guess you can leave it unknotted and tie it permanently to whatever, but I plan on wrapping mine around a tree limb or my doorway pullup bar. Cutting the rubber so its open makes it more stretchable, but I guess you could just use the tire tube as is. Just be sure to tie it around something heavy that isn't going to move easily. The bed is a no-brainer.
|Black band tire tube.|
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