Category Archives: Massage stretches and Foam Rolling

Facial Massage Routine

061616_facemassage_leadTime: 14 minutes
Areas worked: Face
Equipment needed: Face oil

I’ve mentioned this before, but years ago when I got a massage which included facial massage I was really impressed by how plumped up and how much younger my skin looked and since then I wanted to emulate that on myself. I’ve struggled to find anywhere that does facial massages locally, apart from ones that offer a head massage and a bit of acupressure but not the same thing. Alternatively there’s the option of getting a facial but apart from the face gym in London there’s nothing that really spends enough attention massaging the skin. I’ve had a look for DVDs on facial massage but I haven’t found any so far. The closest thing to it is my Eva Fraser DVD which includes some skin tapping but the majority of the DVD is exercising the facial muscles rather then massaging. This isn’t a bad thing, but I think I need to include both into my routine. So I was really pleased when I came across Lisa Eldridge’s facial massage routine video. I love her makeup tutorials, she’s been in the biz for a long time and you can see her work on th covers of Vogue and on celebrities such as Cara Delevinge, Kate Winslet and Kim Kardashian West. She also features celebrities in her makeup tutorials such as Yasmin Le Bon, Sophie Dahl and Alexa Chung.

I really like this facial massage routine video; it’s easy to follow, introduces you to lots of different techniques and is a nice length and you don’t need to purchase any fancy oils to do it. I used Sukin’s BioNatural Skin Oil as I’m a fan of their products because they don’t test on animals and they don’t contain any nasties. Even doing this massage on yourself is pretty relaxing. I haven’t noticed any immediate physical results so far from doing it, but I’m sure it’s beneficial either way.

Tried and Tested: Sports Massage

sports-massage-back-of-leg-1200x800I normally get Thai massages about once a week because they’re lovely and relaxing, use hard pressure and I love the stretching element as well, it feels much less passive then most massages. I’ve been away from home for a while and I’ve had pain in my left erector spinae for the past few days so I’ve been desperate to get a massage. Unfortunately Thai massages aren’t offered where I’m staying so I decide the next best thing would be to try out a sports massage.

I’ve never had a sports massage before, I’ve heard the horror stories about them being incredibly painful but I was up for a challenge.

The massage was really good and I was impressed that the therapist could zero in on the areas where there were a lot of knots, so it was much more of a tailored massage than the ones I’m used to. Also she was able to tell me what was likely to be causing the knots- the erector spinae pain was from slouching a lot, which unfortunately I do a lot of; I’m doing it right now! I must invest in an ergonomic set up. I also had knots in my thighs which were from the powerful poses I’ve been doing recently in yoga. I didn’t have many other knots, I’m sure if I had gone when I was able do lots of cardio and legs exercises this would’ve been a different story.

The massage was totally not scary or painful, in fact the Thai massages I’ve been having have involved more pressure. However later on in the day I really ached in the areas that she’d focused on and the pain continued the following day. She may have decreased the size of my knots but was being sore for over 24 hours afterwards worth it? I’m trying to decide. Has anyone had a sports massage what are your thoughts on it? Whatever the case it’s definitely not something to get to relax you.

On the plus side, the sports therapist was full of lots of useful information, including how the presence of fascia means that when we massage one muscle we can feel it in a different part of the body and this is why acupuncture works. I had always assumed that acupuncture was pseudo science but as top athletes such as Rebecca Adlington have it and now hearing about it from this sports therapist I’m feeling more open to it. Perhaps I’ll try it for my chronic pain symptoms.

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As the therapist mentioned fascia I of course asked her about the fascia blaster but she unfortunately didn’t have any information about it. We also talked about taping the muscles and I asked whether taping the face (you can buy tape specifically to do this called Frownies) to move the muscles to diminish wrinkles would work and she confirmed that yes it would, so I’m going to try them out.

I asked her how often I should get sports massages and she recommended for me they should be about once a month.

I don’t think I’m ready to give up Thai massages as they’re so relaxing but I will think about including sports massages into my routine

Slimming and Anti Cellulite Massage

Tracy Anderson Warm Ups

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A lot of Tracy Anderson’s routines don’t include a warm up so here is a list of where you can find all of Tracy Anderson’s (and some other) warm ups so you can add them to the beginning of your workout. I’ve also included how long each warm up takes so you can factor this into your workout time.

More than Mat Pilates 10 minutes

Tracy Anderson The Method for Beginners Workout 2 8 minutes

Tracy Anderson Mat Workout for Beginners Full Body Beginner 8 minutes

TA Mat workout 5 minutes

Basic abs for dummies 5 minutes

Tracy Anderson Dance Cardio 5 minutes

Beginner Dance Cardio 4 minutes

Teen Meta Level 2 4 minutes

Teen Meta Level 3 4 minutes

Perfect Design 1 4 minutes

Perfect Design 2 4 minutes

Perfect Design 3 4 minutes

Tracy Anderson Mat Workout for Beginners Full Body Intermediate 4 minutes

30 Day Method warm up moves found in the book. 4 minutes

Teen Meta Level 1 3 minutes

Hollywood Workout Shoulders and Triceps 2 minutes

Tracy Anderson JLo’s Venus Routine 1 minute

Tracy Anderson Dr Oz Show Fitness Myths 1 minute

Tracy Anderson Dr Oz Workout 1 minute

Tracy Anderson Hamptons 1 minute

Tracy Anderson Japan Duck 1 minute

Tracy Anderson The Method for Beginners Workout 1  1 minute

Tracy Anderson Nicole Richie Webisode 1 minute

Hollywood workout Chest & legs 1 minute

Hollywood workout Back biceps & legs 1 minute

Every Single Tracy Anderson Muscular Structure Workout

 

Stacey Nemour’s Secrets of Splits and Flexibility 1

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Time: 58 minutes (although this is increased if you want to hold a stretch for longer which Stacey encourages)
Areas worked: Legs
Equipment needed: Yoga strap (I used a resistance band), ankle weights, a chair, a wall and someone to help you

In terms of flexibility I am pretty flexible, however where I fall back is the flexibility in my calves as I’m unable to get my feet flat on the floor while doing downward facing dog and I’ve never ever been able to do the splits and I’ve really really wanted to!

Previous attempts at getting flexible enough to do the splits have included:

  • Doing splits stretches twice daily that I found online- this did actually help me get closer to the splits but I ended up getting out of the routine before I managed the splits completely.
  • Buying “Der Grosse Spagat” DVD- a German DVD guiding you into doing the splits. This was the only splits dvd available that I could find online at the time. It wasn’t a very user friendly DVD as it was low quality, translated from German and was aimed at people in the martial arts, consequently I did occasionally do this DVD but I never really got into it.

I first heard about Stacey’s DVD through a facebook group so decided to do a bit of research by browsing Stacey’s website and checking out her online videos. I also asked Stacey a couple of questions on her facebook page including some advice about improving the flexibility in my calves and she got back to me quickly and seemed very helpful and genuine so I decided to purchase this DVD.

Before trying the DVD out I tried some of her knee exercises that I found online and I’ve found they’ve definitely helped ease the pain that I get in my knees sometimes so I now do these on a daily basis.

From doing this DVD I can tell you that Stacey is lovely! Very warm, smily, zen and ultra gorgeous- but she’s so nice it’s not intimidating. She reminds me of Raquel Welsh but still seems very approachable and open.

I did the DVD the for the first time this evening. Yesterday I did a particularly gruelling workout which has been haunting me all day- I literally ached everywhere and had difficulty walking up and downstairs and going from standing up to sitting down and vise versa, so my thinking was that with that much muscle tenderness in my body I should really feel the effects of the DVD. Miraculously the first few quad exercises really sorted the pain that I had been experiencing out in that area, that my previous stretching attempts had failed to get rid of.

The stretches progress in difficulty and a few of them you’ll definitely be familiar with. Although the final few exercises were REALLY hard, I found most of the exercises to be pretty easy which is comforting, hopefully that means I wont have far to go until I master those elusive splits!

Stacey’s approach to becoming more flexible isn’t just about stretching, she also works on exhausting the muscles so it’s easier to release them into a stretch- this is what she uses the ankle weights are for. Stacey advises using 5lb ankle weights but I’m just sticking to 1lb weights for the time being (Tracy Anderson has brainwashed me!)

Stacey wears trainers for the DVD but as my trainers are quite big (Nike air max) it’s actually easier without wearing them.

As you get towards the end of the DVD you know you’re nearing that terrifying (and potentially painful!) moment where you have to get into the splits, which is pretty daunting, but I’m trying not be too intimidated by it from now on as Stacey encourages positive thinking and visualisation to get your goals.

Lying in bed now having completed the DVD I feel more stretched in areas than I ever have before and feel like my legs are floating!

I would definitely recommend this DVD; I normally do pilates, yoga, or the Tracy Anderson Method so it’s nice to have a break and do something different that is purely stretching and reaching you towards a flexibility goal.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress and let you know if I ever manage that wondrous moment of achieving the splits!

Update!

Here’s some progress pics from just before I did the DVD for the first time and my 10th attempt with the DVD. I’ve learnt that being in a warm room definitely helps.

splits splits1 splits3splits2splits4

 

Up until now I had been doing the DVD about once every 6 days, so from now on I will try and do it every day.

Every Single Tracy Anderson Muscular Structure Workout

Foam rolling routine

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My friend Dawn introduced me to this helpful foam rolling video! It’s great because it covers all areas of your body (11 different areas) and lets you know the basic dos and don’ts of foam rolling- don’t roll over a joint or on your lower back or stomach.

All the moves seem pretty good- the IT band stretch is pretty painful- but supposedly in a good way?! I literally thought I was going to cry when I did it especially with the pressure points on my foam roller. For the inner thigh move I didn’t feel anything at all- I think this may be down to Tracy Anderson not really overworking the inner thigh muscles. The upper back section feels AMAZING, I literally could just lie there rolling it for ages!

You can foam roll every day if you like there’s no such thing as over foam rolling! And it’s probably a good thing to do every day that you exercise

I timed myself doing this and it took 24 minutes- obviously you can spend as much time as you like on each area.

Tracy Anderson Warm Ups

Foam roller

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I almost always suffer from shin splints and knee problems and stretching doesn’t really seem to do enough to help it. A few people had mentioned foam rolling to me which sounded like an odd thing to do- but it’s basically like giving yourself a deep tissue massage using the weight of your body on the roller to add the pressure and it should hopefully work by ironing out all the knots in your muscles that which inevitably appear especially if you have been exercising. When you’re feeling achey not only is it unpleasant but you’re less inclined to exercise and what I didn’t realise is that if you get rid of the knots it can actually help you work your muscles more effectively when you are exercising- wow!

So I did some research and it’s best to invest a little bit more and buy a foam roller which is harder as it will last longer and is more likely to get to the knots. A PVC roller is harder then a foam roller but I couldn’t work out where to get one from so bought the hardest foam roller I could find which is the trigger point grid roller which has lots of grooves in it to imitate knuckles. I road tested it and it seems to be doing the job!

How to get rid of shin splints

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Shin splints are the bane of my exercise life! It’s difficult enough to find the time and motivation to exercise so when injuries get in the way it’s really frustrating. I started getting shin splints when I began running when I was at uni and now they come back to haunt me regularly when I do dance cardio. I’ve tried a knee support as the pain sometimes spreads there and I always stretch however I found that the stretches in this video helped a lot more and gives almost instant relief. I’m going to buy a foam roller as well to see if that helps.

Check out the video here