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Door Sitting:

Leave the door on the hinges for this. Better close and lock it as well.

Place your back firmly against the door and bend your hips and knees to form a 90 degree angle. You should end up in the sitting position with the door supporting your back and your quads contracted tightly. You may be surprised how fast these muscles feel tired and sore in this position. Do not hold this position too long at first. Try a 30 second count and repeat later. You have to gradually adjust the sitting time and repetition rate to best suit your training.

Eccentric Squats:

Place your feet shoulder width apart. Flex at the hip so that the upper leg is about 30 degrees from vertical. ( A deep knee bend sets your upper leg 90 degrees to the vertical ). Go slowly to the 30 degree position and then rapidly straighten your hip to 0 Degree to the vertical. Repeat this little dip in sets of ten to suit your personal training scheme. Do not increase the set number or repetition rate too quickly.

Floor-sitting Toe Touch:

Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Some people, especially hurdlers, can make the back of the knee, the popliteal fossa, actually touch the floor in this position. Some can actually keep it touching the floor as they grab their toes and flex forward to touch their foreheads toward their kneecaps. When you first start this exercise for tight hamstrings you may find a huge gap between the floor and the back of your knee. The object of this exercise is to gradually reduce this gap while sitting and when touching the toes. You can do this over a period of time by gradually increasing the number of toe touches in each set and gradually increasing the number of sets.

Hurdler's Stretch:

This is a good way to hurt yourself if you are really stiff in the knee and hip joint. Better make sure you are comfortable with the floor-sitting toe touch before you push at this.

Sit on the floor. Place one leg straight out in front of you. Fully bend your other knee and rotate your other hip so that the upper leg is at right angles to the straight leg and the inside of the second knee is flat on the floor. This is the leg positioning of a hurdler as they jump the hurdle. I have recently seen a spectacular picture of a female champion hurdler taken front on that illustrates this leg positioning better than any words. I will attempt to get this for web. Anyway, when this is first tried the back of the straight knee and the butt can be well off the floor. The object of the stretch exercise is to get the back of the straight leg knee and both cheeks of the butt on  (close to) the floor. When getting into the position stops hurting you can grab the toe on the straight leg with both hands and bend forward at the waist to touch the forehead to the straight knee cap. Try to keep everything close to the floor. Repeat the procedure with the alternate leg straight and the previously straight leg flexed at the knee and hip. As with all exercises, progress the set number and repetition rate a lot slower than you wished you could do.

Cervical/ Lumbar Stretch Exercises:

The exercises are easy. Remembering to use them is the difficulty. They are meant to remind busy active people to relax their neck and low back muscles and to do gentle stretching of these muscles on a permanent and regular basis.

An example of an individual who needs them is the computer person who has been in a car accident that resulted in neck strain. Concentrating on a difficult problem on the computer screen results in holding the head in a fixed position for long periods. By the end of the working day they have a crashing headache and their neck and shoulder muscles are tight and painful.

The repetition schedule for these simple exercises is every 15 to 20 minutes. 

People sitting should stand up and look toward the ceiling twice, toward the floor twice , over the left and right shoulders twice each. They then should let the arms hang down and roll the shoulders backward and make a conscious effort to relax the neck muscles and trapezius muscles ( large muscles connecting the base of the neck to the shoulders ).

Two gentle pelvic tilts should be done to relax the low back muscles and briefly change the curvature in the lumbar area. Pelvic tilts are difficult to describe. Imagine a line drawn between the bony prominence at the hips (greater trochanter). Try to rotate the pubic bone upward with this line as the axis. If you put your hand over the lumbar curvature during this movement, you should feel the bones of the lumbar area pushing out against your hand as you rotate the pelvis upward. Do these tilts slowly and attempt to relax the muscles of the low back as you move.

This sequence of movements of the upper and lower spine takes about 20 seconds to complete. If done over the whole work day every 15 minutes, a fair number of isometric stretches will be done by the end of the day. The tenseness in the muscles of the neck and lower back should be reduced and hopefully a tension headache avoided. 

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