De-Gollumify Yourself on Long Road Trips

I'm currently down in Oregon in search of wind and/or surf and have been logging many hours in a somewhat turtle-ey position while driving large distances in my car (yes, I feel some shame for a Mordor-sized carbon footprint). Being a lanky type of person, I sometimes struggle to sit upright in most vehicles without scrubbing my head into the headliner with my face cocked to the side like a driving wraith or zombie. For me driving position ends up being a series of compromises, and I simply resign myself to "undoing" the postural damage later.

A couple of ten hour drives will do interesting things to your posture: your head starts migrating forward, the muscles in your butt and legs shut down, and your chest gets tight. Stepping out of the car following one of these marathon stints, it's tough not to feel a little like Gollum; slumped forward, bleary-eyed, and muttering softly to myself from lack of social interaction. My hip flexors, from being in a shortened position, protest as I re-adopt an upright, human shape, and my chest's vice-like grip on my shoulders plays tug of war with the fatigued muscles of my upper back/tortoise shell.

So what's the fix besides buying a Pope mobile with extra headroom? Lacross balls and a hollow grid roller. I spend about 15 minutes "parked" on the ground (bridge position, supine, head supported in hands) over the grid roller with the roller positioned at right angles to my spine and at the level of my shoulder blades. I spend 2 minutes or so at each stiff/stuck level until the movement in my ribs and mid back returns to a non-turtle shell quality of movement. I breathe deeply in this position and work gently into upper/mid back extension and back to neutral, while keeping my low back in a neutral position (glutes engaged, tummy switched on, natural low back curve maintained). I combine some arm-to overhead movements while breathing deeply with the roller pressure centered on one spinal joint until things free up. 2 lacross balls taped together gives an added level of intensity/mobilisation when used in a similar way. I lie over the balls in supine, knees drawn up, feet flat on ground, arms at ninety degrees, palms up and BREATHE. And BREATHE. And then more breathing. Slow, deep, full breaths until normal, free movement returns

Then it's time to de-gollum the hip flexors. Essentially I assume a deep lunge position, squeeze the glutes to set the spine/pelvis, and drop the pelvis down towards the ground feeling a solid stretch in the groin. I try to position the rear shin vertically (against a wall, bench, or seat) so that my knee is bent almost fully and my heel is close to my butt to score extra points for being efficient and hitting the quads at the same time. I then stand up and feel much more free in my hips, back, and shoulders. It takes only 15 minutes and I feel brand new until the next marathon driving stint.

Forecast is calling for 8' at 16 seconds with 30 knots side-off. Gotta get back in the car and drive South. Only 8 hrs to go. My preciousssssssssssss...........


- Christopher Curran, RMT

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