Welcome to week two of the Eternal Optimist. My name is Mitch “Magikarp” Gross and welcome if this is your first read – thanks for coming back if you enjoyed the first week. Last week, we covered my background in gaming, and a mistake that I made when I was a young grinder thinking I’d be playing at MTG Worlds some day. I let my physical as well mental well being slip and learned a ton. Now that I’m 29 and a competitive gamer for Team Rankstar, I want to share with you the skills that I have learned and am currently working on to be able to game healthfully for a long time.
Call to Action:
As we all know, the new expansion is here, and it’s great. I’ve played probably a little too much Eternal the last week, as many reading probably have. I’ve had so much fun brewing constructed, improving at limited, and even just mindlessly hitting up Gauntlet and Forge while watching Netflix. One thing that I haven’t done is forget about taking care of my body with a few easy stretches before gaming for long hours. As I had mentioned before in my last article, I’m going to be throwing out a couple tools per week that I have found to help me. This week, we’re going to look at my two favorite stretches, the S-Stretch and the Child’s Pose.
I asked one of my friends and personal trainer, Jordan (who also sponsors my stream) to go through these stretches. He is a fully certified personal trainer who has trained people with little to no training experience all the way up to perspective NFL players. His knowledge has been amazing to have at hand and we hope that his guest blogs with provide you a little bit of a starting point. Jordan has provided extensive photos as well as an explanation to help that “nerd back” of yours stretch out and maybe provide a little bit of relief for those long gaming sessions. I have experienced extreme lower back tightness from sitting in a gaming chair as well as upper back tightness from slouching in that chair. These two stretches I do on a daily basis and they have helped my pain immensely:
“First things first, if your not willing to perform stretches ACTIVELY and with good posture then don’t bother. This is a huge part about stretching that many ignore. Don’t pose through the stretch!
Two, make the stretch the work for you. We all possess different mobility and flexibility. Yes, I am a trainer, and yes, I can perform a lot of these stretches at their full range of motion, but please do what makes you feel comfortable. In fact, lets start with a stretch for the upper back that I have included a regression (a way to make it easier) with.”
Start with knees down on a pillow, a pad, or a folded up blanket. Next, set up on all fours, knees under your hips and hands under your shoulders. Now, using your hands, push your hips back towards hips. Next, walk your hands forward for the desired stretch.
Regression: If this is too uncomfortable, grab pillow or rolled up blanket and place it behind your knees. This way you’ll have some sit on as you push back into the starting position. Walk your hands out again to the desired stretch.
I like to stretch using big long breaths opposed to keeping time. This forces me to slow down, appreciate the stretch, and not pray for it to be over. Hold your Child’s Pose for about 3-4 breaths. Each breath should be about 5 seconds, starting with a deep inhale through your nose, into your stomach, and an exhale from your mouth through pursed lips.
What an incredible stretch for taking a break from anything. To start, sit on the floor, ideally on a carpet, a yoga mat, or a blanket or towel. This will give you a bit of purchase while being active with the stretch and prevent you from sliding around. Next bring your front leg forward, and position your leg at a 90 degree angle, then position your back leg in the opposite direction while also maintaining a 90 degree angle.
At this point you may have noticed that you are missing some external rotation (your hips ability to rotate your leg out, away from you). THIS IS OK. I’m an absolute frog when it comes to external rotation, but heres the catch, I have very little external rotation (my hips ability to rotate my leg inward, towards my body).
Regression: If its more comfortable for you, grab a pillow or rolled up blanket and fill in the the space between your front leg and the floor. Press your knee and ankle into your support to trigger the stretch.
If you don’t need to regress the front leg, simply push the leg into the floor, maintaining, a neutral, upright posture (big chest, shoulders pulled back, no slouching). After performing 3-4 long breaths, place your arms behind you to perform the stretch for your internal rotation muscles. Again be active with leg, pressing the knee and ankle towards the floor.
I hope this intro gave you a new perspective on things! Feel free to contact me with any questions that you have for Jordan and I can get you in contact with him. Alternatively, feel free to check out his website, hammerheartsc.com .
Jordan is a gamer like us so he knows the issues first hand. Having him as a friend and resource has been vital in improving my life behind a PC desk.
Also, be sure to check out our sponsor, InkedGaming.com
Mitch “Magikarp” Gross
Use the code “TRS12” to get 12% off your order at InkedGaming.com and support Team Rankstar directly!