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Athletes & Explorers

Aug 25, 2018

Lynn Jung: Use Yoga to Prevent Injuries and Run Free

One of the world’s leading female Freerunners on how she uses yoga to stay competitive, and it applies to those that aren't jumping over a roof gap too.

WRITTEN BY

Lynn Jung

Lynn Jung will feature in an upcoming issue of The Outdoor Journal. You can make sure that you get your copy, here.

Passionate freerunners often suffer from tight muscles and rigid posture due to the repetitive stresses of training. Here’s how these simple asanas can help you prevent injuries and run free.

Lynn Jung is a Professional Parkour athlete and member of the London based Freerunning Team “Storm Freerun.” Lynn is one of the world’s leading female freerunners. Born and brought up in Luxembourg, Lynn moved to the UK in 2015 to pursue her passion for movement as a career. In 2016 Lynn won the Best Female award at Red Bull Art of Motion in Santorini, Greece.

Not all freerunners follow a regular stretching routine and for many the quests for strength and speed takes up most of their training. However, stretching and flexibility training have their place in Parkour.

Shoulder opening Asanas target muscle tightness in the chest and upper back. Stretching your chest, back and deltoids counteracts bad posture caused by muscle imbalances and tightness. Freerunners often struggle with tight pecs and a rounded back due to repetitive pulling motions during their training.

For those who have not yet attempted to jump over a roof gap or land a precision kong, these yoga moves can help reverse the negative impact of office stresses as well, such as extensive time seated at one’s desk.

Shoulder Opening Yoga Poses

1. Reverse Prayer or Pashchima Namaskarasana

Sit or stand up comfortably, float your arms down to either side of your body and, bending your elbows, reach your arms behind your back. Press your palms together in a prayer position on your spine and reach your hands as high up your spine as possible. Hold for five deep breaths. As an alternative to the fingers or palms touching at the back, the wrists or elbows can be grabbed.

2. Thread the Needle or Parsva Balasana

Come to the floor on your hands and knees. Bring your hips over your knees, and your palms directly under your shoulders with your fingers facing forward. Reach your left arm up to the ceiling and on your exhale thread it under your right arm, bringing your left shoulder to the mat. Rest your head on the mat and keep your hips lifted. Walk your right hand over to the right, and on your exhale, press through the right palm to open the chest towards the ceiling. Lengthen the right side of the torso while twisting your spine. Experiment with different arm positions to deepen the stretch and move around in the pose until you find the release that you need. Make sure to maintain focus on your breathing.

This Asana gently compresses the muscles of your upper chest, opens the upper and outer muscles of your shoulders and releases tension in your neck and upper back.

Muscles Stretched
Upper Trapezius, Levator Scapulae, Rhomboids, Back of Neck, Spinal Erectors

3. Prone Lying Pec Stretch

Lie face down and place your right arm out to the side at shoulder height with your elbow bent, your palm facing down on the floor and your fingers spread apart. Turn your right ear to the floor and, by pressing your left palm down, roll your body to the right side. At the full pose you may have your left knee bent, with your left foot resting behind your right thigh. Increase the stretch by lifting your left arm to the ceiling, then drape the arm behind your back. Allow the side of the head to rest on the floor. Remain here for a few minutes then repeat on the other side.

Muscles Stretched
Pectoralis major and minor

4. Wide Leg Forward Fold with Clasp or Prasarita Padotanasana C

Start in a wide-legged stance and interlace your fingers behind your back. Inhale, squeeze your shoulder-blades and on your exhale, fold your body forward from the base of your spine, keeping your weight on your heels. Bring your hands up and over your head as far as possible. Push your stomach towards your thighs, lengthen your spine and gently release your neck. Stay here for at least 5 deep breaths. Release your hands to your hips and breathe in deeply as you lift back up to stand.

Quads and Hip Flexor Stretches

Here is why every freerunner should look after their hip flexors. Besides causing bad posture and lower back pain, tightness in the hip flexors also reduces our ability to explosively extend the hip, thereby reducing our vertical jump.

5. Low Crescent Lunge with Quad Stretch or Anjaneyasana

Start in a lunge position and lower your back knee to the floor into a crescent lunge. Let your hips settle down and forward and lift your pubic bone toward your navel. If this stretch is enough for you, stay here, or you can inhale and lift your torso. As you do, place your left hand on the outside of your right leg, bend your left knee bringing your left heel towards your bottom, and reach back to grab your foot with your right hand. Press firmly through your entire left hand and gaze toward the right, feeling the stretch deeper. Release the foot back behind you.

Variation

Staying in the low lunge position, place your left had on the floor and gently guide the right hip open with your right hand. Let your right foot roll over slightly. From here, feel free to bend your left knee and reach around with your right hand for your foot. This allows for a deep quadricep stretch with an even deeper opening of the hip. Hold for five breaths.

6. Lizard Pose or Utthan Pristhasana

This Asana is all about opening up the hips and groin. From a high lunge position, sink deeply into your hips and lower your forearms to the ground on the inside of your leading knee. Feel free to place your forearms onto blocks if you cannot comfortably bring them to your mat. Now lower your back knee to the floor. Lengthen your spine. If you can, lift your elbows off the floor and reach forwards with your hands. Stay here for five breaths.

The Outdoor Journal teamed up with Lynn at Yogaloft in her hometown of Luxembourg. Yogaloft is a boutique yoga studio with two locations in Kirchberg and Merl offering over 55 weekly yoga classes everyday for all levels in Vinyasa Flow, Iyengar, Jivamukti, Ashtanga, Mindfulness, Kundalini, Meditation and more! To learn more, visit www.yogaloft.lu.

Stay tuned to The Outdoor Journal for more collaborations with Lynn. To follow her Freerunning activities, check out www.stormfreerun.com and www.lynnjung.net

All Images © The Outdoor Journal

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How-To

Jun 24, 2019

Dealing With Dietary Restrictions In The Backcountry.

Gluten intolerance, vegan, Halal, nut allergy, dairy-free, Kosher… whatever your dietary restrictions may be, you don’t have to let it hinder your ability to get out and enjoy the backcountry!

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WRITTEN BY

Brooke Hess

We spoke with expedition whitewater kayaker, Ben Stookesbury, about his experience of maintaining a vegan diet on long kayaking expeditions. As a guy that needs to hike to remote rivers, nutrition, to maintain endurance is key. As Ben’s puts it “I began going after rivers that had not yet been explored, and quickly realized the endurance component of carrying a heavy kayak – sometimes days into a wild river or around unrunnable stretches of river – was the key to the mission”.

Read Next: Adventuring On A Plant-Based Diet With Ben Stookesbury

We took Ben’s advice and put together some tips for dealing with your dietary restrictions in the backcountry.

Photo: Brooke Hess

Preparation is Key

It’s easy to head to REI and buy the pre-made freeze-dried backpacker meals. They are easy to prepare, lightweight, and a quick cleanup. The cons? They are expensive, kinda gross, and most likely don’t comply with your food intolerances or restrictions! So, instead of doing that, just prepare your own meals!

Plan your meals ahead of time, so you know exactly what ingredients to shop for before you go on your trip. Crack a bunch of eggs into a nalgene for scrambled egg dinners. Portion out oatmeal, nuts, dried fruits, and chocolate chips into a ziplock for breakfasts. Make your own granola bars, jerkey, and bread for sandwiches. Know exactly what food you will eat for each meal while you are in the backcountry, and prep it accordingly.

For Stookesbury, planning and preparing his meals before a long trip “takes some focus and forethought… but it feels quite empowering to be so much more cognizant of what I am putting in my body, and obviously there is simply no longer the need to eat much of anything that has all those nasty preservatives.”

Go With Good People

Unfortunately, some people are not as accommodating of food restrictions of others. I can’t say why, but some people think of food restrictions as “picky eating” and “high maintenance”, rather than a serious medical need or a spiritual belief. The fact that you may get seriously sick from eating gluten, or go into anaphylactic shock from your food being near peanut butter might not quite register on their radar. It doesn’t mean they are a bad people, but it might mean you avoid going on long backcountry trips with them in the future.

Alternatively, there are many people out there who are WONDERFUL to plan trips with. They will go out of their way to make sure you have the food you need, and will often sacrifice their own meal plan in order to include you in the group cooking. These people are the best, and you should keep them in your contacts for future backcountry trips. Sharing food and coordinating meals with the group will save both time and weight while carrying food into the backcountry, so going with good people who don’t mind accommodating your dietary needs is key!

Photo: Brooke Hess

Make Time For Three Full Meals A Day

No NOLS-style meal plans here. Stookesbury says one of the most important parts of expeditioning is “planning the time to eat three tasty meals a day.”

Give yourself enough time in the morning to cook up a hot breakfast. Plan a one hour stop mid-day to prepare a sandwich or wrap for lunch. Give yourself enough time in the evening at camp to cook a meal of veggies, protein, and carbs. Without the ease of the freeze-dried backpacker meals, you will have to put more time into your meal prep. But don’t worry, you’ll be happy you did when you are eating a freshly-prepared meal of roasted veggies and quinoa!

SNACKS SNACKS SNACKS!

Find a bar that works for you. And if you can’t – make your own!

I have spent the past year searching for the best gluten free and dairy free bars. I want the maximum amount of calories and protein, in the smallest possible package. As soon as I found one I liked, I ordered it in bulk on Amazon. I now have a stash of 50+ energy bars in my truck ready to be packed into a drybag, backpack, or ski jacket as soon as the need arises.

If you can’t find one that works with your diet, or can’t find one that you like – make your own! Any combination of dried fruits, nuts, oats, honey, and dark chocolate can make a damn good energy bar. You can find recipes online for homemade bars, then substitute various ingredients to make it work with your diet.

Stookesbury prefers the trail mix method to energy bars. “Nuts, dried fruit, and vegan chocolate is my personal substitute for an energy bar, and I call it a homemade energy bag! Keeping that ‘Power Bag’ of nuts, dried fruit, and some quality chocolate is a good way to keep your energy up and make snacking easy.”

Other popular snacking favorites include jerky, chocolate-covered almonds, cheese sticks (if you can eat dairy), and nut butters.

Photo: Brooke Hess

Be Prepared To Carry More Weight If Needed

I recently met a woman who has developed a severe allergy to all red meat, due to a bite from a Lone Star Tick. If she eats beef, pork, lamb, or any other red meat, she goes into anaphylactic shock. Even if her food is cooked in the same cast iron pan that has recently been in contact with red meat, she could go into anaphylactic shock. For these reasons, whenever she embarks on a backcountry expedition, she brings all her own cookware (and an EpiPen, just in case). She has learned to be adamant about her dietary needs on trips, and often prepares her food separate from the group. She is well aware that her food restrictions might force her to carry more weight than other members in her group, but that hasn’t stopped her from continuing her pursuit of overnight expeditions!

Photo: Brooke Hess

Examples of Day-Long Meal Plans for Various Diets:

Stookesbury’s Favorite Backcountry Vegan Meal Plan

Breakfast -150g oats, chia, flax, pumpkin seeds, hemphearts, raisins and walnuts (add a little salt).

Snack – Powerbag (nuts, dried fruit, vegan chocolate)

Lunch – Hummus, veg (arugula, beet, carrot, avo) sandwich

Dinner – 150g Rice, lentils, broccoli, onion, garlic, with or without nuts, salt, and olive oil.

 

TOJ’s Favorite Backcountry Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Meal Plan

Breakfast – Pre-cut kale scrambled with eggs, avocado, and vegan “cheese”

Snack – Bobo’s gluten free oat bars, apple, and dairy-free dark chocolate peanut butter cups

Lunch – Gluten free tortillas with peanut butter and jelly

Dinner – Roasted root veggies (sweet potato, beets, carrots, potato), kale, and quinoa, topped with avocado and vegan “cheese” if preferred.

Photo: Brooke Hess

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