A to Z: Cat stretch, child’s pose, calf stretch, chin to chest stretches, crunches, clam, calf raises, and calves-SMR

(An A to Z Challenge entry)


While “C” is posted on Monday, April 4, I completed my workout and writing on Sunday night to share for Monday. 

Day three brings me to “C” and while it looks like a super mighty list, several of these are stretches that started and ended my work out today. Taking a break on my arms from “B”, we return to the abs and bring the burn to the legs.  My rotation included:

Five minutes of stretches, including: Cat stretches, child’s pose, calf stretches, and chin to chest stretches.

17 minutes of toning in repetitions of 40: crunches, left leg clams, crunches, right leg clams, and calf raises. Grand totals = 160 crunches, 120 of both leg clams and calf raises.

8 minutes of stretches (same as above) plus calves-SMR.

Let’s see how it all worked out!


All of these stretches I have done before, so they are nothing new to me, and I am not sure I need to spend any time explaining these as they are fairly self-explanatory. The only one that some may not know is the child’s pose (a popular yoga stance). With these stretches, I covered my back, neck, and legs — a great primer for my toning and an excellent cool down!


I decided I better return to my abs after a day break — keep that nice warm soreness going in my belly. These went pretty well, I could really #feelthebern, usually around repetition 30 each time and were a nice break in between my clams. I know I will be doing many more crunches in the future, as this is a pretty standard abdominal exercise.


I first learned clams while taking a strength and balance class several years ago. I knew I would feel these immediately. In case you aren’t familiar, bodybuilding.com provides an excellent instruction:


Talk about feeling the burn! These work your hip abductors, or the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus (the muscles that connect your hips to your legs). Right away I could feel my left side at around repetition 10. With round 2 and 3, it got stronger but still could tell those muscles on my left side are way weaker than my right. I know these are good for me but man do they burn!

Calf raises

Learning these way back in my soccer days, I revisited these during that same strength and balance class. Also knew these are good to do but can be painful. For each round of these, I was doing pretty good until I hit repetition 30 aaaaaand then I had to push myself through until 40. I am very glad that I also did calf stretches before and after these, as I hope it will help with the tenderness tomorrow.


Calves-SMR was the only stretching exercise that was completely new to me. I became familiar with these types of stretches from a friend — who told me how using a foam roller has really helped loosen her tense muscles. So in preparation for the challenge, I ordered a foam roller off Amazon last week. Here is a photo for your visualization from bodybuilder.com:


You roll your calves on the roller until you find areas of tenderness and soreness and then you hold there for 10-30 seconds. It is meant to simulate a pressure point massage to help stretch tight muscles. Eventually once I gain more strength, I can do more of how it is pictured above, which adds in a level of strength and balance. But for tonight’s purposes, I used it mostly to stretch and relieve my tender calves, especially after all of those calf raises!

Final Verdict

I felt like I got some awesome toning in today! I anticipate that I will return to all of these workouts in come capacity in the future and look forward to being able to do more repetitions as I get stronger and stronger.

Health point challenge: Success!

What are some of your favorite “C” and/or toning exercises? Have you ever worked with a foam roller before? If so, how do you use it? Feel free to share your comments below!

Posted in A to Z Challenge, Fitness, Goals, Health
6 comments on “A to Z: Cat stretch, child’s pose, calf stretch, chin to chest stretches, crunches, clam, calf raises, and calves-SMR
  1. dyannedillon says:

    That clam thing hurts so good, doesn’t it?

  2. Ida says:

    kborman what a list and thanks – I feel like I’ve found a gold mine of information and inspiration here. I’m doing a fitness theme for the challenge this year too. I look forward to checking out your ABC and D tomorrow… I’ll be adding clams to my strength and toning class this weekend.
    Reflex Reactions

  3. Jak says:

    Hmm I can’t help but to think that you should likely be doing stretches before and after each of these daily physical challenges… just saying!

    I would definitely prefer the stretching to the actual working out, but I enjoy calf building exercises. I also like crunches, but I generally use the ab roller. Nooooooot sure about the clams, but they seem familiar to me? Not sure why they would.

    My favorite “C” would maybe be Cycling? Would that count for an exercise bike?!

  4. […] initially did it with the foam roller that I bought and used in calves-smr, and while it felt like a massage on my feet, the curve of the […]

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