Stretching & Flexibility
How to Stretch and Flexibility
Before any workout you must stretch your body muscles and again, after you finish your workout, concluding with a varied stretching routine. This important routine helps with your flexibility and reduces the possibility of injury. Stretching is the basic way to improve health and fitness. By adding regular flexibility exercise programs into your life, you will:
- improve your circulation
- improve your range of motion
- improve your posture
- decrease the joint stiffness in your body
- decrease the muscle tension in your body
- improve your overall performance
- improve your ability to unwind and relax
- allot time for mental training of your brain using techniques like visualization.
You can incorporate a complete stretching routine in as little as 10 minutes. Your best stretching routine will occur after you have finish exercising, (focusing on the muscles used during the workout), because your muscles are at its warmest and you can focus on relaxation. The following are Stretching Techniques you should use:
- Be balance, stretching evenly the muscles on both sides of the body
- Don’t over do it to the point of pain and or discomfort in your body
- Breathing, make sure it is Deep, Easy, Even and Smooth, this is the key to relaxing
Here are some normal stretches you can use on a regular basis, mixing and matching, hold each stretch for at least 10 to 15 seconds and if you feel any pain while stretching, ease up and go a little easier and slow it down.
- Standing Quadriceps Stretch - Stand and hold onto a wall for balance if needed. Grab the top of the right foot and bend your knee, bringing the foot towards the buttocks, knee pointing straight at the floor. You should feel a stretch right down the front of your leg. You can squeeze your hips forward a little to feel it more in the hip flexors. Switch sides
- Chest and Shoulders - Sit or stand and clasp your hands together behind your back, arms straight. Lift your hands towards the ceiling, going only as high as is comfortable. You should feel a stretch in your shoulders and chest.
- Chest - Stand in a doorway and place your right forearm on the side of the doorway wall at chest level, elbow bent to 90 degrees. Slowly turn your body to the left. You should feel a nice stretch all through your chest. Switch sides
- Upper Back - Clasp your hands together in front of you and round your back towards the floor, pressing your arms away from your body to feel a stretch in your upper back.
- Biceps - Take your arms out to the sides, slightly behind you, with the thumbs up (as in The Fonz). Rotate your thumbs down and back until they are pointing to the back wall. You should feel a stretch in your biceps.
- Shoulders - Take right arm straight across your chest and curl the left hand around your elbow, gently pulling on the right arm to deepen the stretch in the shoulders. Switch sides.
- Side Stretch - Sitting or standing, clasp your hands straight up overhead, palms facing the ceiling. Gently lower to the right side until you feel a stretch down your left side. Switch sides and repeat.
- Triceps - Bend the left elbow behind your head and use the right hand to gently pull the left elbow in further until you feel a stretch in your tricep. Switch sides and repeat.
- Hip/Glute Stretch - Cross left foot over right knee. Clasp hands behind right thigh and gently pull the leg in towards you, keeping upper body relaxed. Switch Legs
- Hamstring Stretch - Lie on floor with knees bent. Straighten one leg and slowly pull it towards you, clasping the thigh, calf or ankle. Keep knee slightly bent. Switch legs.
- Inner Thigh Stretch - Sit on floor with feet pressed together. Keeping abs in, lean forward until you feel a gentle stretch in your inner thighs.
- Lunge Stretch - In lunge position, rest back knee on the floor, with front knee at 90 degree angle, abs in. Gently press forward until you feel a stretch in the front of the leg/hip. Switch legs.
- Kneeling Hamstring Stretch - From above lunge position, slowly move backward until leg is slightly bent. Bend forward at the hip, keeping back flat until you feel gentle pull in the back of the leg. Switch legs.
- Piriformis Stretch - Begin on the hands and knees and bring the left knee in, resting it on the floor between your hands (you should be on the outside of the knee). Straighten the right leg out behind you and, if you can, bend forward and rest the forearms on the floor.
- Knees to Chest - Lying on the floor, pull your knees into your chest and clasp your hands under your knees. Gently press your hips to the floor.
- Knee to Chest - From above position, straighten one leg and pull the other knee into your chest until you feel a stretch in your hip. Switch legs.
- Calf Stretch - On hands and knees, straighten your legs, but keep them slightly bent. Gently press one or both feet towards the floor, keeping back flat and abs in.
- Kneeling Calf Stretch - On hands and knees, bring the left foot in between the hands and gently press the knee forward while pressing the heel towards the floor.
- Spine Twist - Lying on the floor, place right foot on the left knee. Using your left hand, gently pull your right knee towards the floor, twisting your spine and keeping left arm straight out, hips and shoulders on the floor. Switch sides.
- Quad Stretch - Lie down on your side using elbow for balance. Using other arm, slowly pull your foot towards your glutes, keeping both knees together and bent knee pointing down. Switch legs.
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