Please Read The Info Below - Before Beginning Any Stretching!
THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS SERVICE IS NOT INTENDED NOR IMPLIED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF YOUR PHYSICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTH PROVIDER PRIOR TO STARTING ANY NEW TREATMENT OR WITH ANY QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE REGARDING A MEDICAL CONDITION. NOTHING CONTAINED IN THE SERVICE IS INTENDED TO BE FOR MEDICAL DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT
Important Considerations For Safe Stretching
You can do a disservice to yourself when you stretch past the point of pain. We always say you should never hold a painful stretch. You should back off just to where it's not painful, and that's what you want to hold during the duration of the stretch.
The goal of routine stretching exercises is to improve flexibility. Flexibility, aerobic conditioning and strength training are the three broad objectives to focus on as you maintain your body for the rigours and enjoyment of sports. Proper stretching actually lengthens the muscle tissue, making it less "tight" and therefore less prone to trauma and tears. A stretching routine also feels good and can be a relaxing period of your day.
Don't Stretch These Rules
Everybody is different We aren't all gymnasts. Focus on maintaining adequate flexibility for your sports and activity level.
Start slowly Example: A ballet dancer begins slowly, with one hand on the bar, before beginning high kicks out on the floor.
Hold your stretch It takes time to lengthen tissue safely. Hold your stretches for 10 to 15 seconds, relax and repeat until no further stretch can be made.
Stretch 'heated' muscles Stretching a cold muscle can strain and irritate the tissue. Warm up first. Walk before you jog, jog before you run, etc. It's most beneficial to stretch after you exercise, when the muscle is heated by blood flow and is more accommodating of a stretch.
Do not bounce! Bouncing can cause micro trauma in the muscle, which must heal itself with scar tissue. The scar tissue tightens the muscle, making you less flexible and more prone to pain.
Think equality Strive for balance in flexibility on each side of your body. For example, if one hamstring is tighter than the other, you may be more prone to injury.
Don't be afraid to ask. A sports medicine specialist, athletic trainer, physical therapist, or health-club advisor may help improve your stretching technique.
The following diagrams illustrate some good stretches for the muscle groups often injured in sports.
Get down on your hands and knees. Slowly let your back sag toward the floor in order to get movement throughout your back and pelvis. Then slowly arch your back away from the floor.
Stand at arm's length from a wall with your palms flat against the wall. Slowly bend your elbows and lean toward the wall. Keep the involved leg back with the knee straight and the heel flat on the floor. Hold for 30 seconds.
Keep your back straight as you lie in a doorway. Raise one leg against the wall until you feel a gentle stretch behind your knee. Keep the leg on the floor straight, well-aligned with your back. Hold for 30 seconds. Switch legs.
Stand facing the wall. Place your free hand against the wall for support. Grasp the top of your right foot with your right hand and gently pull the heel toward your buttocks until you feel mild tension in your quadriceps muscle. Tighten your stomach muscles to keep your back from sagging inward. Do not lock the knee of your supporting leg and keep the leg you are stretching directly under you. Relax as you hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.
Hip Adductor Stretch (i)
Lie on your back on a firm surface with your hips and knees bent and feet flat. Gently let your knees fall apart, keeping the soles of your feet together until you feel an inner thigh stretch.
Sit on a firm surface and place the soles of your feet together forming a circle figure with your legs. Gently lean forward to feel an inner thigh stretch. For a stronger stretch, use your arms to gently push your knees toward the floor.
Hip Adductor Stretch (ii)
Hip Flexor Stretch
Lie on your back on a table or bed with your leg and hip as near the edge as possible. Pull your other thigh and knee firmly toward your chest until your lower back flattens against the table. Let your other leg hang in a relaxed position over the edge of the table or bed. Hold for 20 seconds. Switch legs and repeat.
Lower Back Stretches
Remember back stretches are important, but they are not your only method of protecting the back. Also focus on two other training objectives:
1. Strengthening of abdominal and back muscles.
2. Working on flexibility in your leg muscles as well as your back muscles. Tight hamstrings and hip flexors can distort the curve of your back, making you more prone to injury.
Lie on your back, cross your left ankle over your left knee and then pull your left knee toward your towards your right shoulder with both hands. Hold for 20 seconds. Return to starting position. Switch legs and repeat.
Lie on your back on a exercise mat or other firm even firm surface with your hips and knees bent and feet flat on the surface. Pull your left knee toward your shoulder with both hands. Hold for 30 seconds. Return to starting position. Pull your right knee toward your shoulder with both hands. Hold for 30 seconds. Return to starting position.
If your browser doesn’t open your email client, click here)
Classical Dressage Notebook