Simple but Important StretchesPosted on December 5th, 2011 1 comment
Every time I go to a race I see people doing static stretches right before the start. Most of them are bending over and bouncing up and down as they try to stretch out the morning tightness they feel. Although many of us were taught in gym class that this was the right thing to do, its not the best way or time to stretch.
Coach Greg did a great job of showing our Coach to 5K group how to warm up muscles with Dynamic warm ups last week. The important thing is to warm up muscles with movement and to stretch warmed up muscles for flexibility.
Flexibility is key to limiting injuries. The more flexible you are the less tight you are, the less tight you are the less likely you are to have an injury.
After a nice warm up or after a run its a perfect time to work on flexibility. I showed our group these basic stretches to get them into the habit of stretching after each workout:
- Standing Hamstring Stretch: Bend forward keeping the head up and reach toward your toes. Straighten the legs and hold this position for 10-15 seconds (no bouncing)
- Standing Hamstring Stretch (crossed legs): This is just a modified standing hamstring stretch with crossed legs. Alternate each leg 10-15 seconds (no bouncing). You may not be able to reach your toes, but ultimately this is your goal.
- Standing Hip and Lower Back Stretch: Spread your legs shoulder width apart. Gently, reach down to the middle. This is a relaxed position and your weight should do the stretching for you (10-15 seconds). Move to the right (hold); then back to the middle; then to the left (hold); and back to the middle. Gently go back up (no bouncing).
- Standing Calf Stretch: One of the most important muscles to keep flexible (in regards to injury prevention) is the calf muscle. There are several variations of this stretch. Extend one leg in front of the other. Bend your front leg while keeping the back leg straight. Place your hands on your front bent leg and lower your body until you feel the stretch in your back calf muscle (10-15 seconds – no bouncing).
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