4 Top Benefits of stretching
- Reduces muscle tension and helps relaxation, through improved circulation and oxygen exchange.
- It improves ease of movement, which in turn helps improve coordination through the range.
- Injury prevention, begin more supple, helps your body adapt to loads.
- It helps produce smooth muscle contraction.
And because of the above, it helps decrease soreness post-run.
- Stretch a joint through limits of the normal range, do not force
- Mild soreness should take no longer than 24 hours to resolve after stretching. If more recovery time was necessary the stretching force was excessive.
- If stretching is new to your body, we’d suggest 10-15 seconds initially and gradually increases to 45-60 seconds over 4-5 weeks.
Breathing, inhale through the nose and exhale through pursed lips during a stretch. You may wish to close your eyes to increase concentration and awareness during the lying stretches.
Standing Calf Stretch
- Stand with feet hip-width apart
- Place the stretching leg behind
- Place your feet, knees, and hips straight forward.
- Lean forward keeping both heels on grounded to feel stretch in the calf
Flexed calf walkout
- Walk hands onto the floor
- Push hips as high as you feel comfortable.
- Walk on the spot alternating dropping the heel to the ground to stretch the calf muscles
- Roll through your whole foot
- Adaptation – hands on a higher surface
- Lying on your side
- Bend you bottom knee up to keep your back flat.
- Reach behind to grab hold the ankle of the top leg and pull it back behind you
- Pull back the leg until you feel the stretch in the front of your thigh. Do not extend through the back.
Glute and lower hamstring stretch
- Lying on your back with one knee bent. pull one thigh up to chest
- Keep the foot flexed and gradually lift up the lower leg whilst keeping your thigh close to you.
- Stretch should be felt in upper thigh and glutes
- Following on from above
- Straighten out your leg
- Flexing your foot towards you
- Gently pull the leg towards you until you feel a stretch in the back of the leg
- Keep your other leg bent to support you.
Piriformis/outer hips stretch
- Cross your ankle on to the opposite thigh.
- Using your hand, slowly push your knee away from you
- You will feel the stretch on the outside of your hip.
- Adaptation – decrease the angle created by the resting leg
Adductor/inner thigh stretch
- Sit tall
- Bring soles of feet together and allow knees to drop out to side
- Apply pressure with elbows on knees
- Adaptation – sit on a raised surface.
- You will feel the stretch on the inside of your thigh.
Psoas/hip flexor stretch
- Place one knee back, foot flat on the floor
- Keep hips square
- Lunge forward, squeeze glutes and lean back slightly
- Push your back foot into the floor
- You will feel stretch in front of hip and thigh
Lower back stretch
- Lying on back with knees bent
- hug your knees into your chest
- Rock gently back and forth.
Upper back and relaxation pose
- Kneeling, hands-on floor out in front
- Knees out to the side
- Reach forwards creating as much length through the spine as possible.
- Adaptation place a pillow between your knees and hips to sit on.