Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Principles of Fitness: Stretching (Module 4)

Stretching Tips

⦁ Stretch any particularly tight areas before and during warm up.
⦁ If anything feels tight during the workout, stretch it.
⦁ Stretch 10-15 minutes per day. I suggest stretching at the end of each workout as a cool down (while the muscles are still warm, before they tighten up).
⦁ Don't stretch more than 20 minutes per day. Overstretching can cause injury to joints and connective tissues.
⦁ Stretching must be accompanied by strength work. Gains in flexibility without gains in strength can result in injuries.
⦁ Focus on your breathing. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
⦁ Contract the muscle opposite the one you are stretching
⦁ If stretching the left hamstring, contract the left quad. If stretching the left bicep, contract the left triceps.
⦁ You should only feel the stretch in the muscle you are isolating. If you are feeling it in other parts of your body, you're probably not doing the stretch properly.
⦁ Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds (or 5-6 breathes, whichever is easiest for you)
⦁ Be patient. Gains in flexibility are made over time. 10-15 minutes each day goes a long way over the span of weeks, months and years.
⦁ Focus on the sensations you experience while you stretch: what you feel and where you feel it. I like to stretch in a quiet place without music. The moments stretching at the end of a good workout are among the most peaceful moments I am able to achieve.
⦁ If you spent more time training one muscle group during a particular workout (i.e. legs), then spend more time stretching that muscle group at the end of the workout.

Full Body Stretching Routine

Lower Body
  1. Seated forward fold
  2. Seated straddle fold
    • To the side
    • Down the center
    • Overhead (lat stretch)
  3. Lying Twist
  4. Pidgeon pose
  5. Butterfly
  6. Cross legged fold
  7. Frog stretch
  8. Kneeling hip flexor stretch
  9. Quad stretch
  10. Calf stretch
Upper body
  1. Upright side lean
  2. Arm across (back/back of shoulder stretch)
  3. Arm over (triceps stretch)
  4. Arms behind (chest/front of shoulder stretch)
  5. Standing wrist/forearm stretches
  6. Wrist rolls
  7. Chest/bicep fly
  8. Seated trunk twist

How to Do Each Stretch

Lower Body
1) Seated forward fold
⦁ Feet together
⦁ Legs straight
⦁ Quads contracted + knees locked
⦁ Reach hands towards toes
⦁ Grab toes or calves and pull yourself down for added stretch
⦁ Hold 30 seconds
2) Seated straddle fold
⦁ To the side
⦁ Feet as wide apart as you can get them
⦁ Legs straight
⦁ Quads contracted + knees locked
⦁ Reach both hands towards your toes on one side
⦁ Bring your nose down to your knee (as much as you can)
⦁ Hold thirty seconds
⦁ Repeat for the other side
⦁ Down the center
⦁ Feet as wide apart as you can get them
⦁ Legs straight
⦁ Quads contracted + knees locked
⦁ Extend arms straight out, fold forward and place hands on the floor as far away from you as you can get them
⦁ Hold thirty seconds
⦁ Overhead (lat stretch)
⦁ Feet as wide apart as you can get them
⦁ Legs straight
⦁ Quads contracted + knees locked
⦁ Reach one hand towards the same side foot
⦁ Reach the other hand behind your head to the same side as the first hand
⦁ Grab the first arm on the triceps for added stretch
⦁ Hold thirty seconds
⦁ Repeat the other side
3) Lying Twist
⦁ Lay flat on your back
⦁ Arms extended straight out to the side
⦁ Legs straight, together, fully extended
⦁ Lift one leg straight up off the ground
⦁ Twist, lowering the leg to the side and reaching your toe to your opposite hand
⦁ Keep your hands and arms planted firmly on the ground
⦁ Bend your knee if you have to
⦁ Hold thirty seconds
⦁ Repeat to the other side
4) Pidgeon pose
⦁ Front leg bent at 90 degrees
⦁ Extend back leg + rotate back hip towards front heel
⦁ Keep your chest up
⦁ Use your arms to control your weight and the intensity of the stretch
⦁ Okay for back leg to be bent (goal is for it to be extended straight behind you)
5) Butterfly
⦁ Seated, feet together, knees apart
⦁ Back flat, chest up, slight lean forward
⦁ Bring your feet in as close to your groin as you can get them
⦁ Use your elbows to push your knees towards the ground
⦁ Can also use your hands to push your knees to the ground one at a time
6) Cross legged fold
⦁ Seated with feet crossed
⦁ Position yourself with your hands and arms so your knees are as low possible
⦁ Extend your arms straight out in front of you and fold forward
⦁ Fold as far forward as you can, extending your hands as far as they will go 
⦁ It's okay if you can't touch the ground yet. It's also okay if you can't lean forward at all. You will get better with daily stretching.)
⦁ Hold for 30 seconds
⦁ Switch your feet (so they're crossed the other way) and repeat
7) Frog stretch
⦁ On knees and elbows
⦁ Extend knees as far apart from each other as they'll go
⦁ Rock hips backward as far as they will go and hold for 30 seconds
⦁ Place hands on ground
⦁ Rock hips forward as far as they will go and hold for 30 seconds
8) Kneeling hip flexor stretch
⦁ One knee bent, the other on the ground
⦁ Both knees bent at 90 degrees
⦁ Rock your hips forward until you fill a stretch in your hip flexor
⦁ Hold for 30 seconds
⦁ Repeat for the other side
9) Quad stretch
⦁ One knee bent, the other on the ground
⦁ Both legs bent at 90 degrees
⦁ Reach one hand behind you and grab the opposite foot
⦁ Use your hand to pull the foot up until you feel a stretch in the quad
⦁ Hold for the seconds
⦁ Repeat for the other side
10) Calf stretch
⦁ Bear crawl position
⦁ Straighten your arms and your legs so you're in downward dog
⦁ Pick up one foot and place it behind the other
⦁ Adjust yourself so you feel the stretch in the calf
⦁ Hold for 30 seconds
⦁ Repeat for the other side

Upper body
1) Upright side lean
⦁ Standing
⦁ One hand overhead, other hand on your hip
⦁ Lean towards hand on hip
⦁ Tilt head, arch neck and spine sideways to stretch neck and lats
⦁ Keep legs straight
2) Arm across (back/back of shoulder stretch)
⦁ Standing
⦁ One arm goes straight across your chest
⦁ Keep this arm straight (no bend at the elbow)
⦁ Use your other arm to apply pressure to the back of the elbow
⦁ Repeat for the other side
3) Arm over (triceps stretch)
⦁ Standing
⦁ One hand goes over your head between your shoulder blades on your back
⦁ Use your opposite hand to pull the elbow back and stretch the triceps
⦁ Repeat for the other side
4) Arms behind (chest/front of shoulder stretch)
⦁ Standing
⦁ Lace your fingers behind your back
⦁ Lock your elbows
⦁ Pull your shoulders back and puff your chest out
⦁ Lift your hands behind you, keeping the elbows locked
⦁ Look straight up 
⦁ Tilting your head to each side will stretch the neck also
5) Standing wrist/forearm stretches
⦁ Standing
⦁ Extend arm in front of you, locked at the elbow
⦁ With palm up, use other hand to pull fingers down and back towards you
⦁ With palm up, use other hand to pull fingers up and back towards you
⦁ With palm down, use other hand to pull fingers down and back towards you
⦁ With palm down, use other hand to pull fingers up and back towards you
⦁ Repeat for the opposite side
6) Wrist rolls
⦁ In/out
⦁ Hands in fists
⦁ Roll both wrists to the inside going through the full range of motion
⦁ Roll both wrists to the outside going through the full range of motion
⦁ Weave
⦁ Interlace fingers in front of you
⦁ Roll wrists and elbows in a snaking motion
⦁ Reverse the direction of the snaking motion and repeat
7) Chest/bicep fly
⦁ Standing
⦁ Extend your hands as far as they can go from each other
⦁ Turn your palms up
⦁ Keep your elbows straight
⦁ Tilt your head back and look up towards the sky
⦁ Arch your back and neck backwards to stretch the chest, front of shoulder and biceps
8) Seated trunk twist
⦁ Seated, feet on the ground, knees up
⦁ Rotate to one side
⦁ Place lead hand behind you
⦁ Place elbow of following hand behind opposite knee 
⦁ Use lead hand and elbow as leverage to twist yourself around and rotate your spine
⦁ Keep the spine straight (don't arch the spine, just rotate it)
⦁ Repeat for the opposite side

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Principles of Fitness: Stretching (Module 4)

Stretching Tips ⦁ Stretch any particularly tight areas before and during warm up. ⦁ If anything feels tight during the workout, stretch it. ...