The rules of stretching
Stretch your neck
. Incline your head forward, but do not roll your head from side to side-this is dangerous. Instead, stretch your neck to the left, right, forward and back, but always return to center first.Tilt your head with ear toward shoulder, incline your head backward and roll your head from left to right, then right to left in a 30 degree motion.Be sure that while your head is tilted back, you keep your jaw relaxed and even let your mouth fall open just a bit.
Stretch your shoulder
. Put your arm on your chest.
Grab your forearm with the opposite arm.
Pull your arm until you feel your shoulder being stretched.
Push the arm you are stretching the opposite way in order to contract the muscle if you feel that your chest is stretching instead of your shoulder.
Stretch your triceps
. Reach up with your right arm.
Bend your right elbow and put your forearm down behind your head and between your shoulder blades.
Reach up and grab your right elbow with your opposite arm.
Pull your elbow toward your head.
Stretch your scapulae
. Extend your arms in front of you.
Join both hands together and cross fingers.
Push your arms further and try to push your scapulae in opposite directions.
Stretch your wrists
. Hold your arm out.
Slightly pull back your hand down with your opposite hand.
Repeat with other hand.
Stretch your quadriceps
. Stand up and pull one leg behind you.
Repeat with other leg.
Stretch your calves
. Put your arms up against the wall.
Bring one leg in towards it while keeping your other leg straight.
Repeat with other leg.
Stretch your hamstrings
. Sit on the floor and put one leg out.
Reach for it and hold for a few seconds.
Repeat with other leg, and then do it with both legs.
Stretch your legs fully
. Lay flat on your back and extend your leg out.
Grab the back of your thigh.
Pull your leg towards your face.
Don't jerk your leg, it may cause an injury.
Do a butterfly stretch
. Sit on the floor.
Press the soles of your feet together.
Pull your feet the closest you can.
Put your hands on your ankles to where your elbows are lined up with your knees.
Push against your elbows trying to close your legs. (This contracts your groin muscles to help you get a deeper stretch.)
Push your knees down.
Stretch your lower back
. Lay down.
Bring one leg onto your chest.
Repeat with your other leg, and then do it with both.
Stretch your jaw
. Incline your head back, rest your chin on your palm, and pull your jaw open.
Say Ah! (you can mime it).
Grab your chin with your thumb, index and middle fingers.
Stretch it left to right. This exercise will help if you have been hit to the jaw (e.g., knocked-out in boxing).
Never stretch before you warm up
. The only reason it feels good to stretch even when you're cold is because your body sends out natural painkillers. To protect your tissues, you need to raise your cardiac pulse in order to fill them with blood.
The only way to do this is by working out.
Swimming is the safest way to raise your cardiac pulse. Water reduces shocks to the body because it reduces the felt effect of gravity on your body.
Jumping rope can also be effective, but it may damage your tibia's periosteums, which is the membrane enveloping your bones (except at junctions) that allows the blood to flow from your heart to your muscles connected by the tendon.
Swimming pools are sometimes inaccessible, so an efficient and safe way to raise cardiac pulse would be by cycling (except if you have knee problems).
Always stretch after you work out
. Stretching will ensure you have an optimal circulation of body fluids throughout your system and an adequate flexibility which will prevent your connective tissues to pop when you contract your muscle.
. A study of soccer players showed a group who did dynamic warm up exercises and static stretches had fewer knee injuries than one that did neither.One review suggests that there are many beneficial stretches that can improve range of motion (ROM) in athletes, especially runners.It is also suggested that one stretching exercise may not be enough to prevent all types of injury, and that, multiple stretching exercises should be used to gain the full effects of stretching.It has also been suggested that proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) stretching yields the greatest change in range of motion, especially short-term benefits.Reasoning behind the biomechanical benefit of PNF stretching points to muscular reflex relaxation found in the musculotendinous unit being stretched.[clarification needed] Others[who?] suggest that PNF benefits are due to influence on the joint where the stretch is felt.
. Over-stretching or stretching to a point where pain is felt may be inappropriate and detrimental. Effects on performance, both short- and long-term, may include predisposition to injury and possible nerve damage.Other research concludes that active stretching routines will reduce muscle-tendon viscosity and increase muscle compliancy and elasticity. In sports activities where there are little or no short-stretching cycles, (bicycling, jogging, etc.) stretching routines may be detrimental to athletic performance and have no effect on reducing injuries.A runner performing a seated, forward bend stretching position.Other theories included claim active static stretching increases inflow of Ca2+ from extra cellular spaces into the muscles being stretched. The increase of Ca2+ reduced the muscle twitch tension by up to 60%. Reasoning behind this claim is that increased levels of Ca2+ in resting muscles predisposes individuals to fatigue quicker than individuals who did not stretch.
Keep it moving
. A muscle is like a rubber band,explains Jim Wharton, who runs a physical therapy clinic in New York City with his son, PhilStretching it in any forced position is going to weaken it.Instead, the Whartons concentrate on short, isolated movements that are held for only a couple of seconds.It's just enough to get the blood flowing before activity and then flush out the waste products afterward,he says.
Easy does it
. Nikos Apostolopoulos was a track cyclist training for the 1992 Olympic team when a car struck him during a ride. The accident resulted in a spinal fusion, left him unresponsive to normal stretches, and spawned Microstretching, a low-intensity (no burn) flexibility routine. Says Apostolopoulos, who now runs a training clinic in Vancouver, British Columbia:Im doing my job well when my patient falls asleep during a session.
Types of stretches
. There are four different types of stretching: ballistic, dynamic, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, and static stretching. Ballistic stretching is a rapid bouncing stretch in which a body part is moving with momentum that stretches the muscles to a maximum. Muscles respond to this type of stretching by contracting to protect itself from over extending. Dynamic stretching is a walking or movement stretch. By performing slow controlled movements through full range of motion, a person reduces risk of injury. Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) is a type of stretch for a particular muscle and its specific job, so resistance should be applied, then the muscle should be relaxed. Static stretching is a type of stretch whereby a person stretches the muscle until a gentle tension is felt and then holds the stretch for thirty seconds or until a muscle release is felt, without any movement or bouncing.
. Place your left hand on your head as shown and position your right arm behind your back. Gently pull your head toward your shoulder.
. Position your body as shown, then push your arms into the Swiss ball and your chest toward the floor.
. Position your body in front of a wall as shown and lean forward to stretch.
. Position your body as shown and push your hips forward while keeping your torso upright.
. Place your arm against a door frame or wall as shown, then move your shoulder forward.
. Place your foot on a sturdy box or bench as shown, then lean forward from the hips until you feel a stretch.
. The goal of dynamic stretching is simple: minimize risk of injury and maximize performance. Stretching dynamically gets the blood flowing to your muscles and preps your central nervous system for activity. Without a 5-10 minute dynamic warm-up, your muscles will be tight and stiff, which means youll be less flexible, less able to use correct form, less able to achieve peak performance, and far more prone to injury. As mentioned before, static stretching only compounds these issues, as you will be stretching tight, cold muscles, essentially damaging them before your activity. NOTE: some people like to perform a few static stretches immediately following a dynamic warm-up, once the muscles are warm; not much research has been done on the effects of this, but I cannot imagine it would be detrimental in any way.
Balance your routine
. Work opposing muscle groups each time you stretch. If you start by stretching the muscles in the back of your thigh, then follow by stretching the muscles at the front.
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