Welcome to the ‘stretch routines’ 1 to 4. Here you will find safe and effective ways to prepare before exercise. A routine which should be part of everyone’s routine no matter what their level.
Guidelines for stretching exercises
- All warm-up programs should consist of pulse-raising activities, along with mobility and stretching activities
- Only stretch after the muscles have warmed up (eg.10minutes walking)
- Only stretch to the point of mild tension. No stretch should ever be painful
- Stretching exercises are static in nature and should be held for 20-30sec
- Do not use any bouncing or jerky movements when you are stretching
- Do not hold your breath. Breathing normally will help you to relax
- Stretch before and after all physical activity
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Stretching routine 1 to 4
MUSCLE (S) WORKED: Calf muscle (soleus)/Gastrocnemius
LOCATION: Rear lower leg
STANCE: Stand with feet hip width apart, back straight and stomach tight. Keep the knees slightly bent
MOVEMENT: Keeping in a straight line from head to the right heel, lean forward but keeping the right heel on the floor. Place both hands on left thigh.
HOLD: Slowly count to 20-30 (repeat twice) Repeat other side. the front leg should be kept over the ankle. Do not hold your breath, breathe gently
SAFETY POINTS: Keep the back straight and the tummy tight. The knee of the front leg should be kept over the ankle. Do not hold your breath, breathe gently
THE HAMSTRING STRETCH
Caution:avoid this exercise if pain is felt in the lower back
LOCATION:Rear of thigh
STANCE: Standing up straight, place right foot slightly behind hips.
MOVEMENT: Slowly bend the rear leg as if sitting backwards. keep the front leg straight with a very slight bend at the knee.
Place hands on right thigh. Push buttocks backwards, slowly, until you a feel a slight tension in your hamstring. Keep your neck in line with your spine.
HOLD:Count slowly to 20-30 (repeat twice) Repeat other side.
SAFETY POINTS: Never place your hands on the front leg. Make sure your feet are correctly positioned for balance before stretching.
THE QUAD STRETCH
MUSCLE: Quad/Quadriceps Femurs
LOCATION: Front of thigh
STANCE: Two feet together, bend your left knee and with your left hand take the left foot towards your buttock.
MOVEMENT: Slight bend on the supporting leg. Keep the knees close together. Tilt the pelvis forward and keep the back straight.
HOLD: Count slowly to 20-30 (repeat twice) Repeat other leg.
SAFETY POINTS: Always keep the support leg bent. Use a wall or other object for balance. Keep your back straight and stomach tight.
THE CHEST STRETCH
MUSCLE: Chest muscles/Pectoralis and Deltoid
LOCATION: Chest and Shoulders
STANCE: Stand with feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent
MOVEMENT: Place both hands on the buttocks and gently ease the shoulders backwards. This should give a feeling of the chest ‘opening’.
HOLD: Count slowly to 20-30 (repeat stretch twice)
SAFETY POINTS: Keep the back straight and chin up. Keep knees slightly bent
Author: Gavin Doyle