Stretching is a vital part of any fitness routine. Most injuries can be avoided with regular stretching of the correct muscles.
Let’s face it, when you injure yourself and take yourself off to the physio, what is the normal procedure? Massage on the affected area. Stimulation of the affected muscles. Stretches are administered for you to do until your next visit.
What if you just stretched regularly and prevented injury instead of treating the injury?
I like to stretch at night in front of the TV. You can either sit on the couch, or just sit on the floor and have a stretch. I try to do this at least 3 times per week.
Below are some guidelines general to follow for increasing your flexibility. There is also a link to my stretch chart which shows many of the most important stretches.
* Stretch after every work out.
* Concentrate on the muscle you are stretching and move slowly into the stretch.
* Hold the stretch for 30 to 60 seconds and move further into the stretch on your exhale. Repeat 2 – 3 times for each muscle group if time permits.
* Make sure you feel the stretch but don’t over do it, stretching should not feel like agony.
* Always keep your body in the correct alignment during stretching, the descriptions next to the photos point out the main points.
* Keep your abdominals drawn in, your back in neutral spine and your hips level.
* Keep your shoulders relaxed and down, as hunching your shoulders will leave you with a tight and sore neck.
As a general rule it’s fair to say that the less you like stretching the more you need to stretch. Pay attention to your body and it will tell you which your tight areas are. Even though we all prefer doing what we are good at, it makes sense to concentrate on stretches that are difficult for you as this is a sign that this particular muscle group needs to be lengthened. On the contrary if you don’t feel much when you are stretching a certain muscle (despite using the correct technique) it is usually a sign that it is lengthened already, this is usually the case with an opposing muscle to the tight one.
So try to get into a proper stretching routine, it is a very important part of exercising, which too often gets neglected.
Most aches and pains are related to muscle imbalances. Therefore, the more balanced our muscles are the better we feel.
Click here to view our Stretch Chart It’s a fairly large file, so it may take a little while to open, but stick with it, it’s worth it!
Fitta Bodies Personal Training
Group Training Centennial Park, Sydney