THINKING ABOUT FLEXIBILITY

AND STRETCH

So your wanting to improve your overall flexibility and want to know a few stretches that can gradually help you increase your range of motion (ROM).  Stretching also helps in preventing injury.

Before getting too advanced we will go through the basic stretches:

TYPES OF STRETCH:

BALLISTIC - this technique involves repetitive bouncing movements and should be approached with caution especially if you are a beginner.

DYNAMIC - can be used as mimicing sports exercise in an exaggerated fashion - often used in warm up. 

STATIC - a very safe and effective method you may see in your gym.

PNF - quite a mouthful - PROPRIOCEPTIVE - NUROMUSCULAR - FACILITATION this technique usually requires a partner to help firstly contract the muscle then relax whilst stretching.

Heres some basics:

  • Shoulder stretch - as seen in the picture the take your arm across the upper body and use the other arm to apply gentle resistance creating a mild stretch in the shoulder.
  • Tricep stretch - take your arm and raise it overhead then bend placing the hand on the back of the neck(elbow facing upwards).  With the other arm cradle the elbow with your hand to apply extra resistance.
  • Upper back stretch - outstretch both arms point your fingers towards each-other then place the fingers on top of one another.  Then pushing the arms outwards slightly round the upper back to feel a mild stretch .
  • Lat stretch - same as the upper back but arms are overhead.
  • Hamstring stretch - place the feet together and slowly reach for your toes.
  • Quadriceps stretch - this can be assisted with a towel if necessary.  Standing simply raise your ankle towards your buttocks and use your hand (or a towel) to help apply resistance to the stretch. 
  • Inner thigh stretch - take a stride to the side and slightly lean to the one side feeling the stretch on the inner thigh.
  • Calf stretch - take a step forward and keep this position whilst leaning forward from the torso.  Whilst in this position keep both feet flat to the ground.
  • Laying abdominal stretch - this one looks like a yoga pose.  Laying flat on your front gently raise yourself upwards from the torso.
  • Lower back stretch - laying on your back tuck your legs up like you are in a ball and place arms under the legs behind the knees to pull the legs in and feel the lower back stretch slightly.

STRETCH REFLEX?

What in the world is the stretch reflex?

Well it is your body's reaction telling you not to go much further as this is really getting into the limits of your ROM.  When performing a stretch it will kick in telling you to just go easy.  So be careful and build up steady to prevent any injuries.





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