Tuesday, September 05, 2006
I’ve been looking for some basic stretches to do daily, this is what I’ve been able to find:
The basic stretching session:
- NECK STRETCH Tilt head to right, keeping shoulders down. Place right hand on left side of head. Gently pull head toward right shoulder and hold for 10 to 30 seconds. Switch sides and repeat.
- CALF STRETCH (for gastrocnemius and soleus muscles). Stand 2 to 3 feet from a wall, with feet perpendicular to wall in the position shown, and lean against wall for 10 to 30 seconds. Keep feet parallel to each other; make sure rear heel stays on floor. Switch legs and repeat. Variation: keep rear knee slightly bent during stretch.
- SPINAL STRETCH Sit in a chair with your back straight, feet firmly on floor, toes pointing up slightly. Lock hands behind head, with elbows out and chin down. Contract abdominal muscles. To loosen up, twist upper body to one side as far as you can, then repeat 4 times in the same direction. The last time, rotate, hold, and then flex your torso forward, leaning toward floor with elbow. Hold for 2 seconds. Return to upright position. Repeat 8 to 10 times. Do same routine on other side.
- OUTER THIGH STRETCH (for iliotibial band). Placing left hand against wall for balance, place left foot behind and beyond right foot. Bend left ankle and lean into wall. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds, then switch and repeat.
- HIP STRETCH (for hip flexor). From a kneeling position, bring right foot forward until knee is directly over ankle; keep right foot straight. Rest left knee on floor behind you. Leaning into front knee, lower pelvis and front of left hip toward floor to create an easy stretch. Hold for 10 to 30seconds, then switch legs and repeat.
- BUTTERFLY STRETCH (for adductor muscles in groin). Sit on floor, bringing heels together near groin and holding feet together by the ankles. Have a partner gently push your knees down; hold for 5 seconds. Try to bring your knees upward as partner provides resistance. Relax, then have partner gently push down again for a greater stretch. Repeat. You can do the first part without a partner, simply by lowering your knees as far as possible.
- THIGH STRETCH (for quadriceps, in front of thigh). Lie on stomach. Have a partner grasp your lower leg and bend it until you feel the stretch on front of thigh. While partner provides resistance, try to push leg back for 3 to 5 seconds. Relax while partner bends your leg again until you feel a stretch again. Switch legs.
- CROSSOVER STRETCH (for lower back). Lying on back, bend left knee at 90° and extend arms out to sides. Place right hand on left thigh and pull that bent knee over right leg. Keeping head on floor, turn to look toward outstretched left arm. Pull bent left knee toward floor; keep shoulders flat on floor. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds, then switch sides and repeat.
- THIGH STRETCH (for hamstrings, in back of thigh). Lie on back. Place a rope loosely around sole of one foot, grasping both ends with both hands. Contracting front of thigh, lift that leg as high as possible, aiming your foot toward ceiling. "Climb" hand over hand up the looped rope to lift your leg gently, keeping upper body on floor. Keeping tension on the rope and using it for gentle assistance, hold stretch for 2 seconds. Don't pull your leg into position—that can cause knee problems. Repeat 8 to 10 times, then switch legs.
- LUMBAR STRETCH (for lower back). Lying on back, clasp one hand under each knee. Gently pull both knees toward chest, keeping lower back on floor. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds, relax, then repeat.