Stretching before and after workouts may prevent injury and can make the difference between having a mediocre workout and a stellar one. Keep the following tips in mind:
- Before you stretch, warm up by rowing lightly for 3–5 minutes.
- While stretching, relax and be patient. Take deep, full breaths to maximize results.
- Keep your stretches static: NO bouncing or abrupt movements.
- Optimally complete 3–5 reps of each stretch.
- Hold pre-workout stretches for about 10 seconds.
- Hold post-workout stretches for up to 30 seconds.
Push into a bridge with straight legs and arms. Stretch one leg at a time.
|Lower Back, Glutes, and Legs
Squat and try to get both heels on the floor.
Lying on your back, bend one knee up to your chest and hug it. Then, extend your leg toward the ceiling and gently pull it to you. Repeat with the other leg.
Put one arm behind your head as shown. Grab your elbow with your other hand and pull gently. Repeat on the other side.
|Calf and Achilles
Stand about three feet from a wall with your hands resting on the wall.
|Standing Hamstring Stretch
Place your leg on a chair or bench and straighten it. Keeping your back straight, lean forward until you feel the stretch in your hamstring. To increase the stretch, use a higher chair/bench. Repeat on the other side.
|Lying Hamstring Stretch
Lie on your back. One leg at a time, bend your knee, then extend your leg toward the ceiling. Grasp your leg and gently pull it toward you. To ease strain on your lower back, bend the leg you are not stretching, placing your foot flat on the floor.
Variation: If it is difficult for you to grasp your leg with your hands, place a towel or strap around your leg and use that to gently pull your leg toward you.
Standing arms-length from a wall, face the wall and place your left hand on it. Bend your right leg until you can grab your foot with your right hand. Gently pull your leg up against your glutes to stretch the top of your right thigh. Repeat on the other side.
|Sitting Hamstring Stretch
Sit on the floor with one leg out to the side and the other leg bent to the inside. Gently reach for your toes on the outstretched leg. Repeat on the other side.
Variation: Sit on the floor in the “hurdler’s position” (one leg out and one leg bent back) and reach to your toes with both arms. Repeat with the other leg.