You’re about to pull out of a tight parking space but you can’t rotate your neck properly to see the oncoming traffic. The muscles feel tight and perhaps even painful.
The first thing your brain tells you to do is stretch your neck to the left and to the right. After doing it a number of times your neck feels like it’s got more range in it.
Stretching muscles does work so go ahead and do it. If you train in any sport you’ve likely made stretching part of your warm-up and cool-down routine.
It improves range of motion, flexibility, circulation but more importantly the overall success of the workout.
Different sports call for different types of stretching and having a good understanding of the different types will help your particular fitness program.
This is the kind of stretching we know best. It involves stretching a muscle or body part to its farthest position and holding statically for a number of seconds. It does not involve bouncing or rapid movements, just a mild, painless pulling sensation. You feel the stretch through the entire length of the muscle and not in the joint.
Dynamic stretching involves controlled swinging of your arms and legs that gently takes them to the limits of their range of motion. You move the parts of your body with gradual increase in speed and length. This dynamic stretching has become very popular in recent years and is a great way to warm up.
One of the best ways to stretch a muscle is to apply a resistance to the stretch. In isometric stretching you lengthen the muscle into a position and the resist is the stretch. This is a safe and effective stretching method for increasing the joints range of motion and it strengthens both tendons and ligaments.
Sit on a chair and cross one leg so your ankle rests on top of the other knee. See Picture A below.
Now tilt your torso forward so your chest gets closer to the leg that’s on top (B).
Feel the stretch on the glute and perform this movement 5-6 times with correct breathing. Swap legs and do both sides.
Rotational Glute Stretch
Lie on your back and rise one leg up to your shoulder on the same side of your body (Picture 1).
Now reach across and catch your knee with the opposite hand (2).
While keeping your torso and back as flat as possible, feel the stretch on your glute and lower back.
Repeat this with good form and breathing 4-5 times and drop the knee further each time.