Stretching Programme for major muscle groups
- Perform stretching exercises when your body is warm. You should always stretch at the end of your workout, you can also do brief stretches after your cardio warm up. The ‘pre stretch’ after cardio is mainly to prepare your range of motion, so can be quite short stretches. At the end of your session hold stretches for about 30 seconds to cool down. These should be ‘deeper’ stretches and the initial tightness will gradually diminish as you hold the stretch – this will increase your flexibility and lengthen your muscles.
- Perform these stretching exercises with your workouts, and preferably at least three times per week. You can do stretching exercises every day if you wish. It’s easiest to do the floor exercises all together, as they are listed here.
- Ease slowly in and out of the stretch. Do not bounce! Breathe out as you stretch and continue to breathe as you hold it.
- If you feel any pain whatsoever… stop immediately, or lessen the stretch.
|Lying Leg Stretch
Stretches the large group of muscles at the back of your thighs
1. Lie on floor on your back, legs bent and with feet pointing forward.
2. Bring one knee in towards your chest, loop a band/ towel around the ball of the foot, then straighten the leg towards away from you.
3. Pull slightly band/towel to increase the stretch (whilst keeping arms and hands relaxed).
4. Keep your neck relaxed, gaze to the ceiling and extended leg straight. If leg is bent, decrease the stretch slightly to straighten it. Think about straightening the knee and pushing your heel to the ceiling.
5. Hold for time required whilst maintaining steady breathing. You should be able to increase the stretch after about 20 seconds – very rewarding!
6. Repeat for other leg.
Stretches your bottom muscles and at the top of the back of your thigh. Also nice for promoting a stretch in your back.
1. Lie on your back with your body in a straight line.
2. Breathe out as you place hands onto upper shin and bring one knee into your chest.
3. Increase the stretch by pulling knee in further whilst extending the other leg straight out in front of you. Keep your neck relaxed, your head on the floor and feet flexed.
4. Hold for time required whilst maintaining steady breathing. You can do ankle circles with the top ankle in both directions to ease any tension.
5 Repeat for other leg.
6. When you have stretched both legs, bring both knees in to your chest holding behind the thighs whilst rocking gently form side to side. Very nice on the lower back…
Outer Thigh and Hip Stretch
Stretches the muscles in your outer thigh and into the side of your hip.
1. Lie on your back with knees bent and both feet on the floor.
2. Raise one ankle to the opposite knee, as pictured.
Stretches the group of muscles at the front of your thighs. This exercise also develops a good sense of balance.
1. Stand with your legs hip width apart.
Stretches your calf muscles at the back of your lower leg.
1. Stand with one foot in front of the other, feet hip width and parallel.
2. With a straight back leg, lean into the front foot and push into the back heel.
4. To increase the stretch, push your back heel to the floor and push hip of back foot forwards to lengthen the leg.
5. Hold for time required whilst maintaining steady breathing.
6. Repeat for other leg.
Upper Body Stretches
Stretches the muscles in your triceps (inside upper arm)
1. Bring one arm above your head, then bend at the elbow. Elbow is pointing towards the ceiling, and lower arm is relaxed against the back of the neck.
2. Use the other hand to gently pull on elbow. Keep neck and relaxed and stance comfortable.
4. Repeat for other arm.
To improve the flexibility of your chest.1. Stand with your arms at your sides and your feet about shoulder-width apart.2. Extend both arms behind your back and place the palms of your hands on the small of your back. Keep your tummy in and your eyes to the front.
3. Gently pull the shoulder blades and elbows together.
Upper Back Stretch