Are you looking for some great stretches to improve your muscles and flexibility? Check out these stretches that you can use the at the beginning and the end of your practice.
At the beginning of your practice, you stretch to help prevent injury so you will hold your stretches for approximately 5 to 8 seconds.
At the end of your practice, when your muscles are warm, you should hold your stretches longer to improve your flexibility; hold your stretches for approximately 12 seconds.
Remember: Do not stretch to the point of pain; you want to feel a stretch to the point of tension not discomfort.
Hamstring Stretch Body Fold:
- Start by standing with a straight back, feet together, and hands at your side.
- Reach up with both hands, keeping your arms straight. Reach and extend arms while pushing into a tip toed position.
- Bend over at the waist, keeping your back and lower legs straight. Reach as far as you can touching your toes or the floor if possible.
- Hold for 10 seconds and repeat the stretching sequence 2 times.
- To begin, it is ok to bend your legs; as you increase your flexibility you will be able to straighten your legs and put your hands flat on the floor.
Hamstring and Calf Stretch:
- Start by bearing weight on one leg and extend your other leg straight and out in front of you.
- Your heel should be resting on the ground and your toe pointed to the ceiling to stretch your calf.
- Sit into the stretch while bending at the waist (remember to keep your back flat). You should feel tension (not pain) through your hamstring muscle and calf.
- Hold for 10 seconds.
- To begin, just bend over slightly and work up to having your body parallel with the ground.
- Start by standing on one leg. Hold the top of your shoe or ankle with your hand and pull up towards your bottom until you feel a gentle stretch on the front of your thigh – in your quadricep. Your knee should be pointed toward the ground and extend your opposite hand out in front for balance.
- Hold for 10 seconds then switch legs.
- To help you balance, keep you knee straight down and foot close to your buttocks. Also, focus on 1 spot so you can think about what you are doing.
Hamstring Standing Leg Stretch
- Start with feet shoulder width apart.
- (1) Bend at your waist keeping your back flat and legs straight; reach for your one foot.
- (2) Walk your hands from one foot to the center. Attempt to touch the ground and if you can lay hands flat on the floor.
- (3) For a more intense stretch walk your hands through your legs and hold them flat on the floor behind you; you should feel tension but not pain.
- (4) Walk your hands to your other foot to complete the stretch.
- Hold for 5 to 10 seconds in each position
- Keep your back straight.
- Try to keep your legs straight; to begin, you should bend your knees.
- Remember, flexibility takes time but you WILL get there!
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