STRECHES

by Bethany Vessey, Registered Dietitian on August 12, 2013

Here is a list of some of our favorite stretches. These exercises are best performed after a workout and when the body is warm; however I have also done them as a way to distress from my day, with the focus being on holding proper form for a longer period of time!

Groin Stretch: For this stretch you want to put your feet together, sit tall, hold onto your toes or ankles pulling up towards your body, while forcing your knees down towards the floor. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat if needed.

Glute Stretch: For the glute stretch, lay on the floor with one leg out straight and the other leg bent back towards your chest. Make sure, as you hold this stretch, you can keep your head, neck, and shoulders flat on the ground! Hold for 30 seconds and then switch legs.

Piriformis Stretch: For this stretch it is important to make sure your head, neck, and shoulders are relaxed on the floor! Begin with your knees bent at a 45 degree angle, with feet flat on the floor. Then lift and bend your left foot so that it rest on top of your right knee. They lift the right leg back towards your body for the stretch. If you can not reach your legs, to hold this pose, without lifting your head you can place your body close to a wall and place the right foot on the wall for more force! Hold for 30 seconds and then switch legs.

Hamstring Stretch: For the Hamstring stretch you want to make sure you are laying flat on your back with one leg out straight and the other pointed up towards the ceiling. Place the rope around the ball of your foot and then proceed to pull your leg back towards the top of your body. Be sure that your head, neck, shoulders are resting comfortably on the floor and that your leg is not bent but also not hyper extended. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and then switch to the other leg.

IT Band Stretch: This stretch can transition from the hamstring stretch. Once you have stretched your hamstrings you will leave your foot in the rope and pull the rope to lead your foot/leg, over top of your leg on the ground (see picture). This can usually be a very tight muscle on many and therefore you may find you are unable to move very far into this position; therefore keep in mind that you may not look exactly like the picture. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and then switch legs!

Hip Flexors: While on your knees, bring one leg forward so that it is almost straight. Then shift your body weight towards your front leg, which will extend the back hip flexor (see arrow). In this stretch, ensure your front knee is NOT over your toes! Hold for 30 seconds and switch legs.

Quadriceps stretch: To stretch your quadriceps you want to be standing tall and from behind your body grab your right foot with your right hand. You can hold onto a wall for balance if needed. Try to keep you knees side-by-side as you hold this stretch. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and then switch legs!

Shoulder stretch: Stand tall with feet hip width apart. Bring your left arm straight across the body and hold straight in this position for 30 seconds. The switch arms

Rhomboid Stretch: You can either perform this stretch standing or sitting. To start this stretch lace fingers together in front of your body. The proceed to curl your upper spine to form a natural “C”. You want to feel as though someone is pushing on your chest and pulling on your hands. You should feel your shoulder blades stretching further apart as you hold this stretch. Hold for 30 seconds.

Triceps Stretch: During this stretch it is important that you keep your head facing up! Standing or sitting tall take your right arm over your head and bend your elbow, as if to try and touch your upper back with your finger tips (see picture). Then take your left hand and grab the elbow of your right arm to get a little extra stretch or simply better hold this pose. Hold for 30 seconds and switch arms.

Neck Stretch: To stretch your neck you will want to make sure you are standing or sitting tall. Bring our chin to your chest and then ear to shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds and switch sides.

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