Stretch it Out

by: Shana Bunce

There are many different workout trends that offer great benefits. You may experience physical benefits such as more energy or greater muscle mass. But is there something missing from your work out? Maybe in the cool down? Taking a lap around the track or decreasing the resistance on your recumbent bike are just the beginning. An article in American Fitness (Schroder, 2010) states that it is essential that everyday function should not be compromised by insufficient flexibility (Schroder 2010). So, don’t leave the gym without stretching! After your cool down and before you pack your bag, take a few minutes to stretch those hamstrings and quads, they worked hard today! Stretching and rolling out after workouts is a good routine to get into for the last ten minutes before you head out those doors.  Here are some good easy stretches to squeeze into your cool down.

Anterior-Thigh (Quads) Stretch

  • Balancing yourself with your left hand on the wall, take hold of your right foot or ankle and bring it behind you.
  • Keep your left knee pointing down and your rear end tucked and not sticking out.
  • Bring your heel as close to your buttock as possible without pain.
  • Hold for 10 to 15 seconds, then repeat on the other side.

 

Piriformis Stretch

  • Lie on your back and gently pull your right knee towards your chest.
  • Keep your left leg straight.
  • Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.

 

Hamstring Stretch

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Bend at the hips (not the waist), letting your upper body hang.
  • Reach your hands towards the floor until you feel a slight stretch in your hamstrings.
  • If needed, bend your knees slightly.
  • If this stretch causes discomfort in your low back, keep your back straight and place your hands on your thighs.
  • For a deeper stretch, place your palms flat on the ground.
  • Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.

CItations

Schroder, J. (2010). Stretching. American Fitness, 28(3), 23.

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Assistant Professor, Kinesiology and Health Studies department