is an important component of muscular fitness
for beginning and advanced trainers alike.
Good flexibility allows your muscles to work
in a greater range of motion, can prevent
injury, can ease muscular pain, helps speed
recovery and is also a good way to cool down
after weight training.
can be done before the workout, between
sets and after the workout.
stretching before the workout, do
it only lightly as the muscles are
not warmed up yet and therefore not
after your workout, when your muscles
are warm and limber, is the best time
to stretch for improving your flexibility.
stretches for 2 to 3 sets of 20 to
60 seconds to get the full benefit.
Holding for less than 20 seconds will
give you a temporary increase in range
of motion while stretching for 20
or more seconds affects the plastic,
permanent aspect of the muscles and
not stretch past the point of pain
and do not do stretches that are dangerous
or cause pain.
onto a rail, pole, bar, etc., with one
hand. Rotate your body inwards towards
that hand then allow your weight to
can adjust where the stretch affects
in your back by standing more upright
or bending over more.
more upright will target the upper/middle
back while leaning over will hit the
lower side and back area.
beside a vertical pole or wall with your arm
straight out to the side and holding on. Bend
your elbow slightly then rotate your body
away from your hand. Keep your shoulder back
and your chest puffed out.
Front Thigh - Quadriceps Stretch
on the floor on one knee with your front leg
and your back leg bent at 90 degrees. From
this position lean back somewhat, pushing
your stretching-side hip forward and leaning
your upper body back.
- You should
feel the stretch in your back leg from
your hip flexors (the muscles that are
located around your hip bone which bring
the thigh up towards the abdomen) right
down to your lower quads by your knee.
Hamstring Stretch - The Back of the Thighs
your foot up on a bench or raised surface
that you are standing in front of.
- Hold onto
something for balance if you need to.
- Lean over
and try to touch or grab your foot.
- Keep your
lower back arched as you lean over for
the greatest stretch.
Pull your arm straight across in front of
your chest and push it into your chest with
your other arm. This stretch
affects the rear and side aspects of the shoulder.
Biceps Stretch - Front of the Upper Arms
one hand on a wall or pole with your arm straight
out to the side, then rotate your body away
from your arm like in the chest stretch. To
affect your biceps more, keep your arm straight
and bend your wrist back a little.
Triceps Stretch - Back of the Upper Arms
one arm overhead then bend it down at the
elbow as though trying to scratch your back.
Use your other arm to push your stretching
arm backwards slightly.
- Be careful
with this stretch not to pull your upper
arm past vertical behind the head to the
other side. This overstretches the shoulder
on one foot on a wood block or other
raised surface (the calf machine is
good) on the balls of that foot.
all your weight on the one foot in
the stretch position (heel down)
your knee as far back and locked out
as possible (you may wish to push
on it with your hand or with your
other leg crossed over in front).