WARM-UP & FLEXIBILITY EXERCISES
- to increase heat throughout the body
- to reduce the risk of tearing or straining muscles by increasing their suppleness
- 2-3 minute jog, to raise a light sweat (complete before stretching
- to increase flexibility and freedom of movement
- to reduce muscle tension
- to reduce the risk of muscle and tendon injuries
- hold the stretch for 10-20sec – DO NOT BOUNCE
- repeat each stretch 2-3 times
- stretch gently and slowly, keep breathing
- stretch to the point of tension – NEVER PAIN
- select the major muscle groups used in your sport and stretch them through their full range of movement
THE ENTIRE STRETCHING SESSION SHOULD TAKE 15-20 MINUTES
To increase or maintain flexibility and muscle suppleness, a 20 min stretching session 2-3 times per week is recommended. This can be performed separately from your sporting activity
- to help remove muscle waste products
- to reduce muscle soreness and stiffness
- to enable you to compete again at the same level within a short period of time
- 2-3 minute light jog, or brisk walk immediately after sport
- 5-10 minutes of stretching (emphasise the major muscle groups you have used during your sport)
The stretches illustrated are aimed as an introduction to stretching. For Further information about stretching, contact your local Sports Medicine Physiotherapist or Sports Doctor.
The information in this brochure is of a general nature. Individual circumstances may require modification of general advice from an appropriate health professional eg physiotherapist.
This compilation of flexibility exercises targets all the major muscle groups.
Stretching should form a fundamental part of any exercise program and not just as part of the warm-up…
In fact, recent research suggests that static stretching may not be beneficial before training or athletic performance. Dynamic stretching seems to be more appropriate as part of the warm-up.
The flexibility exercises on this page are classed as static stretches. When is static stretching best performed? Ideally, after an exercise session when the body is fully warm. Many athletes perform a series of flexibility exercises like those below at the end of a training session or even after a competition.
While you don’t have to be an athlete to benefit from stretching, you should be thoroughly warmed up before you begin to stretch.
Here are some general guidelines to bear in mind when following a flexibility program…
- You should be thoroughly warmed up before performing these exercises
- Stretch to just before the point of discomfort
- The feeling of tightness should diminish as you hold the stretch
- Breath out into the stretch. Avoid breath holding
- Hold each stretch for 10-30 seconds
- If tightness intensifies or you feel pain stop the stretch
- Shake out limbs between stretches
- Complete 2-3 stretches before moving on to the next exercise
UPPER BODY FLEXIBILITY EXERCISES
STRETCH #1 – SHOULDER & CHEST
This can be performed kneeling or standing. Clasp hands behind back and straighten arms. Raise hands as high as possible and bend forward from the waist and hold.
STRETCH #2 – ARM ACROSS CHEST
Place one arm straight across the chest. place a hand on the elbow and pull the arm towards the chest and hold. Repeat with another arm.
STRETCH #3 – TRICEPS STRETCH
Place one hand behind the back with an elbow in the air. Place another hand on the elbow and gently pull towards the head. Hold and repeat with another arm.
LOWER BODY FLEXIBILITY EXERCISES
STRETCH #4 – GLUTE STRETCH
Sitting on the floor with right leg bent, place right foot over the left leg. Place left arm over right leg so elbow can be used to push right knee. Hold and repeat for another side.
STRETCH #5 – ADDUCTOR STRETCH
Stand with feet as wide apart as is comfortable. Shift weight to one side as the knee bends. Reach towards the extended foot and hold. Repeat for another side.
STRETCH #6 – SINGLE LEG HAMSTRING
Place leg out straight and bend the other so your foot is flat into your thigh. Bend forward from the waist keeping your back flat. Hold and repeat with the other leg.
STRETCH #7 – STANDING QUADRICEPS
Standing on one leg grab the bottom of one leg (just above the ankle). Pull heel into buttocks and push the hips out. Your thigh should be perpendicular to the ground. Hold and repeat with the other leg.
STRETCH #8 – STANDING CALF
Place feet in front of each other about 18 inches apart. Keep back leg straight and heel on the floor. Push against a wall to increase the stretch. Hold and repeat with another leg.