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Getting in the Proper Stretching

In an early blog we discussed the benefits of stretching. Now I'd like to take time and give you a more details on how to stretch properly. Here at LiveRightwithLR, we have in home personal trainers that can come to your home and teach you the basic stretches. You can also schedule an online mobile session with one of our fitness professionals.

It is important to warm up before stretching. Prior to a warm up your body is like a frozen laffy taffy, if you stretch a frozen laffy taffy it might snap in half. However, if you first take the laffy taffy out of the freezer and roll it around in your hands until it defrosts. It becomes soft and flimsy. You can now stretch the laffy taffy without breaking it. Your body is the same way. If you dont warm up your muscles prior to stretching, you are more susceptible to injures. 

Let's take it from the top.

Five Most Common Stretches And When To Use Them

The most basic of stretching is Static stretching. Static stretching in done when you complete a workout or after a warm up. you want you muscles to be warm and flexible. Cold, tight muscles do not stretch well. Stretching cold muscles can lead to injury.

Static Active stretching is when you extend a muscle and you hold your form for 10  to 30 seconds. You can actively stretch you muscles by using your apposing/ agonist muscles to feel the stretch. You do not have any outside support assisting the stretch. an example of this would be holding the Yoga "mountain" pose. You reach your hands up as far as possible lengthening and stretching your body.

A Static Passive stretch is when you assume a position and hold it with another body part. For example if you do a quadriceps  stretch and hold your foot with your hand and bring it close to the back of your body. Your hand holding your foot now constitutes as a Static Active stretch. Dynamic stretching is done when you gently and slowly increase your range of motion while repeating the  motion again and again. For example, if you would do alternating standing leg lifts, each time you lift your leg higher then the rep before. Dynamic stretching is good for a warm up but Static stretching is better for increasing flexibility and a range of motion. Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation also known as PNF, is when you two people work together and they stretch each other. For example, if you had an at home personal trainer, after the workout they would assist you in lifting your leg up as and extending the leg more and more. The personal Trainer would physically be stretching your body. If you want to stretch PNF style make sure you have a personal trainer or someone with experience that can help you do this.

The last time of stretch is Ballistic stretchiing. It is going "out of style" since research shows that if done improperly, this can cause a stretch reflex that can injure your muscles. Ballistic stretching is when you pulse in position, short repetitive movement. An example of this is when you touch your toes and use short little burst of movement to repetitively reach further and further each time. Athletes often use this method. Stretching correctly is important, when stretching properly it can help prevent  injury. Be careful, incorrect movement can cause injury. Schedule a skype session to have one of our mobile personal trainers show you a thing or two.

Make It Part of Your Day

Now that you know how to stretch take the time to throw some of the following stretches into your daily routine:

  • X Standing Hamstring Stretch : when you stand with your feet hips distance apart and reach your hands towards your toes without bending your knees. Hold it for 45 seconds
  • X Split lung with a spinal twist : Step forward into a lung , place one hand on the floor and reach the opposite arm to the ceiling. Hold for 45 seconds on each side.
  • X Butterfly stretch : Sit down on the floor and bring the bottom of your feet together to meet each other. Your knees should be pointing outwards and you will feel the stretch through your thighs. Hold for 45 seconds.
  • X Happy baby stretch : Lie down flat on you back, bend your knees towards your stomach and grasp your big toe on either foot with your hands. Rock on your back side to side for minute.
  • X Triceps Stretch : Stand tall and reach your right hand over your right shoulder and down your back, use the left hand to apply gentle pressure to the elbow. Hold for 30 seconds. Switch sides.

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