Tips for Stretching

The first thing to remember is that there are two basic types of stretching theories:

  1. Regular stretches to loosen-up muscles before doing other exercises
  2. Excessive stretches to improve flexibility
  • Regular Stretches: When stretching to loosen up muscles, proceed slowly and gently to stretch muscles.
  • Excessive Stretches: When trying to stretch to improve flexibility and limberness, the most important thing is to have the muscles thoroughly warmed-up. The best time to do this is after a good workout.
  • For those who have difficulty stretching and whose legs and or hips are especially tight, it is best if they can stretch as often as possible. For example, try to do stretching exercises and splits after jumping rope, jumping jacks, running in place, or anytime the muscles are warmed up. Stretching after aerobic activity will be easier and less likely to strain any muscles.
  • Stretching should be a supplement, NOT a replacement for proper aerobic warm up exercises!

Various Stretches

HEAD STRETCHES: Turn head left then right (5 counts), up and down (5 counts), circle left and right (5 counts).

KNEE STRETCHES: Hands on knees, bend them (10 counts) then straighten (10 counts). Legs at shoulder length apart, hands on ground (10 seconds), hands on hips lean back (10 counts).

HIP ROLLS: Hands on hips, roll left then right (10 counts each).

LEG STRETCHES: Turn left, front stance bend left knee (hands on knee), do opposite for right (10 counts each).

MORE LEG STRETCHES: Sit on left hill, knee on the ground, right leg open as far as possible, straight to the side, bend down to the right, left hand reaches over the head; then change to the opposite (10 counts each).

SPLITS: Legs as wide as you can, turn left face down, right face down, middle far down (10 counts each).

FINGER STRETCHES: Open and close hands (30 counts).

PUSHUPS AND SITUPS: Knuckle pushups recommended (10-20 counts each).

FLOOR LEG STRETCHES: Sit on floor, legs wide open, bend body over left leg, then right, then middle (10 counts each).

HURTLER STRETCHES: Sit on floor, left leg out, right leg bent behind, bend body over left leg. Do opposite side (10 counts each).

HAMSTRING STRETCH: Sit on floor, legs together; try to touch your toes (10 counts).

BALANCING STRETCH: Try to jump 360 degrees both ways (3 or 4 counts each).

SKIING STRETCHES: Left leg out, right hand up, move each back at same time (20 counts), legs together, jump side to side (count of twenty).

AXE KICK STRETCHES: Try in-out, out-in, straight axe kicks (5 counts each leg).