Fitness Tips and Tricks for Everyone.
Stretch! Take the time to stretch.
Your muscles tighten up with every workout.
To reduce your chances of pulling muscles you need to get length back to them.
After you have exercised and your muscles are warm is the best time as they will stretch further. Hold a stretch for 10 seconds, take a deep breath, blow it out and relax before sinking further into the stretch. Hold for a further 20 seconds. BREATHE and RELAX!
Check out these lower body stretches recommended and demonstrated by Michelle Tree, personal trainer and BodyBalance instructor at Fitness Matakana.
(back of legs):
If you are particularly tight down the back of your leg you may want to grab either a skipping rope or towel to give you a longer reach for this one.
Start by lying on your back just hugging one knee in to your chest and extending the other along the floor. Then progress to the hard stuff – one foot on the floor (especially if you have lower back issues) or lengthened on the floor, the other leg lifted and straightened as much as possible. If you can’t reach wrap the towel or rope around the bottom of the foot to pull your leg in towards your chest. Keep your hips down on the floor and straighten that leg as much as possible. Do NOT pull your toes towards yourself – this is more likely to aggravate your sciatic nerve than stretch any muscles.
Lying down, place your ankle on the opposite knee and push the lifted knee away.
This may be enough of a stretch. Next option is to reach through your legs and pull that knee in towards your chest.
(front of thighs):
Lying on your stomach, catch your foot in your hand behind you.
Bring your knees together and pull the foot in tight, hip flat on the floor. Can’t reach? Grab that towel again. If you do this stretch standing up make sure your hips are square to the front and don’t allow your chest to fall forward or your butt to stick out the back.
Leaning against a wall or bench take one foot further behind you.
Make sure to keep your heel and toe in a straight line. Start with a straight leg and keep your heel down. Then bring your foot in closer, bend the knee and settle your weight back a little
Ly on your back hug those knees into your chest again.
Keeping them high up your body lower both knees to one side while keeping both shoulders on the floor. Stretch your arms wide and look down your back arm so you are in a twisted position. Relax to the small of your back.
(Front of hip):
Kneeling on the floor, take one foot well forward.
Tuck your pelvis under and lean in to feel the stretch down the front of your hip. Lift the same hand as kneeling leg up overhead to increase the stretch.
(Outside of thigh):
Standing side on to a wall and resting one hand against it…
Tuck the foot closest to the wall behind the other and further away from the wall. Keeping the leg straight, rest the side of the foot on the floor and sink your hip towards the wall. If you have a foam roller (available at Fitness Matakana) try lying on your side with the roller under your hip. Place the top foot in front, flat on the floor to assist you moving down the side of your thigh. Roll up and down, holding on any tight part of the muscle until you can relax and feel relief.