050221 The basics of stretching-part 2 of 5

The basics of stretching-the static stretch

So, you’re heading out for a run or walk, and like many others who think they are helping to prevent an injury from happening, you decide to get a few stretches in before starting out. The first thing you probably do is grab a foot, pull it up to your buttocks, and stand there for a few seconds in the stork position. Right? In the past, this was considered a good stretch, but times have changed.

The static stretch is the one most frequently used, probably because it is the easiest, and everyone, at one time or another, has seen it in action and then tried it out. As the name implies, this stretch is performed without movement. In this case, both the agonist and antagonist muscle groups are in a relaxed state.

To do this stretch, get into a position that places tension on your muscles and then hold that position for ten to twenty seconds. Next, move your body further into the stretch until you feel more tension. Now hold for another ten to twenty seconds. The muscles begin to lengthen out thereby increasing your ROM. You can repeat this sequence three to four times before moving to another area of your body.

One of the most extensively used static stretches targets the calf muscles and hamstrings, the ones at the bottom and top back of your leg, the modified hurdlers stretch.

Here is how to do this one. Start by sitting on the floor with one foot next to the knee of its opposite outstretched leg, sort of like sitting cross-legged. Keep this knee comfortably close to the floor while doing this exercise. Also, keep the toes of the outstretched leg pointing toward the ceiling during the stretch. Once here, lean forward from the lower back and reach for your toes until you feel the stretch in the calves and hamstrings. Do not round off the lower back while you do this exercise because it puts an excessive strain in the area and that can cause low back problems.

This stretch will be noticeable in your calves and hamstrings.

The static stretch is a safe and effective method of stretching. It is especially good for a beginner or a sedentary person.

Stretching makes us supple, allowing easy movement without restriction as we go about our daily lives. A few minutes of stretching each day will produce results in less than a week.

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