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Stretch, Sports, Success & Science Part II

Stretching & Sports Success

Part II

6. Types Of Stretching

The reason that flexibility and stretching are confusing issues is partially because there are so many diverse kinds of stretching and exercisers are just at a loss about what type of moves to do and when. With this in mind, this chapter is devoted to setting the record straight so that you understand what kind of stretching is best for your personal circumstances.

Don't feel you've got to perform them all -- that's definitely not what is intended. Rather, read the descriptions and then use the methods that are specific for your training and workout goals. Use the right sort of extending at the ideal time and you're much more likely to find benefits from your flexibility training.

Static Stretches - Active Vs. Passive

Static stretches are the most identifiable form of flexibility training and also what most people today think about when you mention extending. For several decades, static stretching was how we all stretched -- before, during and a er exercise.

Ere are two major types of static stretches -- active and passive. A passive stretch uses an outside object or power to take you in stretch, for example employing a door frame or partner to elongate your pecs. In a busy stretch, you are using your muscles to maneuver you into a stretched position, e.g. clasping your hands behind your back and pushing your elbows to the rear to stretch your torso.

It really doesn't matter too much if you perform passive or active static stretches as the result is the same. It's worth noting, however, that if you are likely to hold a stretch for an extended time period, passive stretches are o en more comfy. Using the above cases, holding a doorway chest stretch for 60 seconds or more will be much simpler and much more comfortable than holding the hands clasped behind the back at a chest stretch for the exact same period.

1. Static Maintenance

In case your flexibility is already great and you simply want to be certain you don't lose it, for example after a work out to o set adaptive shortening, maintenance stretching is right for you. A maintenance stretch is not meant to enhance your flexibility and, as such, is not held for very long.

Maintenance stretches are normally held for between 10 and 15 seconds with no attempt to move deeper than is initially comfortable.

Commonly used as a member of a cool down, static stretches help reduce muscle strain and return your muscles for their pre-exercise length. However, the downside, static stretches have a tendency to cause your heartbeat to drop and reduce muscle contractility which may lead to a reduction in force production possible. In other words, static stretching can make you temporally weaker. For all these reasons, static stretches are normally omitted from setups.

2. Static Developmental

If you would like to enhance your flexibility, developmental static stretching is a good choice. Developmental stretches are held for between 30 to 60 minutes or longer and, as the name suggests, you should attempt to increase the thickness of this stretch as time passes.

If you stretch a muscle, you reach the natural end point of your muscle's elasticity -- known as the point of bind, or POB for short. Should you stay in the POB for 15 minutes or so, you may feel your muscles relax slightly and you should then have the ability to move into a deeper stretch. Is happens more readily for those who a) unwind and b) do not hold your breath. Continue extending the POB as many days as possible till you get to your true conclusion of scope. Once you are there, continue for a further 15 to 30 minutes to actually maximize your flexibility training.

To recap:
  • Move into POB and hold for 10-15 seconds
  • As you feel your muscles relax, move a little deeper to new POB
  • Keep your body relaxed and breath steadily
  • Repeat steps one to three a couple more times before you reach your true flexibility limitation
  • Hold this final place for 15 to 30 minutes
  • Slowly ease out of this stretch
As you may see, developmental static stretching can be rather time consuming thus is best reserved for muscles that are really tight. Developmental stretching is best used as part of the cool down or, even if you're serious about improving your flexibility, during committed stretching sessions a er a light warm-up.

Just like all types of stretching, don't force either variety of static stretch. If you feel any burning or shaking immediately back off and use a less extreme POB.

An Exception To The Rule

While static stretches are normally reserved for cool downs, tactical use of a select number of static stretches can be used at a warm-up under specific circumstances.

As an example, when you've got tight chest muscles you might find it rather difficult to pull a barbell into your sternum when performing barbell bent over rows. In this instance, stretching the pecs before performing an upper/mid-back exercise could be beneficial.

Another example: if you've got tight hip flexors, then you may discover that, when squatting, you have a propensity to lean too much forwards which could put an inordinate quantity of stress in your lower spine. Statically extending your hip flexors may help eliminate this issue.

Finally, and again using the squat as an example, if you find your heels lift off the ground when squatting, this may suggest tight calf muscles. Stretching your calves before and between sets of squats may stop this potentially dangerous problem.

3. Dynamic

Where static stretches are generally best used in down the cool, dynamic stretches are much better suited to warming up. Dynamic stretches are stretches performed on the move and into the uninitiated do not actually look like stretches at all!

The beauty of dynamic moves is that they prepare your body for the activities you're going to perform without allowing you to get cold or diminishing the contractility of your own muscles. They also offer an excellent chance to rehearse the motions you are about to perform on your upcoming workout.

Dynamic stretches are also quite time efficient and it is possible to have a synergistic impact on most of your major muscles in as few as three exercises although chances are you're going to want to perform more like five or six so that you feel properly warmed up. You'll discover a lot of dynamic stretches in the stretching library in chapter seven.

Dynamic stretching uses a happening called reciprocal inhibition -- the exact same
Thing mentioned back in chapter two. Fundamentally, when one muscle contracts, its opposite number, called the antagonist, should unwind and this allows you to stretch it. For instance, if you bend your elbow, your knee contract and your triceps, located on the back of your upper arm, then should unwind and receive a gentle stretch as your arm reaches full flexion. Is is the very essence of dynamic stretching.

By performing specific movements like leg swings, overhead reaches and standing waist spins, you stretch none but two muscles -- you, as you move in one way, which muscle's antagonist as possible return. Is two-for-one stretch is what makes dynamic stretching so time-effective.

Unlike stationary stretching, dynamic stretching does little for the resting length of your muscles. It simply takes your muscles into the POB so that they are adequately prepared for your coming workout.

When performing dynamic stretches, it is very important you increase your assortment of movement slowly over a collection of 10 to 20 repetitions. Start o by being really careful and conservative and then increase the range of movement as you believe that you're prepared.

Also, be sure that every stretch is done rhythmically and with controller. Do not ing your limbs around with complete abandon! Each motion should take a couple of moments to finish and at no point should you feel as though you're bouncing out of the end point of the stretch. Decide on a steady tempo and stick to it for the duration of your set.

Make sure you don't do so many repetitions that your dynamic stretches turn into a test of muscle endurance! Is is particularly true of exercises such as lunges and squats -- Both good examples of dynamic moves for the more advanced exerciser. Do as many reps as you need to feel comfortable but no more. Save your energy for your workout!

Precede your dynamic moves using a couple of minutes of cardio to ensure your joints and muscles are warm and nice though, again, only do as much as you want to prepare your body to the coming workout.

4. Ballistic

Ballistic stretching is a lot like dynamic stretching, just faster and more volatile. Is increase in motion velocity includes a heightened probability of harm which is why ballistic stretching isn't suggested for beginners or those who don't actually need it.

In sports such as kickboxing, sprinting, gymnastics and even fencing, motions are performed a) very quickly and b) via a large selection of movement -- that the very definition of ballistic. Is way that participants in such and similar sports may consist of ballistic stretching as part of the training. Not to do so would invite harm when they practice their preferred sport.

For the rest of us, where rapid and large movements aren't the norm, the chance of ballistic stretching far outweighs any possible benefits. Dynamic stretches are fine for the majority of even the most ardent exercisers and provide many of the advantages related to ballistic stretching without the dangers.

If you're a sportsman or women who needs to add ballistic stretching in your training, be sure that you always warm up thoroughly before commencing. Increase the range of movement slowly to prepare your muscles to what's to come, start o with dynamic stretches and then, ultimately, advancement to ballistic moves (and even then advance your speed). Exercise some control at the end range of movement to minimize the risk of injury and make sure the motion is coming out of the ideal part of your body -- i.e. do not round your back when doing high front leads as the strain is being taken o your hamstrings and also being placed in your delicate passive lower back ligaments and discs.

Ballistic stretching bottom line? Only satisfactorily prepared sportsmen and sportswomen should utilize this advanced kind of flexibility training and then with caution.

5. PNF

PNF, short for proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, is an effective form of extending that may result in very rapid improvements in flexibility -- almost instantaneous. While the advancements that result from PNF are very rapid and noticeable, they're not permanent so PNF is not a one-shot x for inferior flexibility. But if you need some immediate gratification from your stretching, PNF is for you! PNF functions on the grounds that once a muscle was contracted, it goes to a place- contraction relaxed condition and is much more amenable to being stretched. Basically, by using PNF, you "trick" your muscles into relaxing more quickly than they would normally so you can progress the point of bind or POB into a greater degree and in significantly less time.

PNF stretches are best done with a knowledgeable training partner since they may be complicated to do independently but, saying that, many can be performed alone if you're ready to think a little outside the box and also utilize external props like webbing straps to achieve the desired results.

This is how you perform a PNF stretch. In this instance, I am describing a supine hamstring stretch but you can apply this methodology to any suitable stretch of your choice.

● Lie on your back with your legs extended and hands resting by your sides. Make sure your legs are relaxed.
● Your partner should raise one leg and rest it on his/her shoulder. Allow them to take you to your comfortable point of bind.
● Hold this position for 10-15 seconds until you feel your hamstrings begin to relax.
● Contract your hamstrings against your partner’s shoulder – your leg should not move up or down but be held in place by your partner. Contract with between 30-50% of your perceived maximal effort for 10 to 15 seconds.
● Inhale deeply and then exhale and relax. Allow your partner to li your leg higher and into a new POB.
● Repeat steps three to five a couple more times until you fail to see any noticeable increases in the range of movement.
● Gently lower your leg to the floor and then perform the same sequence on the opposite limb.

Because PNF stretching takes time, it is generally best left for your cool-down and reserved for those muscles that are really tight. PNF is also a great form of stretching to add in standalone flexibility sessions at which time is less of a problem.

It is vital that there's good communication between the 'stretch-er' and 'stretch-ee' because overenthusiastic limb misuse could lead to serious injury. If in doubt or if you feel any discomfort, back o immediately.


Standing for Contract Relax Antagonist Contract, CRAC is a variation of PNF and for all intents and purposes, synonymous. Using exactly the same contract/relax happening as PNF to encourage a deeper stretch, CRAC adds an extra component to progress the POB farther and potentially faster.

As you know, when one muscle contracts, its opposite number must relax to allow motion. CRAC utilizes this mechanism to allow you to move to a deeper post- contraction stretch. CRAC is also an efficient way to develop isometric power and is a helpful strengthening instrument o en used in post-injury rehabilitation. (Isometric contractions are the most powerful of all muscular contractions and result in no Motion as a single muscle group operates against the other.)

To illustrate how you can do PNF and CRAC moves independently, this stretching Example uses the doorway chest stretch, which is a excellent way to fix a round- shoulder position while, strengthening the muscles of the mid-upper spine (center trapezius and rhomboids)

● Position yourself in an open doorway. Raise your arms and rest your elbows and forearms against the vertical sides. Your elbows should be roughly level with your shoulders.
● Adopt a staggered stance for stability.
● Keeping your elbows and forearms pressed against the door frame, lean your body between your arms until you feel a stretch across your chest.
● Hold this position for 10-15 seconds until you feel your pecs relax.
● Contract your chest muscles by pressing your elbows and forearms forcefully against the door frame. Do not allow your arms to move. Use between 30-50% of your maximal perceived strength and hold the contraction for 10 to 15 seconds.
● Relax your chest and then use your upper back muscles to pull your elbows further back to increase the stretch in your chest. Lean forwards again so that your arms are resting on the door frame.
● Repeat steps four to six a couple more times until you fail to see any noticeable increases in the range of movement.

Like PNF, CRAC is a fairly lengthy process so is best retained to your tighter muscles and utilized in your cool-down or standalone flexibility sessions. It is quite effective for developing your flexibility but, if performed too aggressively or with a spouse who lacks the necessary experience, could lead to injury. While mild distress is acceptable and may even be desired, pain isn't, so make sure you back o if you're feeling anything untoward.

7. Library Of Stretches By Muscle Group

There are literally hundreds of ways to stretch - some very simple and some really convoluted. The primary point to keep in mind when assessing the worth of every stretch is that, to be effective, you must pull off the ends of the muscle away from each other and do this in a way that puts minimal stress on your joints along with the remainder of the body. By applying these standards, the great number of moves which are possible can easily be whittled down to 50 or so stretches.

In this section, you'll find instructions on how best to perform Various great stretches for every one of your major muscle groups. Ere are inactive stretches, dynamic stretches and, where relevant, some which can be performed using PNF and/or CRAC protocol.

Out of your personal flexibility evaluation, you must now know what areas of your body are tight and what regions are normal concerning flexibility. Pick developmental static stretches or PNF/CRAC on the tight muscles and utilize maintenance static stretches to your muscles that are more flexible. Perform these stretches as part of your cool down or through standalone flexibility sessions. Remember, however, to maintain dynamic stretches to your setups.

If, when performing any of these exercises, then you fail to sense much of a stretch a) test that your limbs are aligned correctly, b) try another stretch for the same muscle and then c) don't worry! It might well be that you're adequately flexible in the muscle in question and then you do not feel a lot of stretch.

As mentioned before, all stretches should be preceded by a few minutes of mild cardio to increase core temperature and enhance blood ow though your muscles.


Is is the larger/upper calf muscle and can be among the most powerful by dimension muscles at the body. As they are so powerful, the gastrocnemius can take a fair bit to stretch, however if it Becomes tight can have an adverse effect on knee health. Its basic function is to stretch your ankle.

Standing Calf Stretch

●  Stand an arm’s length from a wall and place your hands against it at shoulder level
●  Take a large step back with one leg and bend the other
●  Check that your rear foot is pointing directly forwards
●  With your heel on the floor, slide your foot back until you feel a stretch in your calf
●  Ease out of the stretch and change legs

Calf Stretch off Step

●  Stand with the balls of both feet on the edge of a sturdy step
●  Using your hands for balance, let gravity pull your heels down below the level of your toes
●  For a deeper stretch, only place one foot at a time on the edge of the step

Supine assisted calf stretch

●  Lie on your back with your legs straight
●  Ask your partner to raise one leg up to around 45 degrees
●  Your partner should then support your leg behind the knee and press on the ball of your foot to ex your ankle towards your shin. is exercise is suitable for PNF/CRAC stretching


Your lower calf muscle which is especially active when your knee is bent. is muscle is not as powerful as the larger gastrocnemius but is equally prone to tightness. The soleus works with the gastrocnemius in ankle extension (correctly called plantar flexion).

Standing soleus stretch

● Stand as illustrated
● Bend your knees and push them forwards towards the wall
● Use your hands for balance
● If your knees touch the wall, move your feet back slightly to give yourself more room

“Sprinter” soleus stretch

● Kneel down on the floor and place the ball of one foot next to your opposite knee
● Put your hands on the floor either side of your leading leg and rest your chest on your thigh
● Rock your weight forwards onto your toe while trying to push your heel down towards the floor. You should look like you are in a kind of the “on your marks” position.
● Hold for the desired duration and then change legs


There are four muscles in the quadriceps – the rectus femoris which exes your hip and extends your knee, and vastus lateralis, vastus intermedius and vastus medialis which all extend your knee. Tight quads can have an adverse effect on knee health as they can cause mis-tracking of your patella.

Standing quad stretch

●  Stand with your feet together
●  Bend one leg and grasp your foot in the same side hand. Use your other hand for balance as necessary
●  Point your bent knee down at the floor, push your hips slightly forwards and pull your foot into your butt
●  Try to keep your knees roughly together at all times

Kneeling quad stretch

●  Stand with your back to a knee-high exercise bench or training partner as illustrated
●  Place one foot on the bench and then squat down until your rear knee is resting on the oor
●  Move back until your elevated foot is as close to your butt as is comfortable (if using a training partner they must hold your foot at the same height)
●  Make sure your front shin is vertical and your torso is upright is is an advanced stretch so exercise caution!

Prone assisted quad stretch

●  Lie on your front with your legs straight and knees together
●  Bend one leg to 90 degrees
●  Ask your partner to gently press your heel towards your butt
●  On completion, relax and change legs

Dynamic quad stretch – aka butt kickers

●  Either while walking or marching on the spot, dynamically bend your legs in an attempt to kick yourself up the butt!
●  You can also perform this exercise while jogging
●  Avoid the temptation to lean forwards. It is acceptable to clasp your hands behind your butt to provide a easier-to-hit target

Hip Flexors

One of the most commonly tight muscles in the body, the hip flexors, proper name iliopsoas, are placed in a shortened position whenever you sit down and are also very active in running, walking and cycling as well as many ab exercises. Overly tight hip flexors can cause your pelvis to tuck under which reduces your lumbar curve – bad news for your lower back health.

Runner’s lunge

●  Take a large step forwards and then bend your back leg so that your knee is resting on the floor
●  Position your front leg so that your shin is vertical
●  With your torso upright, slide your rear foot backwards until you feel a stretch in the top/ front of your hip
●  Keep your torso upright to maximise the e ect of this exercise

Dynamic walking lunges

●  Take a large step forwards while keeping your torso upright and head up
●  Bend your legs and lower your back knee to within an inch/few cm's of the floor
●  Push o your back leg and step through into another lunge
●  Focus more on the range of movement rather than the number of repetitions you perform

Dynamic hip flexor stretch

●  Stand sideways on to a wall or similar waist-high object. Grasp it for balance
●  Swing your inside leg forwards and then backwards from the hip, focusing more on the backward movement
●  Establish a nice even rhythm and maintain it for your entire set
●  Do not swing too hard or the exercise will become ballistic in nature and therefore more dangerous

Ballistic prone hip flexor scorpion stretch

●  Lie face down on the ground with your arms outstretched and parallel to your shoulders and your legs extended with toes on the ground
●  Keeping your chin close to the ground, li one leg and leading with your foot aim to get close to the back of your opposite hand (lift and rotate)
●  Take the leg back to the start position and repeat with the other leg


Another commonly tight muscle, your hamstrings extend your hip and ex your knee and are a common site for injury. Tight hamstrings, like the hip flexors, can adversely affect the angle of your pelvis and may cause lower back issues. You have three hamstrings; biceps femoris, semimembranosus and semitendinosus.

Seated hamstring stretch

●  Sit on an exercise bench, or other similar height object, with your legs bent and feet at on the floor
●  Extend one leg out in front so that your knee is straight and your heel is resting on the oor. Place your hands on your BENT knee
●  Keeping your chest up, hinge forwards from your hips until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings
●  Do not allow your lower back to become excessively rounded

Standing hamstring stretch

●  Stand up straight with your feet together
●  Take a small step backwards with one leg and then bend your rear knee so that your thighs are parallel
●  Push your hips back and, with your chest up and lower back slightly arched, hinge forwards. Place your hand on your bent leg for support
●  You can also pull your toes up on your leading leg to add a gastrocnemius stretch (as illustrated) but this can detract from your hamstrings if you have tight calves

Supine assisted hamstring stretch

●  Lie on your back with your legs straight
●  Get your partner to li one leg whilst pressing down on the other to keep it at
●  They can rest your leg on their shoulder at the knee if you are going to hold this position for a long time or you have heavy limbs
● Gradually elevate the leg until you feel a stretch in the back of the leg
●  This stretch is suitable for PNF/CRAC

Standing dynamic alternating hamstring stretch

●  Stand with your feet together and your hands by your sides
●  Take a step forward and swing one leg straight up, simultaneously reaching to touch your toes with your opposite arm’s hand
●  Making no attempt to hold the uppermost position, lower your leg, do a shuffle e step and swing the opposite leg up
●  Continue to alternate sides for the duration of your set
●  Do not lean forwards, round your back or make this movement so rapid it becomes a ballistic stretch. Try to increase the height of each swing as your muscles loosen up

Seated leg cycling ballistic stretch (also targets hip flexors)

●  Sit on the ground and incline your trunk about 45-degrees. Support your torso with your arms
●  Lift your legs o the ground and cycle them in a wide arc
●  Keep your toes up as you do so
●  Build up your speed

Standing leg cycling ballistic stretch (also targets hip flexors)

●  Stand next to a rail (or suitable alternate stable object)
●  Place your hand on the rail at hip-height and li your outside leg’s thigh to a parallel to the ground position
●  Drive your thigh down and sweep your heel up close to your butt as you cycle your leg below your body
●  Keep your torso elevated and keep the leg sweep and rotation smooth and uid
(This is a dynamic stretch, and a great warm-up drill for sprinting and field sports. Build up your speed gradually as your hamstrings will be placed under considerable load, as they work to control the movement of your lower leg as it advances in front of your body. An eccentric, lengthening muscular action is taking place at this point.)

Four drill ballistic hamstring stretch

●  Assume a similar position to the stretch above
●  Position your outside foot a couple of inches/cm’s in front of the other
●  Keeping your torso upright and braced, pull your heel up to your bottom dynamically (as in the right-hand image above)
●  Lower under control and repeat
●  You can position your same side hand behind your butt to act as a target (watch your fingers)


Located on the inside of your thighs, these muscles draw your leg in towards the midline of your body. e upper part of this muscle group is o en classified as the groin. Injury to this area is common in sports such as football and is commonly referred to as a groin strain. ere are three adductor muscles: adductor longus, adductor brevis and adductor magnus – literally long, short and big.

Seated adductor stretch

●  Sit on the floor, bend your legs and place the soles of your feet together
●  Sit up as tall as you can and shu e your feet in towards your groin
●  Rest your elbows on your knees and grasp your ankles
●  Use your elbows to gently push your knees down and out towards the floor
●  If you are unable to sit up tall, select a different adductor stretch is stretch is suitable for PNF/CRAC – either alone or with a partner pressing down on your legs (as illustrated).

Half kneeling adductor stretch

●  Kneel down and lean forwards to place your hands on the floor for support
●  Extend one leg straight and out to the side
●  Your thighs should be level
●  Slide your straight leg away until you feel a stretch in your inner thigh area
●  Do not allow your back to become excessively rounded
●  Imagine you are trying to push your pelvis down towards the floor

Standing dynamic adductor/abductor stretch

●  Stand facing a wall or similar waist-high barrier and grasp it with both hands for balance (it’s also possible to perform this exercise with your back against a solid object as indicated)
●  Swing one leg across your body and then out to the side
●  Make sure your hips remain facing the wall/level
●  Establish a smooth rhythm and maintain it for your set
●  Do not turn this exercise into a ballistic stretch by going too fast


Located on the outside of your hip and thigh, the abductor muscles draw your thigh away from the midline of your body. Numerous muscles make up this group, including your gluteus medius, the iliotibial band, tensor fascia lata and some fibers of the gluteus maximus. Tight abductors can cause numerous hip and knee problems, including the common condition runner’s knee.

Standing abductor stretch

●  Stand with your feet together and your hands by your sides
●  Cross your left foot in front of your right and plant it firmly on the floor
●  Bend your waist to the right – you should feel a mild stretch on the outside of your left hip

Gluteus Maximus

Gluteus maximus, glutes for short, is the biggest and most
powerful muscle in your body and has one main function – extension of your hip. Known as glutes for short – these muscles essentially make up your bottom. Overly tight glutes can a ect your hips and even lower back.

Supine glute stretch

●  Lie on your back with your legs straight and your head resting on the floor
●  Bend one leg and reach down to grasp behind and above your knee
●  Keeping your upper body on the oor, gently pull your knee towards your chest
●  Do not be tempted to li your head towards your knee – it may seem you are stretching further but, in fact, the additional movement comes from rounding your back

Supine figure four glute stretch

●  Lie on your back with your legs bent and feet at on the floor
●  Cross your le ankle over your right knee
●  Reach down and grasp your left thigh
●  Pull your left leg towards you until you feel a mild stretch in your glutes and outer hip
●  Do not be tempted to li your head towards your knee – it may seem you are stretching further but, in fact, the additional movement comes from rounding your back


Located around your waist, your obliques are responsible for rotating your spine and flexing your spine sideways i.e. side bends. is muscle needs to be flexible for activities such as bowling in cricket. If one side becomes tighter than the other, back pain and rotational postural abnormalities can result.

Supine oblique stretch

●  Lie on your back with your legs straight and your arms extended so you form a T shape
●  Bend one leg and place your foot at on the floor
●  Reach across and place your opposite hand on your knee
●  Pull your knee over and rotate your lower body while keeping your other arm outstretched and your shoulders at on the ground
●  Hold this position and allow the weight of your leg, combined with pulling on your knee with your arm, to pull you into a deeper stretch

Seated oblique stretch

●  Sit on an exercise bench or other suitable object with your legs bent and your feet at on the floor
●  Make sure you sit up as tall as possible and with good posture
●  Keeping your legs in position, rotate your upper body and try to look behind you
●  Grasp the bench to hold yourself in position and increase the stretch as you feel your muscles relax
●  Slowly unwind and repeat on the opposite side

This exercise can also be performed in a regular chair using the back rest for extra purchase.

Standing dynamic oblique twists

●  Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your knees slightly bent
●  Keeping your arms relaxed, rotate your upper body so that your arms continue to swing as your torso comes to a stop
●  Immediately swing back the other way
●  Continue for the desired number of repetitions is exercise is based on one of the movements from tai chi and, as well as dynamically stretching your obliques, provides a nice rotational mobilization of your entire spine.

Rectus Abdominus

Rectus abdominus, or abs for short, is the long at muscle on the front of your abdomen. is muscle is usually tight because of too many crunches and similar exercises. is is then compounded by spending too much time sat hunched over a desk or driving. Too tight abs can e ect posture and cause lower back pain. e main function of this muscle is spinal exion and lateral exion – bending to the side.

Prone cobra

●  Lie on your front with your hands under your shoulders
●  Keeping your hips on the floor, push with your arms and raise your upper body off the floor
●  Push up to the point just before your hips leave the ground

You can either stay in this position for an extended period of time or lower and then repeat for a more dynamic movement. If you want/need to spend an extended time in this position, consider resting on your elbows.

Erector Spinae

Made up from seven muscles that run up either side of your spine, the erector spinae group is responsible for extending your spine and lateral exion. Not commonly over- tight in many people, it is still important to stretch this area for no other reason than it feels very nice and relaxing!

Kneeling cat and cow dynamic stretch

● Kneel on all fours with your shoulders over your hands and hips over your knees
● Lower your head, tuck your pelvis under you and li the centre of your back up towards the ceiling. Imagine you are trying to touch the sky with your middle vertebrae
●  After pausing for a second, li your head and tilt your pelvis upwards as though you are trying to touch the floor with your belly
●  Smoothly alternate between these two positions for the desired number of repetitions is stretch is based on a posture from yoga and is excellent for keeping your spine mobile and “ flossing” your spinal cord.

Ballistic Torso (and shoulder stretch)

● Lie on your back in a crucifix style position with your palms at on the floor
● Bend your knees so that there is a 90-degree angle at your knees
● Rotate your hips (and legs) from left to right, keeping your shoulders down
● Build up your speed as you progress

Latissimus Dorsi

Your latisimus dorsi connects your arms to your torso and is located on the side of your back. When well developed, your lats look like wings. Overly tight lats can gave a negative effect on shoulder health and upper body posture.

Standing lat stretch

●  Stand in front of a sturdy waist-high object such as a squat rack
●  Bend your knees slightly, hinge forwards from your hips and, with an outstretched arm, grab the object
●  Shift your weight onto your heels, push your hips back and pull your body away from the anchor to extend your shoulder
●  From this position, turn your hips away from your extended arm to intensify the stretch
●  On completion, relax and change sides

Hanging lat stretch

● Grab an overhand bar with a shoulder-width overhand grip
● With arms extended, hang from the bar with your feet clear of the ground – bend your knees as necessary
In addition to stretching your lats, this exercise also decompresses your spine – great after a heavy set of squats!

Dynamic lat and shoulder stretch

●  Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent
●  Raise your hands so your palms are facing forwards and you are in a “stick ‘em up” position
●  Keeping your shoulders pulled together and avoiding arching your lower back, reach your arms up above your head as though you are performing shoulder presses
●  Lower your arms until your hands are close to your shoulders
In addition to being an excellent dynamic lat stretch, this exercise warms up your entire shoulder complex and helps increase shoulder and thoracic spine mobility.

Pectoralis Major

Commonly abbreviated to pecs and basically your chest, these muscles are often tight in many people – especially those who do lots of press-ups or bench presses. Too tight pecs can cause real problems with shoulder health and also give you poor posture.

Doorway pec stretch

●  Position yourself in an open doorway. Raise your arms and rest your elbows and forearms against the vertical sides. Your elbows should be roughly level with your shoulders
●  Adopt a staggered stance for stability
●  Keeping your elbows and forearms pressed against the door frame, lean your body between your arms until you feel a stretch across your chest
This exercise can also be used for PNF/CRAC.

Seated assisted stability ball pec stretch

●  Sit on the oor with your back resting against a stability ball
●  Raise your arms and place your hands on your temples
●  Ask your partner (who kneels behind the ball) to grasp your arms at the elbow and gently pull your arms back – the ball should keep your torso upright and shoulders in position
This exercise can also be used for PNF/CRAC.

Dynamic chest stretch

●  Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
●  Raise your arms and reach forwards so your hands are together and your arms fully extended
●  Pull back as if you are performing a wide grip row. Lead with your elbows and keep your chest up
●  Push forwards and return to the start position shrugging your shoulders forwards as you do so
●  Repeat using a steady rhythm and altering your line of pull to target any noticeable tight areas
In addition to dynamically stretching your chest, this exercise also stretches your upper back and mobilizes your entire shoulder complex.


There are three areas of your trapezius: upper, middle and lower. e lower trapezius is not really a flexibility concern and can be easily stretched simply by shrugging your shoulders upwards. Your middle trapezius is not especially prone to tightness but stretching them feels very nice. e upper traps are a common area for tightness and are a side effect of stress and/or spending too much time hunched over a desk. Tight upper traps can cause headaches.

Standing upper trap stretch

●  Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your knees slightly bent
●  Reach up and place one hand on the top of your head and the opposite hand behind your butt to keep your shoulder down and back
●  Gently pull your head over to the side to stretch the side of your neck – the lateral aspect of your upper trapezius
●  Turn your head slightly in each direction to identify any “hot spots”. If you find any areas that feel especially tight, spend a few extra seconds on them before changing sides and repeating the exercise
This exercise can also be performed seated – grasp the underside of your chair to keep your shoulder down.

Deltoids Ballistic Stretch

● Stand tall
● Take one arm up straight and close to your ear
● Cycle the arm round to describe a large arc
● Try to brush your ear with your upper arm
● Perform 10 revolutions one way and then the other and swap arms
● Increase your speed
(There are numerous arm swing combinations – double, single and in opposite directions at the same time. Experiment.)

Standing mid trap stretch

●  Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your knees slightly bent
●  Reach forwards and clasp your hands together – raise your hands to shoulder-level
●  Shrug your shoulders forwards and imagine you are trying to spread your shoulder blades as far apart as possible
●  To stretch your mid/lower back, round your shoulders over and tuck your pelvis under to form a gentle C shape with your spine


Too much gripping, typing and general tension can make your forearm muscles tight.
Overly tight forearms can result in hand, wrist and elbow pain. If you hands naturally gravitate to a clenched position when you relax, chances are you have tight forearms. If you spend a lot of time typing, make sure you stretch these muscles o en to avoid developing a repetitive strain injury (RSI) or carpal tunnel syndrome.

“Prayer” forearm stretch

●  Seated or standing, place the palms of your hands together in front of your chest in the classic “prayer” position
●  With your thumbs touching the centre of your chest, slide your hands down your front while ensuring that the heels and palms of your hands stay pressed together
●  Lift your elbows upwards to maximize the effect of this stretch

Kneeling forearm stretch

●  Kneel down and place the backs of your hands against your thighs and your finger tips on the floor
●  Push your hands down at on the floor
●  Lean back slightly while keeping your palms flat – the further you lean back, the deeper the stretch will be

You can achieve a similar result by performing this exercise on the edge of an exercise bench.

Sourced From:

© Green Star Media Ltd 2014
Published by Green Star Media Ltd, Meadow View, Tannery Lane, Bramley, Guildford GU5 0AB, UK

Telephone: +44 (0)1483 892894

Publisher: Jonathan A. Pye Editor: John Shepherd Designer: Charlie Thomas

The information contained in this publication is believed to be correct at the time of going to press. Whilst care has been taken to ensure that the information is accurate, the publisher can accept no responsibility for the consequences of actions based on the advice contained herein.

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The information herein is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified health care professional. Our information scope is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, sensitive health issues, functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from a wide array of disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and support, directly or indirectly, our clinical scope of practice.* Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request. We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to contact us. Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN* email: phone: 915-850-0900 Licensed in: Texas & New Mexico*