Static Stretching Exercises on the WALL
Do YOU skip your stretching at the end of a workout? Guilty! I am NOT a lover of taking time stretching. When I get to the END of my workouts, I become anxious to move on with my day, and have been known to skip the stretching. However, when I take the time to improve my flexibility I love the mobility in my muscles and the calm of unwinding from an invigorating workout. The end of a workout is the BEST time to dedicate for static stretching.
Why stretch at the END instead of the beginning of a workout? Current research supports that, “Pre-activity static stretching serves to shut the body down, slow the nervous system activity, elongating muscle fibers and allowing the body to cool off – leaving the athlete ill-prepared to jump into dynamic activity. (Fowles, Sale & MacDougall, 2000). Many sports and activities require power generation (like the sport of skiing) that comes from stored elastic energy or “stiffness” in the muscles and tendons. Simply put, static stretching makes you weaker and slower when used BEFORE athletic performance. Save static stretching to lengthen muscles, unwind, relax and rejuvenate after a great workout or athletic endeavor.
Stretching BENEFITS include:
• Reduced muscle tension
• Helps coordination
• Increases range of motion
• Prevents injuries
• Develops body awareness
• Helps loosen the mind’s control of the body so the body moves for its own sake rather competition
• Promotes circulation
• Improved prosture
• Warms up and lengthens fascia
• Perform static stretching exercises AFTER you have performed a workout and/or have completed a dynamic warm up to increase muscle temperature and blood flow to the body.
• 15-30second holds/each exercise
• Repeat 1-3 times/each
1. Hamstrings: Begin sitting sideways to your wall. Place hip as close to wall as possible. Lie down on your back, perpendicular to the wall, as you place your legs straight up wall (if unable to get legs straight up wall, slide buns away). Pull your toes to your nose, dorsiflex ankle. Arms are straight out to sides at shoulder level. Focus: hip alignment and hamstrings.
2. Splits: from the above position gently allow legs to open, sliding down wall into a “V” position. Inhale a deep breath and as you exhale allow the feet and legs to get really “heavy” with the pull of gravity. You may place hands on inside of thighs and gently help “gravity” allow the legs to open into splits more. Focus: hip adductors.
3. Butterfly: from the splits return one leg at a time to the vertical hamstring position – legs straight up wall. Open knees to side, bring soles of feet together sliding down the wall into a “butterfly” position. Apply gentle pressure to the knees, pressing them toward the wall. Focus: gracilias muscle which flexes the upper leg, rotates the femur medially and adducts the femur.
4. Lower-back: return legs to vertical hamstring position. Slowly lower both legs, down the wall into a comfortable stretch. Arms are extended at shoulder level, parallel to wall; head is looking at hand away from legs. Switch sides by lifting ONE leg at a time to vertical position and moving into stretch on opposite side. Focus: obliques, hips, IT band, chest, shoulder, lower back.
5. Figure 4: from lower-back stretch return one leg at time to vertical hamstring stretch. Bend one knee so that the sole of your foot is against wall. Push yourself away from wall so that leg is bent at a 90 degree angle. Cross the opposite ankle across opposite knee and flex the ankle (pull toes toward knee). Focus: piriformis and gluteal muscles.
View four of these exercises in one portion of three stretching routines provided in our PEAK Ski Conditioning program: http://youtu.be/NXZUx-i2akI
The wall, and gravity, provide a “tool” to enhance my stretching routine. I love turning the lights off in my studio (aka garage), lighting scented candles and listening to calming music. The things we like the least (stretching post workout) are, often, the things we need the most! Give this routine a go and see how it works for you.
Jennifer is the owner of PEAK fitness NW and 21 year Certified Personal Trainer & Health Coach and Divisional Clinic Leader for PSIA-NW (Professional Ski Instructors of America, Northwest). In 2013, she launched a 12-week PEAK Ski Conditioning program that includes the above stretching routine PLUS 36-30 minute workouts to have your ready to ski slopes with ENERGY! Receive new ski, fitness, health and nutrition tips weekly by sharing your name and email to the right side of this blog!
Fall PEAK fitness NW Ski Conditioning programs have begun, in the Portland Metro area. October sessions begin Monday, October 6th. Register and/or gather more information at http://www.peakfitnessnw.com/event/ski-conditioning-mt-tabor-2-2-2-2-2-2/2014-10-06 . If you have any questions on how you can kick-start an active lifestyle that incorporates the outdoors contact Jennifer Lockwood. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503.913.8385.
To register for the 12-week PEAK Ski Conditioning program: