Monday 22 January 2018

The stretches

Being able to move or stretch through a large range of motion around your joints, is of utmost importance when exercising. If you don’t have time to stretch, then don't exercise!


• It will allow you better movement to work various muscle groups and prevent injury

• It is best performed following a 10 minute gentle aerobic warm up to increase body temperature

• Warm up your muscles before stretching

• Stretch only to the point of tension and not to the point of pain

• Exercise caution when stretching muscles that surround painful joints and never ignore pain

• Avoid over-stretching

• Breathe normall during stretches

• Avoid ‘bouncing’ when stretching, keep your movements slow and controlled

• Avoid passively forcing a joint beyond its normal range of motion (this varies from person to person)

• Avoid vigorous stretching of muscles that have been immobilised over a long time

• Progress your stretching gradually to minimise soft tissue trauma

• Your stretches should be held for between 15-30 seconds, with 1 - 2 repetitions of each stretch

Benefits of stretching

• Lessens chances of muscle injury

• Helps prevent lower back problems

• Can help maintain good posture alignment

• Can improve sports performance

Each training session will have at least 4 main exercises to concentrate on. You will need to pre-stretch the main muscles that are being used for these exercises.

Below is a list of all the stretches that you will need for this 6 week programme.

Each session will list the stretches you need to do before and after you exercise.

Note: With all stretches, remember to:

1. Hold them for at least 8-15 seconds and alternate between left and right side

2. Inhale and exhale steadily throughout the stretch

3. Keep your tummy muscles tight (engage your core) and your back straight where applicable

4. Keep your feet planted firmly on the ground throughout the stretch

5. Where applicable, keep your knees soft to avoid hyper-extension of the knee joint

Quadriceps (front of the upper legs)


• Feet should be planted firmly on the ground

• Use a tree, chair or wall for balance

• Hold leg to be stretched around the shoe laces

• Keep your knees together and keep your supporting knee soft

• Push your hips forward, keep your back straight and hold

Hamstrings (back of the upper legs)


• Place the leg to be stretched in front of you and keep it straight, without locking the knee

• Place your hands on the bent supporting leg – NOT the straight leg

• Lean forward slightly, keeping your head, neck and spine in line

• Sit back into the stretch, feeling it in the rear of the thigh, and hold

Gastronemius (calf / back of the lower leg)


• Place one foot in front of the other

• Keeping the front leg bent, stretch your back leg out behind you and lean your hands on a tree or wall

• Push the heel of your back leg towards the ground and hold

• Keep your head, neck and spine in line

Pecs (chest)


• Stand with a soft bend in your knees

• Join your hands behind your back and push your elbows the rear and hold

• Do not hyper-extend the wrists or allow forward flexion of the trunk

Trapezius (upper back)


• Stand with a soft bend in your knees

• Join your hands at the front of the body with the back of your hands facing in

• Maintain good posture, stretch your hands out in front of your chest and hold

Deltoids (shoulders)


• Stand with a soft bend in your knees

• Place one arm across the body at shoulder level

• Use the opposite wrist to gently push the arm towards the body and hold

Triceps (back of the upper arm)


• Reach behind your head, and place your hand behind between your shoulder blades

• Hold your arm in place with the opposite hand, by placing your hand on the opposite elbow and hold

Adductors (inside of upper leg)


• Take a lunge out to the side

• Place your hands on your bent leg, and stretch out the opposite leg straight to the side

• Sit into that position and hold.

Abductors (outside of upper leg)


• Sitting on ground, extend one leg flat on the floor

• Keep the opposite leg bent and cross over extended leg

• Use the opposite elbow on outside of the bent knee to gently push knee across the body and hold

Erector Spinae (lower back)


• Lie on your back and bring your knees to your chest

• Wrap your arms around your legs under the knee joint and hug into your chest

• Bring your head towards your chest and hold

Abdominals (tummy)


• Lying face down on the ground, place your hands under your shoulders

• Lift your upper body off the ground, extend your arms and hold

Hip Flexors (hips and bum)


• Place your hands on your hips and keep your shoulders back

• Place one foot in front of the other, adopting a semi-lunge position

• Do not allow your front knee to travel past the toe of the foot

• Lift the heel of the rear leg

• Press the bottom of the pelvis forward and hold

Thanks to Lorraine Ho and Bootcamp Ireland

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