To Your Health
September, 2009 (Vol. 03, Issue 09)
Corrective/static stretching addresses your individual muscle imbalances, which increases extendability in muscles that are chronically tight. Typically, you will perform static stretches, meaning you hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds.
Each stretch should be performed 2-3 times. The main goal of static stretching is to alleviate muscle imbalances, improve posture and prevent injury.
Active stretching gradually increases joint range of motion by moving into and out of stretches in a more rhythmic fashion. You hold each stretch for only 2-4 seconds, performing between five and 10 repetitions of a particular stretch. One of the added benefits of an active flexibility routine is that it strengthens and stretches at the same time. Active flexibility helps improve posture and your quality of movement.
Functional stretching uses muscles and the body's momentum to take a joint through its full range of motion in dynamic, multiplanar (all directions) ways. Movement mimics those you do in everyday life or your training program, and make for great warm-up activities. Functional flexibility improves posture and the quality of your everyday life.
Static Calf Stretch
Preparation: Stand facing a wall or sturdy object. Bring one leg forward, using your upper body to lean against the wall and keeping the outstretched rear leg straight.
Movement: Draw the belly button inward and keep the rear foot flat and pointed straight ahead; do not allow the rear foot to cave inward or roll outward. Bend the arms, move chest toward the wall and tilt pelvis forward. Stop the movement when slight tension is felt. Hold for 20-30 seconds, switch sides and repeat.
Static Kneeling Thigh and Hip Stretch
Preparation: Kneel with front leg bent at a 90-degree angle. Rotate the back leg slightly inward.
Movement: Draw belly button inward, keeping the rear foot flat and pointed straight ahead. Do not allow the rear foot to cave inward or roll outward. Bend the arms, move chest toward the wall and tilt pelvis forward. Stop movement when slight tension is felt. Hold for 20-30 seconds, switch sides and repeat.
Static Abdominal Stretch Over Ball
Preparation: Lie supine (on your back) on a stability ball, with arms outstretched.
Movement: Draw belly button inward and slowly allow body to drape over the ball, extending legs and reaching with arms. Hold for 20-30 seconds.