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Stretch : to lengthen, widen, or distend
ref : American Heritage Dictionary

Stretching

Stretching has been used for many many years to increase flexibility for a wide range of sports and other endeavours. It allows you to feel free in yourself. In actual fact most of us do it on a regular basis without even really thinking about it because itís a very natural thing to do. If you have a cat or dog you have no doubt caught them in the act some time or other too!


Take for example when you wake up in the morning, donít you just love that feeling of stretching out all your limbs whilst letting off a nice big YAAAAWWNNN.


When you do this its not only good for your muscles, it also increases blood flow to your brain helping to get you started for the day ahead.

So without further ado I am also going to have a good stretch and start showing you some really effective routines you may want to implement into your own training.

Lat Stretch

Areas Stretched

Upper Back and under the Arms

Reach above your head, grasp your hands together, turn your elbows in and press up. Maintain  a relaxed, rhythmic breathing pattern.

Hold for 6 - 10 seconds to a position of mild discomfort.

Posture

Keep the Back in a neutral position (upright) Eyes to horizon and Abs tight.

Chest Stretch

Areas Stretched

Across the front of your upper body including front of shoulders

Stand with a stance slightly wider than shoulder width, with left arm outstretched parallel  to the floor, hand on a door frame or a piece of exercise equipment. Gently twist your body and hips to the right until you feel a gentle stretch in the left side of your chest. Repeat on other side.

Hold for 6 - 10 seconds to a position of mild discomfort

Posture

Keep the Back in a neutral position (upright) Eyes to horizon and Abs tight.

Biceps Stretch

Areas Stretched

Front of Upper Arm and Front of Shoulder

Stand with a shoulder width stance. Holding your right arm by your side, straight and palm of hand facing forward. Place that hand on a door frame or piece of exercise equipment. Take a few small steps forward and lean forward at the hips until you feel a gentle stretch in the front of your upper arm. Repeat on other side.

Hold for 6 - 10 seconds to a position of mild discomfort

Posture

Back neutral, Eyes to horizon and Abs tight.

Triceps Stretch

Areas Stretched

Back of Upper Arm

Reach one hand behind your head holding your upper arm up and back as far as possible. Use your other hand to increase the stretch by gently pushing on the wrist of the arm being stretched. Repeat on other arm.

Hold for 6 - 10 seconds to a position of mild discomfort

Posture

Keep the back in a neutral position (upright) Eyes to the horizon and Abs tight.

Shoulder Stretch 1

Areas Stretched

Back of Shoulder and Upper Back.

Stand with a shoulder width stance, Bring right arm across your chest resting the hand over your left shoulder. Place the left hand on the back of your arm just above your elbow pushing it toward you. Repeat on other arm.

Hold for 6 - 10 seconds in a position of mild discomfort

Posture

Back Straight,
Eyes to the horizon Abs tight.

Shoulder Stretch 2

Areas Stretched

Side of Shoulder

Stand with a shoulder width stance. Place Arm behind back, bent with palm facing backward. With other arm grab wrist and gently pull across your body. You may lean elbow of target shoulder against a wall for an added stretch. Repeat on other arm.

Hold for 6 - 10 seconds to a position of mild discomfort.

Posture

Back Straight, Eyes to horizon and Abs tight.

Calf Stretch

Areas Stretched

Back Of Lower Leg

Stand using a hip-width stance, facing the wall or piece of exercise equipment (close enough to lean on it) with toes pointed straight forward. Move one leg forward and bend your knee. While keeping  heel of rear leg on floor, press hips forward to get stretch in back of lower leg. Repeat on other leg.

Hold for 6 - 10 seconds to a position of mild discomfort

Posture

Leaning slightly forward, Abs tight, Back neutral and slightly down.




body part table
top of page

Soleus Stretch

Areas Stretched

Back of Lower Leg

This is another exercise that stretches muscles in the lower leg, similar to the one above, but with a slight difference, it focuses on the muscle between the Calf and the Shin bone. When performed correctly you will feel the stretch just above the heel in the Achilles Tendon.

Stand with a hip-width stance one foot just in front of the other leaving about half a foot length gap. Bending at the knees and keeping your back as upright as possible start to lower your body down whilst keeping both heels on the floor resting your bodyweight on the rear foot. Repeat on other leg.

Hold for 6 - 10 seconds to a position of mild discomfort

Posture

Back neutral, Eyes to horizon and Abs tight.



Thigh/Tibialis Stretch

Areas Stretched

Front of Upper Leg and front of Lower Leg

Stand holding onto a secure object, or have one hand raised out to the side for balance.
Raise on
e heel up toward your buttocks, and grasp hold of your foot with one hand at the laces.
Inhale, then exhale slowly pulling your heel to your buttock while gradually pushing your pelvis forward.
Aim to keep both knees together. Repeat on other leg.
If you are unable to grab your leg you may use a towel wrapped around your ankle and pull on that.

Hold for 6 - 10 seconds to a position of mild discomfort

Posture

Back Straight, Eyes to the horizon and Abs tight

Hamstring, Back Stretch

Areas Stretched

Back of upper leg and Lower back

Stand with a shoulder width stance, keeping your hands close to the front of your legs slowly start to bend at the waist and lower down towards the floor.  Gently lower yourself. DO NOT BOUNCE AT BOTTOM OF MOVEMENT as this can result in dislocating the discs in your lower back due to the ballistic forces being produced. If you have a history of lower back problem then try the alternative method featured below.

Hold for 6 - 10 seconds to a position of mild discomfort


Posture

Back Neutral, eyes to the horizon and abs tight.
below, which just concentrates more on the back of the lower leg.



alternative method

Flex your left hip to 90 degrees, placing your leg over the top of a chair or table.  Bending at the waist, lean forward, reaching for your left shin or toes until you feel a stretch on the back of your thigh. Repeat on other leg.

Hold for 6 - 10 seconds to a position of mild discomfort

Posture

Back Neutral, Head to 45 degrees and Abs tight.

Adductor Stretch

Areas Stretched

Inside of Upper Leg

Stand with a wide stance, toes pointing outward as far as comfortably possible. Grab hold of a piece of exercise equipment or face a wall and place your hands against it for balance. Keeping your back straight and bending your knees outward start to lower yourself gently until you feel a gentle stretch in the inside of your thighs.

Hold for 6 - 10 seconds to a position of mild discomfort

Posture

Back Neutral, Eyes to the horizon and Abs tight.



Forearm Stretch 1

Areas Stretched

Front of Lower Arm

Stand with a shoulder-width stance. Hold an arm outstretched in front of you, palm facing down, with other hand gently grab at knuckles,push down and toward you. Repeat on other arm.

Hold for 6 - 10 seconds to a position of mild discomfort.

Posture

Back Neutral, Eyes to the horizon and Abs tight.

Forearm Stretch 2

Areas Stretched

Back of Lower Arm

Stand with a shoulder-width stance. Hold an arm outstretched in front of you, palm facing up, with other hand pull palm of target hand down and toward you. Repeat on other arm.

Hold for 6 - 10 seconds to a position of mild discomfort.

Posture

Back Neutral, Eyes to the horizon and Abs tight.