Stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy, and we need that flexibility to maintain a range of motion in the joints. Without it, the muscles shorten and become rigid. Then, when you call on the muscles for activity, they are weak and unable to extend all the way. That puts you at risk for joint pain, strains, and muscle damage.
For example, sitting in a chair all day results in tight hamstrings. That can make it harder to extend your leg or straighten your knee all the way, which inhibits walking. Likewise, when tight(stiff) muscles are suddenly called on for a strenuous activity that stretches them, such as playing tennis, they may become damaged from suddenly being stretched. Injured muscles may not be strong enough to support the joints, which can lead to joint injury.
Regular stretching keeps muscles long, lean, and flexible.
The most common type of stretching, static stretching, is executed by extending the targeted muscle group to its maximal point and holding it for 30 seconds or more.
There are two types of static stretches:
- Active: Added force is applied by the individual for greater intensity
- Passive: Added force is applied by an external force (e.g., partner or assistive device) to increase the intensity
Static Stretching Drills
Stretches that are strongly suggested to be performed after running during cool down: Upper Back Stretch, Shoulder Stretch, (standing) Hamstring Stretch, Calf Stretch, Hip, and Thigh Stretch, Adductor Stretch, Standing Iliotibial Band Stretch, Standing Shin Stretch.
1) UPPER BACK STRETCH
Stand tall, feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent. Interlock your fingers and push your hands as far away from your chest as possible, allowing your upper back to relax. You should feel the stretch between your shoulder blades.
2) SHOULDER STRETCH
Stand tall, feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent. Place your right arm, parallel with the ground across the front of your chest. Bend the left arm up and use the left forearm to ease the right arm closer to your chest. You will feel the stretch in the shoulder. Repeat with the alternative arm.
3) HAMSTRING STRETCH
Sit on the ground with both legs straight out in front of you, bend the left leg and place the sole of the left foot alongside the knee of the right leg. Allow the left leg to lie relaxed on the ground, bend forward keeping the back straight. You will feel the stretch in the hamstring of the right leg. Repeat this cycle with the other leg.
4) STANDING HAMSTRING STRETCH
Stand with your left leg one step in front of your right foot, bend your right knee, and sit your weight on it. Toes of your front foot point up to the sky, with hands folded on the thigh. Tilt the hips forwards as if sticking your bum in the air, keeping your back straight, hold when you feel a comfortable stretch. Repeat this cycle with the other leg.
5) CALF STRETCH
Stand tall with one leg in front of the other, hands flat and at shoulder height against a wall. Ease your back leg further away from the wall, keeping it straight and press the heel firmly into the floor. Keep your hips facing the wall and the rear leg and spine in a straight line. You will feel the stretch in the calf of the rear leg. Hold the stretch and then repeat this cycle with the other leg.
6) HIP AND THIGH STRETCH
Stand tall with your feet approximately two shoulder widths apart. Turn the feet and face to the right. Bend the right leg so that the right thigh is parallel with the ground and the right lower leg is vertical. Gradually lower the body keeping your back straight and use the arms to balance. You will feel the stretch along the front of the left thigh and along with the hamstrings of the right leg. Hold a comfortable stretch and repeat by turning and facing to the left.
7) ADDUCTOR STRETCH
Stand tall with your feet approximately two shoulder widths apart, bend the right leg and slowly lower the body keeping your back straight and use the arms to balance. You will feel the stretch in the left leg adductor. Hold the stretch just before the pain level and repeat this cycle with the left leg.
8) STANDING ILOPTOBIAL BAND STRETCH
Cross one leg in front of the other leg, bend down and touch your toes, move your hands across the floor toward the front leg to put more stretch on the outside of your thigh on the other side. Repeat the cycle with the other leg.
9) QUADRICEPS STRETCH
Stand tall, hold or lean to an object to keep your balance. Grasp the top of your ankle or forefoot behind you and pull the ankle towards the buttocks. Repeat this cycle with the opposite leg.
10) STANDING SHIN STRETCH
Stand tall holding or leaning to an object to keep your balance. Grasp your forefoot behind you. Pull your forefoot toward your lower back and look forward. Hold the stretch at a comfortable level and repeat this cycle with your other leg.
Kt tape is being used for years now, prevention and treatment of sports injury being its main game. KT tape shines bright over other areas as well!
Kinesiology tape beats other tapes to the table while stretching is involved simply because of its elasticity. Kt tape is curated to stretch up to 40% beyond its length while applying kt tape the anchor ends of the kt tape should always be pressed with no stretch to it. Overstretching of the kt tape during application might lead to skin irritation or a not so great experience.
KT is both waterproof and breathable which makes it easy to use during exercise, showering and even swimming. It dries quickly and seldom causes skin irritation.