Stretching is vital to keeping the joints and muscles flexible, strong, and less susceptible to injury. It is also the most overlooked key to physical fitness. Muscle mass without flexibility does not equal fit and healthy. Introducing a regular and thorough stretching routine into your daily workout is a must if you are looking for real and long term strength and vitality. Stretching before and after your workout improves the range of motion of your muscles and reduces the likelihood of tears. To boost your flexibility and prevent injury, try these basic stretches before your next workout and then read on to learn how the addition of Yoga is essential to the modern athlete’s long-term health regimen.
- Calf Stretch
Stand two to three feet from a wall. Rest your hands against the wall at about shoulder level, then lean in until you can feel the stretch in the back of your calves. Do not bend at the waist. Instead, keep your knees straight, body erect and hips forward with your heels on the ground. Hold the position for up to one minute.
- Hamstring Stretch
Lie on the floor near a door frame or wall corner. Raise your right leg and rest the heel against the wall or frame, bending the knee slightly. Gently straighten the leg until you can feel the stretch along the back of your right thigh. Hold the pose for about 30 seconds, then repeat on the other leg.
- Shoulder Stretch
Bring your right arm across your chest and hold it with your right arm near the elbow. Hold the pose for about 30 seconds to loosen your shoulder muscles, then switch arms and repeat.
- Internal Rotator Stretch with Towel
Hold a rolled-up towel behind your back with both hands, stretching it from your lower back to just above your head. With your top hand, slowly pull the towel toward the ceiling. Your lower hand will gently be pulled farther up your back, and you will feel the stretch in your shoulder. Hold the position for 30 seconds, and then repeat after you switch hands.
These stretches are just as essential to your workout as GRIPAD weightlifting gloves. GRIPAD gym grips protect your hands while you lift, and these stretches protect your muscles throughout your workout. It is also becoming more apparent to athletes everywhere that Yoga should be an essential part of your routine. The beauty of yoga is that there is a class for everyone. Very high intensity fast paced Yoga classes, to hot Yoga that cleanses and energizes, to more relaxing yoga that can provide a necessary cool down from a stressful day or workout. There are just as many classes that don’t involve spirituality or chanting either, so don’t shy away because you think you won’t fit in. Research the place and teacher. Most gyms that offer yoga, offer it strictly from a fitness aspect. Most well-tuned athletes know that to maintain a healthy fitness routine you need to master the mind over the body, and yoga is also a priceless tool that has been used for many millennia to achieve just that.
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