28 July 2008

How to Stretch Properly Part2

Naturally, you've all been doing plenty of stretching since I posted about it last week.;-)

Here's part two in our series to keep your lower limbs flexible and keep you on the road to fitness without any breaks for injury.

I've chosen these two fitness tips particularly following a recent conversation with someone who used to suffer a lot of lower back pain. It turned out that tightness in the front of their legs was causing their pelvis to be pulled out of line and the solution to fixing the back was to loosen off the muscles at the front of the hips and the front of the thighs.

So here are the key stretches.

This one is to stretch out the muscles that run along the front of the thigh. This area can become very tight if you train your legs a lot or take part in dynamic sport with quick bursts of speed in a variety of directions. Do this after running and cycling. Also great if you have problems with your knees after workouts.

quad stretches for thighs

Stand upright with a bench or wall next to you for support
Bend your right leg up behind you and grab the laces of the trainer on this foot
Keep your supporting knee bent and knees together
Still standing upright, push the right side of your hip forwards and you'll feel a stretch along the front of the thigh
Hold for 10 seconds, relax and repeat on the other leg

Hip Flexors
The hip flexors and small muscles at the front of your hips. If you sit down a lot these muscles can become shortened and tight which can result in them pulling your pelvis and spine out of natural alignment. To keep them loose:

hip flexors to stretch muscles at front of leg

Stand next to a bench for support
Step your left foot forwards into a half lunge position
Keep your body upright and tilt your pelvis backwards on the right side
Because this muscle can be tight it's best you move very slowly into this stretch - it can feel quite acute
Hold for 10 seconds, relax and repeat on the other leg

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