Stretch Yourself Strong
Sequence demonstrated written by Peta Serras | Images by Bill Delaney
We get it; you’re hot, sweaty, hungry and late for work, which means stretching probably isn’t at the top of your to-do list post-exercise, but that extra 15 to 20 minutes on to the end of your workout could be the difference between good and great results. Stretching can increase mobility and flexibility, and with greater mobility and flexibility comes a wider range of motion and better form, meaning you can hit your muscles optimally each time you train – and maximum muscle activation equals maximum results! What’s more, stretching has been shown to reduce your risk of injury, and we all know that if we get injured, we can’t train … 15 minutes post-workout isn’t looking too bad now, is it?
The below static stretch sequence is perfect for your post-workout glutes, quads, elliptical or running session so you walk away from your workout feeling relaxed, light and limber, and walk into your next session ready to hit those muscles hard.
You will do this stretch sequence twice. Start with the mermaid exercise and work through the stretches. When finished, come back to the mermaid stretch with the opposite leg in front, completing the sequence so you are even on both sides.
Target Muscles: latissimus dorsi, obliques, quadratus lumborum
You will be sitting in a z-sit for this exercise. To get in a z-sit, start by sitting with the legs crossed in front of you. Bend the leg that is in front out to the side so the heel is toward the glute and the knee is pointing forward, as demonstrated above.
Start with the arms in a ‘T’ position and take a deep breath in to prepare.
Exhale to side-bend over to one side, lengthening out through the waist. Hold for a deep breath in.
Exhale to come through centre and over to the other side. Repeat twice each side, keeping the legs in the same position, and then transition onto the next exercise.
Target Muscles: quadriceps, hip flexor
This exercise leads on from the mermaid stretch above, so keep the legs in the same position.
Place the hands behind you and gently ease back until you feel a stretch through the top part of the thigh. Rather than arch through the small of your back, try to bring your pubic bone up toward your belly button.
For a more intense stretch, lay down until you are lying flat on the ground. Hold the stretch, focusing on your breath for 30 seconds.
For the full article and workout, check out the latest issue of Oxygen in all good newsagents, or you can click here to subscribe.
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