Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Stretching

Good evening out there,
As you know by now, I am a little handicapped with my right leg for this week, but I feel the urgent need of some exercise or at least a stretch of my uninjured muscles. So today I will concentrate on stretching and balancing.
There are 4 different ways of stretching:
  1. Static stretching
  2. Active stretching
  3. Dynamic stretching
  4. PNF stretching

1. Static stretch means holding a muscle group stretched for about 30 seconds, repeat this 4 times. This is best used as post-workout. Static stretching is helping to improve your flexibility in the long run.
2. Active stretch means to hold the muscle group that needs to be stretched with the opposite muscle. If you try out this stretch, you will notice that you won't be able to hold it longer than 10 seconds.
3. A dynamic stretch is pretty much described in its name. You are keeping your muscles moving/dynamic. This kind of stretch is doing barely anything for your flexibility but I strongly suggest to implement the dynamic stretch into your warm-up. Trust me its a good thing to do. I should have done that last weekend as I normally do.
4. Last but not least there is the PNF stretch (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation Stretch), which provides you as well with an improvement of flexibility in the long run. The PNF stretch is often done with a partner, but you can also use a rubber band or tower. An example how to do the PNF stretch of e.g. the hamstrings (muscle group on the backside of your upper leg): lay on the ground, lift one leg vertically up, keep the other straight on the ground. Take a towel and hold your leg vertically upright (don't bend) with a slight stretch in the back of your leg - only a slight discomfort should be felt on the hamstrings. Then contract the hamstrings isometrically for up to 5 seconds (means don't move, just contract the muscle without changing its length of the muscle). After releasing the contraction, use the quadriceps (front muscle group of your upper leg) to further move the leg toward your torso until the discomfort is felt again. Hold the position with your towel and contract the hamstrings isometrically. Repeat this procedure another 2 times.
So to summarize: Use the dynamic stretch for your warmup, and use the static stretch or PNF stretch for your post workout. Keep breathing throughout the stretches, all together is will also relax you.
So what did I do today? I used mainly the dynamic and PNF stretch for my legs, static stretch for my shoulders and torso. I needed about 30mins for everything. 
I hope you enjoy your workout today. Good evening!

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