Not everybody is the same
Not everyone of us are gymnasts. Remember to focus on maintaining adequate flexibility for your sports and activity level. As different sports emphasize different muscle groups, so there is a need to be sport-specific. You should concentrate on the range of motions and the muscle groups that you are likely to use in your sport.
Take a ballet dancer for example, he or she begins slowly, with one hand on the bar, before beginning high kicks out on the floor.
Stretch for a longer time
To lengthen tissue safely, hold your stretches for at least 30 seconds - and up to a minute with a particularly tight muscle or problem area.
Stretch 'heated' muscles
Always do warm up first. Walk before you jog, jog before you run, etc. This is because stretching a cold muscle can strain and irritate the tissue. Warm up first. It is most beneficial to stretch after you exercise, when the muscle is heated by blood flow and is more accommodating of a stretch.
Do not bounce
Do not bounce, as bouncing can cause microtrauma in the muscle, which must heal itself with scar tissue. The scar tissue tightens the muscle, making you less flexible and more prone to pain.
Remember to go for balance in flexibility on each side of your body. For example, you may be more prone to injury if one hamstring is tighter than the other.
Never be afraid to ask
To improve your stretching technique, you can get the help of a sports medicine specialist, athletic trainer, physical therapist, or health-club advisor.
STRETCH YOUR FACE~ The Face Squeeze
This simple maneuver can relax your facial muscles, especially those around your eyes and in your forehead. Do it as often as you like. While sitting, squeeze your eyes and close your mouth tightly. Hold for five seconds, then release. Repeat several times.
STRETCH YOUR NECK~ Relax And Roll
Relax your shoulders and let your head roll forward, chin to chest. Slowly rotate your head in a circle without straining your neck. Repeat five times. Relax, and rotate in the opposite direction and repeat five times. Try not to raise your shoulders as you do this exercise.
STRETCH YOUR WRIST~ Wrist Rotation
This is a "wrist loosener" that should be done several times an hour if you work on a keyboard all day. Done regularly, it can help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. Start with your elbows tucked in, palms facing your body, fingers up. Rotate your hands inward from the wrist, so that your fingers are facing each other, then continue rotating until your fingers are facing downward, then change directions and rotate back up (palms remain facing body throughout the exercise).
STRETCH YOUR ARM~ The "Apple Picker"
This stretch relieves tension in your arms, sides and waist. It feels great when done slowly and smoothly, so take your time and don't rush it. Perform the stretch first thing in the morning and periodically throughout the day. Stretch your arms up, one at a time, as high as you can, as if you were trying to pick an apple from a tree. Repeat 10 times, alternating sides.
STRETCH YOUR SHOULDER ~ Shoulder Rolls
This exercise, done at least three times a day, can relax your shoulders. You may do this one shoulder at a time or both together. Sit or stand with your back straight. Lift your shoulders as high as you can. Bring them forward. Push them down. Pull your shoulders back, and then return to starting position. Repeat in the opposite direction. Repeat three to five times.
STRETCH YOUR CHEST~ Tarzan Stretch
This is a good way to "open up" the chest muscles after you have been sitting and leaning forward all day at your desk. Interlace your fingers behind your back, palms facing in. Raise and straighten your arms, squeezing your shoulder blades together and "opening up" your chest. Hold for five to 10 seconds. Repeat five to 10 times.
STRETCH YOUR TRUNK ~ Reach And Stretch
This stretch is good for your arms and body trunk. Done slowly, it also serves as a great relaxer. Try not to bend forward as you lean to the right or left. Stand with your feet spread shoulder width apart. Raise one arm, then bend sideways, reaching over your head until your arm is parallel to the floor (or as far as you can). Hold for five to 10 seconds. Repeat with other arm.
STRETCH YOUR BACK~ Low back stretches
A: Pull your left knee toward your shoulder
with both hands. Hold for 30 seconds. Return to starting position. Pull
your right knee toward your shoulder with both hands. Hold for 30 seconds.
Return to starting position.
STRETCH YOUR TRUNK ~ "Cat" stretches
Get down on your hands and knees. Slowly let your back sag toward the floor in order to get movement throughout your back and pelvis. Then slowly arch your back away from the floor.
STRETCH YOUR HIP~ Hip flexor stretches
Lie on your back on a table or bed with your leg and hip as near the edge as possible. Pull your other thigh and knee firmly toward your chest until your lower back flattens against the table. Let your other leg hang in a relaxed position over the edge of the table or bed. Hold for 30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat.
STRETCH YOUR HIP~ Hip adductor stretches
A: Lie on your back on a firm surface with
your hips and knees bent and feet flat. Gently let your knees fall apart,
keeping the soles of your feet together until you feel an inner thigh
STRETCH YOUR LEG~ Hamstring stretches
Keep your back straight as you lie in a doorway. Raise one leg against the wall until you feel a gentle stretch behind your knee. Keep the leg on the floor straight, well-aligned with your back. Hold for 30 seconds. Switch legs.
STRETCH YOUR LEG~ Quadriceps stretches
Stand facing the wall. Place your free hand against the wall for support. Grasp the top of your right foot with your right hand and gently pull the heel toward your buttocks until you feel mild tension in your quadriceps muscle. Tighten your stomach muscles to keep your back from sagging inward. Do not lock the knee of your supporting leg and keep the leg you are stretching directly under you. Relax as you hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.
STRETCH YOUR LEG~ Calf stretch
Stand at arm's length from a wall with your palms flat against the wall. Slowly bend your elbows and lean toward the wall. Keep the involved leg back with the knee straight and the heel flat on the floor. Hold for 30 seconds.
STRETCH YOUR ANKLE~ Ankle Rotation
While standing, lift one foot up. Then rotate your ankle by moving your toes in circular motion. Switch feet and repeat. This helps to loosen your ankle joints.
Deep breathing is probably the simplest and most effective relaxation technique. Shallow, rapid breathing is a common reaction to stress. So deep, slow breathing can actually interrupt your stress response and help you to relax. Close your eyes. Breathe out slowly and completely through your mouth. Watch your stomach "cave in" as you breathe out. Now breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose. Watch your stomach expand as you breathe in. Hold for five seconds, then exhale and begin the cycle again. Repeat at least five times.
Shake It Out
Imagine the way a dog shakes off after getting wet. Shake the following parts of your body like that wet dog:
? Your arms and hands
? Your legs and feet
? Your head
? Your shoulders