Find some time to ease into some stretches this week. Lots of my clients are raising their intensity levels in preparation for weddings, holidays and events. This calls for some much needed lengthening!
Don’t overlook stretching as part of your training, it has a long list of benefits from increased flexibility to better muscle condition and injury prevention. Myofascial release is another great way to treat tight muscles and speed up recovery. Foam rollers are inexpensive and are one of my favourite fitness aids. Here are some tips to loosen out any tight spots:
1. TAKE IT SLOW – Ease into a stretch or onto a foam roller. Don’t rush and apply enough pressure to get a good stretch or release. If using a foam roller, move at an inch per second. Slowing down your breath pattern will help keep it smooth and aid relaxation as you stretch and massage out any tension.
2. DON’T PUSH TOO HARD – When stretching you need to be gentle and don’t force it, no bouncing otherwise this could tear the muscle. Linger where it feels good to linger and pause for a few seconds over a tight spot. If using a foam roller you might want to build up to moving in multiple directions and eventually you will feel the muscle release.
3. CALF STRETCH – The calf muscles are a common tight spot and an important area to stretch out. The gastrocnemius is the larger calf muscle and the soleus is smaller and flatter than lies underneath the gastrocnemius. They can get tight from running, increased cardio sessions, high heels, flat shoes or biomechanical problems of the foot. To stretch you can simply use a step to release by dropping your heels off the edge. Try one heel at at time then ease both heels off. Hold for 20 seconds. Alternatively you can push against a wall stepping one leg back and shifting weight onto your front leg, bending at the knee. Feel the back heel reach towards the floor for a great release. Hold for 20 seconds then repeat on the other side.
4. HAMSTRING STRETCH – The hamstrings are a group of three muscles that are responsible for extension of the thigh and flexion of the knee. When the hamstrings are tight it becomes very difficult to touch your toes from standing or sitting. This tightness can have consequences elsewhere in the body and tight hamstrings can lead to lower back tension. Try using a chair, table or barre to rest one leg against with your foot on the chair, table or ankle hooked over the barre. Take an easy spiral twist to lengthen spine (opposite arm to outside knee/thigh) release centre and fully extend your leg as you hop back or push away. Start to rest your head, neck and shoulders down as you fold over and arms reach towards your foot. Take a few deep breaths in this position. Easy inhale and exhale to aid this stretch. Try using your exhale breath to slowly increase the stretch as your chest lowers to thigh. Hold for 20-30 seconds then slowly unfold and repeat on the other leg.
For information on Myofascial release techniques, foam rolling and CLICK HERE.
LDM STRETCH CLASSES
I love stretching and it was a daily part of my routine as a dancer. I created our Stretch class to offer a dynamic Vinyasa flow class combined with static holds and Pilates exercises to encourage mobility & stability. I put my STRALA yoga, dance and Pilates training to good use when formatting LDM Stretch. It's a great compliment to our Signature class, barre class and any high intensity training. You find the chance to move with ease, lengthen, increase blood flow, flexibility, calm the mind, release, relax, tune in or tune out. There are so many benefits from taking the time to stretch and guaranteed you will sleep like a baby.
Contact us for more information on booking LDM Stretch as a corporate class.