Static Cool Down Stretches

 

By Rick Morris

 

Static stretches are the most commonly performed stretches. When doing these stretches you assume the specific stretch position and hold it for about 20 to 30 seconds. You should stretch only until you feel a slight pull on your muscle. Never stretch to the point of pain and never bounce or make rapid movements. Do these stretches after your training run or race, not before.

 

These stretches will increase the flexibility of the “belly” or main part of your muscles as well as decreasing the sensitivity of tension receptors in your muscle. When the sensitivity of these receptors are lessened it allows your muscle to relax and lengthen even further.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some people use the terms static stretching and passive stretching interchangeably. They are not the same. Static and passive stretches are the same. The difference is in how they are performed. You provide the force required for static stretching by using an opposing muscle group, using your body weight or pushing and pulling. When doing passive stretching you relax completely and let a machine or a helper provide the stretching force.

 

Hamstring Stretch

 

Lie on your back in a supine position. Keep your right foot on the ground with your knee bent at 90 degrees. Raise your left leg up, grab it below your ankle and pull it toward your shoulders. Pull your leg until your feel a slight pull. Hold that position for about 20 seconds. Switch your leg positions and repeat.

 

Hip Stretch

 

This exercise will stretch the iliopsoas muscle on the front of your hip. Move your right leg forward until your knee is directly over your ankle. Your left leg should be stretched out behind you with your knee on the ground. Now lower and push your hips down and forward to create a gentle stretch. Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds. Switch your leg positions and repeat.

 

Quadriceps Stretch

 

While standing on your left foot, pull your right foot up toward your right hip. Keep your lower leg aligned with your thigh. Do not pull your lower leg to the right or left. Pull until you feel a gentle stretch. Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds. Switch leg positions and repeat.

 

Butterfly Stretch

 

This is an exercise that will stretch the adductor (groin)muscles of your inner thigh. Start in a sitting position with your knees out and the soles of your feet together. Grab your toes and pull them gently upward. At the same use your elbows to gently push outward on your knees. You should feel a slight stretch on your inner thigh. Hold this position for about 20 to 30 seconds.

 

Pretzel Stretch

 

This exercise will stretch your upper back, lower back, hips and illiotibial band. Start is a sitting position with your right leg straight. Bend your left knee and cross it over your right leg so that it rests on the outside of your right knee. Now place your right elbow on the outside of your left knee. While supporting your body with your left hand twist your body to the left. Turn and look in that same direction. Hold that position for 20 to 30 seconds. Switch leg positions and repeat.

 

Calf Stretch

 

There are two muscles in your calf that you should stretch. The largest and most visible muscle is called the gastrocnemius muscle. This is the large one you can see on the back of your lower leg. Underneath your gastrocnemius muscle is your soleus muscle. Your gastrocnemius muscle does most of the work when your knee is straight. When your knee is bent your soleus muscle contributes more work.

To stretch your gastrocnemius muscle lie face down with your arms supporting your upper body in a push up position. Place your left foot over the back of your right ankle. Keep your right leg straight. With your toes flat on the ground push back so that your right heel is forced towards the ground. Hold that position for 20 to 30 seconds. Reverse leg positions and repeat.

To stretch your soleus muscle perform the same exercise except bend your leg at the knee. This will bring your soleus muscle more into the stretch.

 

Shoulder Stretch

 

This exercise will stretch your shoulder, triceps and upper back. Grab your left elbow with your right hand and pull it gently across your chest toward your left shoulder. Hold that position for

 

 

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