Stretches for your Hamstrings, IT Band, Low Back, Shins, Calves
By: Michelle Rotell
Make sure to warm up your muscles before stretches. Move your joints around or take a warm shower before stretching. Hold each stretch for 20-30 seconds to get the most benefit. Release gently out of each stretch to prevent injury. Only stretch as far as you are comfortable. You should feel the stretch, but not pain. Breath slowly and controlled during each stretch. Holding your breath prevents you from stretching to your full potential.
Hamstrings, Lower Back: Forward fold: Feet hip distance apart. Bend over and reach to your toes.
IT Band, Low Back, Hamstrings: Cross your right leg over your left. Your right foot may not be flat to the ground. That is ok. Bend over trying to reach to your toes. Keep your knees slightly bent.
Slightly push your left hip to the side. The stretch will be on your left side. Repeat on the other side.
Shins: Great to prevent shin splints: In a standing position, place your right foot over your left foot with the top of your foot toward the ground and toes curled under. Your left shin should be resting on your right calf. Gently bend your left knee to place pressure on the front of your right foot stretching out your shin and the top of your right foot. Repeat on the other side.
Calves: Place your right leg behind you, and bend your left knee. Step 1: Try to press your right heel down with your right leg straight stretching out your gastrocnemius and the back of the knee. Step 2: Slightly bend the back knee and you will feel a different stretch lower in your calves called the soleus.
Hamstrings: Hold one leg up and reach to your toes, repeat on other side.
IT band, glutes, low back inner thigh and hip stretch, Piriformis: (best stretch ever!) Place one leg on the other in a 4 position. Knees bent. Pull your legs into your chest. Repeat on other side.
Low Back, IT Band: Cross right leg over the left. Place arms directly out beside you. Twist body to the left dropping knees to the floor if you are comfortable. Keep legs crossed and twist body to the right keeping your arms directly out. Come back to the center. Repeat by crossing left leg over right. Twist to right, then to left.
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