Stretching Exercises for improving flexibility and preparing for a workout or race
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Transcript of Stretching Exercises for improving flexibility and preparing for a workout or race
StretchingExercises for improving flexibility and preparing for a workout or race
Part I: StretchingStatic stretching is the old school system of stretching. This entailed sitting on the ground and doing the hurdler reach, toe touches, butterfly, etc.
There are two major types of stretching Static and DynamicDynamic stretching is actually moving while kicking, lunging, high knee stepping, etc.
DebateThe debate about stretching started years ago when a Harvard study showed that many runners over-stretch and because of that they aggravate injuries.
In November 2008 the NY Times printed a report on a UNLV study that showed athletes had a 30% decrease in performance after static stretching as opposed to dynamic stretching.
DebateThe debate between static and dynamic is over which type of stretching is preferable for what type of practice or race. Static stretching extends the tendons and muscles which then causes the tendons and muscles to want to relax. Therefore stretching in this fashion allows tight muscles to relax both before and after running
Static StretchesCalves & Achilles TendonHamstringInner thighButt
Static StretchesButt and Lower BackButt and IT BandHip FlexorIT Band
DebateDynamic stretching does not extend or cause relaxation, instead it preps the tendons and muscles to performTherefore, an athlete should use dynamic stretching prior to a run to engage muscle memory for hard running. These exercises look like drills as one can see by the surrounding photos. These exercises should not be done after a run since they will not help the muscles relax.
Dynamic StretchesSTRAIGHT-LEG MARCH (for the hamstrings and gluteus muscles)Kick one leg straight out in front of you, with your toes flexed toward the sky. Reach your opposite arm to the upturned toes. Drop the leg and repeat with the opposite limbs. Continue the sequence for at least six or seven repetitionsHANDWALKS (for the shoulders, core muscles and hamstrings) Stand straight, with your legs together. Bend over until both hands are flat on the ground. Walk your hands forward until your back is almost extended. Keeping your legs straight, inch your feet toward your hands, then walk your hands forward again. Repeat five or six time
Dynamic StretchesLunges with torso twist ( taking a deep knee step while taking the opposite elbow and touching the forward knee. The next step is the opposite leg with the opposite knee.)
Butt kicks. ( while walking bring back the bent leg until the heal reaches the butt. You can also help this by pulling the leg back to touch the higher section of butt. Take a couple steps before doing the other leg.)
Dynamic StretchesHeel walking is a great exercise to prevent and or alleviate shin splints. The athlete will walk forward and also backward with their toes pointed upward.Toe walking is a great exercise to prevent and or alleviate shin splints. The athlete will walk forward and also backward with their toes pointed downward landing on the toe pads and balls of the feet
Dynamic StretchesC Skip Agility Drill (One step raises the knee straight, at the skip the next step has the knee turning out allowing the hips to rotate before the knee goes up in the turned out position the leg then returns to the ground. The athlete then skips on the ground and does the same with the other leg
Timed /Hard Run StretchingThe coaches have told you they are doing a timed/hard run. This information should help you determine the sequence of stretching.If I am healthy and going to have a hard run I would still do some light static stretching. It is important that I do not over extend while I:Stretch my achilles, hamstringsUse a roller of foam cylinder for IT band, quads, etc.Then I am doing some dynamic stretches which would help me with my first mile (being ready to run). For example I would do:Hamstring kicksHand walksHigh Knees and Butt KicksLunges with torso twistC Skip Agility Drill
Medium Run StretchingThe coaches have informed me that this upcoming practice is a medium run. Perhaps this run will have some tempo section to it, but it is not starting out fast. In other words my body will not have to take off fast from the start.If I am healthy and going to have a medium run I would still do some light static stretching. It is important that I do not over extend while I stretch my achilles, quads and hamstrings.Since this is a medium run, I am not that concerned with dynamic stretching. I do not plan on going out on the run that fast.Post run static stretching will help with relaxation. The extending during this type of stretching will help relax the leg muscles and tendons
Recovery Run StretchingWe raced hard the day before or we had a hard timed run the day before. This usually means the next day run is a recovery run. A recovery run will start out slow and therefore, it will not have a fast start either. The major concern is for me not to overstretch any areas of tightness.If I am healthy and going to have a recovery run I would use the run to slowly loosen up. On these runs I am not that concerned with stretching.It is important to remember that this run does not get too fast.On these days doing post run static stretching is a great idea. Therefore those extended reach stretches will help relax the tendons and muscles that are recovering on this practice day.
Race days are unique in that an athlete finds both an individual routine and a team routine of preparation. Individual prep and stretching It is clear that the athlete needs to do both static and dynamic stretching. The runner finds what works best for them. Which static and dynamic exercises work best.Team prep and stretching the team will run approximately one mile and then shortly before the race the team will do some builds. These are slow accelerations that increase in intensity.Race Day Stretching
Part II: Injured AthleteOne of the most common mistakes an athlete makes when they feel a tightness, stiffness or soreness after a workout or race, is that the athlete does not allow the body to heal itself. The mistake is that the athlete over stretches that area and keeps re-aggravating the problem. A couple principles to remember:
Doing a cool down after a hard workout or race is important. Some athletes will actually double back and encourage their teammates at the end of a run.Light slow running will often help with recovery. Slow jogging to loosen up. Stay off hills and uneven terrain. Swimming or pool workouts can also act as therapy.Usually the day after a race is a recovery run day. It is crucial to run that day since lactic acid will be in the body and until exercise it will restrict movement. The run must be slowIf you have a little more than the usual post race tightness then the body needs more than just the recovery activities. But it is important to remember that the body is an incredible healing entity In approximately 72 hours 90% of problems get better. So you may need to ice and cross train for a couple daysBe careful with stretching exercises or deep muscle massages. You do not want to aggravate the area.
Now what about more serious acute injury problemsIt is important to use the RICE system if an injury is more severe than previously mentioned. For example you turned your ankle on the run and it is swelling. R = Rest; I = Ice (20 minutes as cold as you can handle); C = Compression (wrapping, neoprene braces, etc); E = Elevation (above the heart if possible)This is not a chronic problem it is an acute problem. Chronic means it is an ongoing issue while acute means it is an incident which caused the problem.
Injured Athlete A chronic problem never seems to go away no matter what you doFirst check your shoes. Many problems are caused because the athlete is wearing broken down shoes. A pair of shoes is not going last several seasons. No shoe is built to last over 500 running miles.
Second you might need certain shoe inserts called orthotics to correct foot strike issues.
Third you might need to see a doctor and then a physical therapist to help correct a related issue. For example, ones knee might hurt and that knee pain could be caused by an IT band issue. The IT band runs along the upper outside of the leg. Because it is too tight it pulls the knee off balance, resulting in knee pain. Therefore, in order to correct the knee pain one has to deal with the IT band. Detection of this issue is can often be missed by the family doctor, and not discovered until seeing the physical therapist.
Injured AthleteLastly, there are overuse injuries such as tendinitis. The athlete will usually feel the pain in their knees called a Runners KneeAnother overuse injury is achilles tendonitis (pain behind the ankles and below the calf muscle)Shin splints also occur due to tightening in the calf muscles creating pain in the front of the legSevere shin pain can result in a stress fracture which is a usually in the lower front leg area.This occurs because the athlete was not ready to begin serious training. Or a young athlete that is running too much too early, or an older athlete that did not get prepared during the off season.
These athletes need to back off and allow the body to readjust. For example, that athlete might not be able to handle 8 mile runs (due to a lack of running in June) and needs to run with the second group. This is not temporary since moving back up to the top group will take some time, especially since the top group is also increasing their mileage.
ConclusionQuite often athletes can avoid acute and chronic injuries by becoming stronger runners. This type of runner recognizes that just runnin