Monday, November 2, 2009

Stretch, Stretch, Stretch!

I've had a few people ask me about the stretches that I do daily so I thought I'd give you a recap of what I do. The stretching exercises I do are very simple and basic and only take me about 15 minutes out of my day. I never stretch before a run or bike ride, but always after. On the days I don't run or ride I still stretch, but I wait until my bath to do so. That's because I want my muscles to be warmed up before I stretch them.

I begin with sitting with my legs together in front of me and bending over and touching my head to my knees. (Trust me - this took lots of weeks before I could go down this far) I hold it for a count of 8 and I do eight of them.

Groin or inner leg stretch: Seated, put the soles of your feet together. With your elbows on the inside of your knees, gradually lean forward and gently press your knees toward the ground, holding for 8 seconds, 8 reps.

Next, I do piriformis stretches:

Sit with one leg straight out in front. Hold onto the ankle of your other leg and pull it directly towards your chest.

I also do this piriformis stretching exercise:

To stretch the piriformis muscle, start by laying on your back with both knees bent. Cross your right leg over the left, placing your right ankle on your left knee.

Next, reach down and grab your left thigh with both hands, and pull back towards your chest. You should feel a stretch on the outside of your right hip.

Hold the stretch for 5-10 seconds, and repeat 5-10 times (I hold for 8 seconds, repeat 8 times)

I do a simple calf stretch, sitting with my legs straight out in front of me, and no, this is not me. LOL I gently pull on my toes to stretch my calves, holding for 8 seconds, 8 repeats.

There's also this one:

Sit with both legs straight. Loop a rope around the ball of one foot and grasp each end of the rope. Flex your foot back toward your ankle, toes toward your knee.

Hamstring stretch: Lie on floor with legs straight out in front of you. Use a rope like the calf stretch, wrapping it around one foot the same way, then lift that leg straight up as far as you can in front of you, keeping the other leg flat on the ground. Hold for 8 seconds, 8 reps. Do the same for the other leg.

Gluteal muscle stretch: Sit with legs straight out in front of you, bend one leg and cross that foot over your other legs and put it next to the outside of that knee. Wrap your arm around the bent knee and twist your body toward that knee, gently pulling that knee toward your chest. Hold for 8 seconds, 8 reps; repeat for other leg.

IT Band stretch: 3 sets, holding for 30 seconds each time.

Place the leg you want to stretch behind the other one.
  • Keep the foot on the floor and push your hips out to the other side.
  • Hold for 30 seconds
  • Never bounce when stretching, always ease into it gently and try to relax.
Quad stretch: 3 sets, holding for 30 seconds each one, make sure you keep your balance by holding on to a steady object with the other hand.

Exercises for the foot and ankle:

Put 10 small objects on the floor--like marbles or Monopoly pieces--and place a small cup nearby. Using your toes, pick up the pieces one at a time and put them in the cup. I do 3 sets of ten for each foot. I use marbles.

Standing on stable ground, balance on one foot with your eyes open. Once you can do that for one minute, try it with your eyes closed. I do this at the gym on a balance pad. I can't manage it with my eyes closed though.

Back exercises
: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat to the floor. Cup your hands just under your knees. Using your arms for support, gently pull your knees to your chest. Hold for 20 seconds, then lower your legs to the floor. Repeat 3 times.

I know it seems like a lot, but it really doesn't take much time and is well worth the effort. I have never been able to touch my toes; couldn't even reach halfway down. Now I can put my hands flat on the floor.


  1. thanks for sharing your stretches with us! :) your so thoughtful! :)

  2. Thanks for the stretching post! I see a couple I should be doing. : )

  3. I will have to take up stretching (beyond the basics) soon...
    Eh! Maybe not!

    Gina - I hope you're OK after yesterday's fall! Sorry about the fall, but you still got some miles in!

  4. Yay, my fall didn't interfere with my marathon!