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It is important to incorporate a short warm-up prior to stretching. Never stretch a “cold muscle”. By performing these stretches, you can improve and maintain your range of motion, reduce stiffness in your joints, reduce post-exercise soreness, reduce the risk of injury and improve your overall mobility and performance. Note: this portion of the program may be moved to the end of your training session. Do a warm-up such as brisk walking for five to 10 minutes before stretching. Gently stretch to a point of tension and hold. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Concentrate on lengthening the muscles you are stretching. Breathe normally.
A. Calf stretch (30 seconds x 2 reps)
Elapsed Time: 10 to 11 minutes
Purpose: stretch the calf muscle of the lower leg
Instruction: Stand leading with your right leg. Bend forward at the waist and place your hands on the ground (V formation). Keep your right knee slightly bent and your left leg straight. Make sure your left foot is flat on the ground. Do not bounce during the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds. Switch sides and repeat.
B. Quadricep stretch (30 seconds x 2 reps)
Elapsed Time: 11 to 12 minutes
Purpose: stretch the quadricep muscle of the front of the thigh
Instruction: Place your left hand on your partner’s left shoulder. Reach back with your right hand and grab the front of your right ankle. Bring your heel to buttock. Make sure your knee is pointed down toward the ground. Keep your right leg close to your left. Don’t allow knee to wing out to the side and do not bend at the waist. Hold for 30 seconds and switch sides
C. Figure Four Hamstring stretch (30 sec x 2 reps)
Elapsed Time: 12 – 13 min
Purpose: To stretch the hamstring muscles of the back of the thigh.
Instruction: Sit on the ground with your right leg extended out in front of you. Bend your left knee and rest the bottom of your foot on your right inner thigh. With a straight back, try to bring your chest toward your knee. Do not round your back. If you can, reach down toward your toes and pull them up toward your head. Do not bounce. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat with the other leg.
D. Inner Thigh Stretch (20 sec x 3 reps)
Elapsed Time: 13 – 14 min
Purpose: Elongate the muscles of the inner thigh (adductor group)
Instruction: Remain seated on the ground. Spread you legs evenly apart. Slowly lower yourself to the center with a straight back. You want to feel a stretch in the inner thigh. Now reach toward the right with the right arm. Bring your left arm overhead the stretch over to the right. Hold the stretch and repeat on the opposite side.
E. Hip Flexor Stretch – (30 sec x 2 reps)
Elapsed Time: 14 - 15 min
Purpose: Elongate the hip flexors of the front of the thigh.
Instruction: Lunge forward leading with your right leg. Drop your left knee down to the ground. Placing your hands on top of your right thigh, lean forward with your hips. The hips should be square with your shoulders. If possible, maintain your balance and lift back for the left ankle and pull your heel to your buttocks. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.