Posted on July 27, 2017 by Louisa Feary

It can be seen as the boring part of a workout. The obligatory stretching that a lot of athletes or fitness fanatics choose to ignore despite knowing that neglecting this section of their workout could cause them serious injury in the future and hinder their training!

So here’s a few simple stretches to help reduce the risk of injury and actually benefit your performance…

1) Hamstring Stretching

Stretching your hamstrings will help them recover after a long run, provide power for cycling and generate more power for use in the gym. It will help with all round flexibility to aid in day to day activities.

-Sitting on the floor with either one or both legs stretched in front of you, keep a straight back and reach towards your toes. Breathe into the stretch and hold. Repeat 3 times.

2) Calf Stretching

Calf stretches reduce the risk of cramping and tightening of the smaller leg muscle. If you’re a runner, this is particularly important but for general walking around stronger calves will alleviate discomfort.

-Take a stair or elevated surface. Stand with toes on and heels off and allow the heels to sink down towards the floor. Hold for 30 seconds, rise up onto tiptoes and repeat 3 times.

3) Back Stretching

An incredibly important part of the stretching process as the back contains core muscles and the spine within it so it’s necessary to protect and strengthen it. Be careful not to over exaggerate the stretches and breathe into them slowly.

– On all fours curve your back to the sky and then to the floor, alternating these movements. Perform them slowly and hold at the highest/lowest part for around 10 seconds before moving on.
– Lie on your front with hands placed by your shoulders. Aim to keep your hips on the floor and push up. Keep your neck relaxed and hold the stretch for around 30 seconds.

4) Shoulder and Bicep Stretching

If you need to reach for anything, push a door or are a swimmer, the range of reasons for stretching and keeping your shoulders and biceps strong is very varied. Do these after a gym session or if you’ve been in the pool.

– Reach one arm across your body and with your other arm pull it closer to you. Keep the crossed arm stretched long and straight to gain the maximum stretch for you. Hold and repeat on the other arm.

Always maintain a strong core during these stretches and stop if you feel any unpleasant or sharp pain. Breathe into all these stretches to encourage oxygen to the muscles and, if in doubt, ask an instructor or take part in a yoga class.

Enjoy feeling the benefits of looking after your body!