Stretching is an important habit to get into no matter what your line of work or level of exercise – it keeps the muscles limber and prevents tears, keeps joints strong and provides a great resting activity to achieve deeper levels of calm. At higher levels of mastery, more complex techniques can take your stretch to the next level – these are just a few of the ones you can consider.
Resistance Band Stretches
In basic stretches, the only tool necessary is the human body and maybe a yoga mat – but for more complex stretches, use of a resistance band can elevate your workout. Although there are any resistance band workouts, this process is one of the most simple.
- Wrap the resistance band around something above head height – it often helps to have two points of stress here. Pull-up bars that mount onto doorways can pull great double duty here.
- Either face the band’s mount or face away – if you’re facing away, you’re going to work out your pecs, or towards to work out your lats.
- Take hold of the band with one arm, straightening as much as possible, and lean away until you feel tension through that limb.
- Hold this stretch for 30 seconds to a minute depending on limberness.
Advanced Yoga Poses
Whether you’re stretching to prepare for a workout or just to relax, implementing yoga in your stretch routine can be a great way to center your body’s balance – particularly with standing poses such as the Tree, which when performed properly tones muscles throughout the body and serves as a natural remedy for flat feet. The Tree is one of the most basic poses or ‘asanas’.
More advanced poses include ones like the Dragon, a ground pose that compresses the spine and hips to hone the hamstrings and other muscles in the lower body.
Utilize Cartwheels and Gymnastics
Often, people with a long history of stretching find that gymnastic techniques come easier to them than to laymen – a result of the simple fact that the two exercises feed into one another. Gymnasts need to be limber and capable of rhythmic movement, which stretching bolsters – but performing gymnastics can also serve as an invaluable method of resistance and impact therapy whilst stretching.
In performing a cartwheel, for example, the rotation of the body’s limbs allows for a relatively simple movement that puts the body’s weight on a rapid assortment of muscles in a short period of time – these muscles are worked in a way that doesn’t result in actual bulking, which would prove counter-intuitive to advanced stretches.
There are a wide range of options for those looking to improve their stretching techniques, and these are only a few – as you become more advanced you’ll learn more and more methods of improving your flexibility and tone.