Assisted Stretching for the Everyday Athlete
by Emily Hamilton, BA Kin (Hons), R.Kin.
Stretches to improve Athletic Performance
Are you an everyday athlete?
The everyday athlete is someone who engages in a basic level of activity (sports, exercise, walking, running, cycling, yoga, etc.) on a daily basis. They make conscious decisions to engage in activities that increase their well-being and fitness. They balance the demands of family, work, and fitness. They know how they should be exercising and stretching to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Despite knowing that they should be stretching more frequently, they often don’t make time for proper stretching.
What are some of the common symptoms experienced by
- Chronically tight and/or sore muscles
- Tightness on one side of the body compared to the other
- Lower back, upper back, and neck pain and tension
- Hunched shoulders and tight chest muscles
- Forward head posture
- Pelvis misalignment
- Tightness in the hips
- Limited range in a particular joint
FLXME can help you recover faster, feel better, and
improve athletic performance!
Our clients often tell us, “I know I should be stretching more, but I just don’t. And now I have [enter one or more of the symptoms listed above].” Sound familiar? If so, a one-on-one full body stretch at FLXME might be exactly what you need!
Stretching is a great tool to improve posture and flexibility. Improvement in flexibility provides greater range of motion when using weights, exercising and playing sports. It also helps to alleviate strain and pain in overworked muscles, making movement easier. Stretching increases blood flow to the muscles, relieving stiffness, and improves muscle recovery and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which lowers the risk of injury. Assisted stretching leaves you with a feeling of wellness that is impossible to get by stretching on your own. You have to experience a FLXME stretch to understand. You’ll leave feeling lighter, looser, taller, relaxed, and rejuvenated.
Assisted stretching leaves you with a feeling of wellness that is impossible to get by stretching on your own. You have to experience a FLXME stretch to understand.
Stretches for the everyday athlete
Below are a few of the muscle groups that I like to target with my clients to help alleviate their muscle soreness and speed recovery.
This stretch targets the adductor muscles. These muscles are often forgotten when you stretch on your own.
You’ll feel this stretch on the inside of the upper leg and groin area. These muscles are used in side-to-side movements, like skating or playing squash or tennis.
They also play a role in balancing the pelvis during standing and walking. If one side is tighter than the other, it can change the way you walk, and cause imbalance, muscle compensation, and even pain in the groin, knees, hips or back.
With full mobility, you should be able to get the leg to 90 degrees from the table while keeping your hips down and level on the table.
Tight hamstrings can contribute to low back and knee pain, as it is a multi-joint muscle group that runs down the body from the pelvis to behind the knee.
The hamstrings are used when you walk, run, jump, climb stairs, kick or squat. If you play a sport, you will have, at one time or another, experienced muscle tightness and soreness at the back of your legs from working your hamstring muscles.
This stretch helps to open up the chest and stretch the pec muscles, which are almost always tight from exercise and computer work.
Tight chest muscles can lead to hunched posture and rounded shoulders. Tight chest muscles negatively impact pushing and pulling motions and restrict range in the shoulders for overhead arm movements. All of these restrictions have a negative impact on athletic performance. Strengthening the back and stretching the front is a winning combination!
The Everyday Athlete and Assisted Stretching:
THE PERFECT MATCH
Stretching is an important component in maximizing athletic performance and keeping our bodies loose as we put stress on our muscles during activity.
Limited mobility negatively impacts our ability to perform exercises to our full potential and can increase the risk of injury.
With assisted stretching, we can help build healthy muscles by keeping them flexible, limber and lengthened. Healthy muscles will help your workout to be more effective, and you will see improvements in well-being in all areas of your life.
Emily Hamilton, BA Kin (Hons), R.Kin.
Emily is a Stretch Therapist and a Registered Kinesiologist at FLXME. She has worked in physiotherapy and sports medicine clinics, helping both athletes and everyday people reach their rehabilitation goals.
(1) BoxRox Competitive Fitness Magazine. 2016. Effective Stretching Exercises to Improve CrossFit Performance & Recovery. Available at: https://www.boxrox.com/crossfit-stretching-exercises/ Accessed on October 28th, 2018.
(2) Athletic Muscle. CrossFit Stretches: The Ultimate Guide to Stretching. Available at: https://athleticmuscle.net/crossfit-stretches/ Accessed on October 28th, 2018.
(3) CrossFit: The Journey. 2017. You’re Probably Stretching Wrong. Available at: https://journal.crossfit.com/article/flexibility/ Accessed on October 28th, 2018.