A little different than most Fitness Fridays, I wanted to talk a little about Stretching. I personally don't stretch enough and I've suffered the consequences. I've been going to the Chiropractor to help relieve the pain I've been enduring after all this strength training. To help alleviate the pain, I am trying out some strength and stretch exercises. Here are some of my favorite muscle stretch and strengthening moves.
Forearm stretching - Place your hand in front of your body with the elbow straight and the palm down. Let gravity bend the wrist forward. With your other hand, gently push the wrist further until you feel a good stretch. Hold for 30-40 seconds. Close your fingers gently to increase the stretching sensation.
Tricep Stretch - Stand with you hand behind your neck and your elbow pointing upwards. Then use your other hand to pull your elbow down. Hold for 20 seconds. Repeat other arm.
Shoulder punch - Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart holding 5-pound dumbbells in each hand at your waist. Punch with your right hand toward your left side by twisting your trunk, rotating on the ball of the right foot and transferring your weight to your left leg. The more you can pull back the non-punching hand the more shoulder turn you will achieve. Now repeat this movement in the opposite direction as quickly as you can while maintaining good balance and even weight transfer. Punch 12 times per side, rest.
Knee Pull - Lie down on the floor with knees bent at 45 degree angle. Keep your head, hips, and feet in a straight line. Pull one knee to your chest, hold for 10 seconds.
Mini Squat - Stand on your right foot. Reach forward for balance and do a mini squat. Ensure knees don't pass toes and keep knees together. Repeat 10 times with each leg.
Squat and Twist - Squat down, and rotate torso to the right. Rise back up. Repeat squat but rotate torso to the other side. Repeat 15 times.
Cat Pose - Start in a tabletop position with your hands under the shoulders and knees underneath the hips. As you push your hips back toward your heels, keep both hands in place on the floor and allow the arms to stretch over the head. If you can, rest the buttocks on the heels and the forehead on the floor. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
Plank - Lie face down resting on forearms, with palms flat on floor. Push off the floor, raising up onto toes and resting on elbows. Keeping your back flat, make sure your hips are parrallel with the floor. Tilt your pelvis and contract your abs to prevent your rear from sticking up in the air or sagging. Hold for 30 seconds, or 1 minute for advanced.
Cobra - Inhale, come forward to a plank position. Exhale, lower down onto your belly. Place your forehead on the floor and your palms flat directly under your shoulders. Inhale, engage the muscles of your lower back, press the tops of the feet into the floor, and lift the upper chest off the floor while keeping your gaze on the floor. Exhale, lower your forehead back to the floor. Repeat this motion three to five times.