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Simple stretches to get ahead of the crowd

As Myotherapists we’re always looking at ways to prevent injury, and at home or work, stretching is always a good start.

The main thing with stretching is you DO NOT want any PAIN! Just take the body though its range of movement until you feel a nice gentle pull or tug.

I’ve put together a group of stretches including those for posture, post workout, injury management and injury prevention. Following this blog, we’ll go through some pre-workout protocols along with spikey ball and foam roller workouts. But here are a few stretches to get you going!
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Calves

There are two main muscles in your calves, one is the gastrocnemius and the other the soleus and it’s important to stretch them both. Give these two a go and your calves will be forever grateful. These are fantastic stretches for preventing calf and Achilles injuries.

Gastrocnemius

• Stand facing a wall with your arms straight in front of you and your hands flat against the wall
• Keep one leg forward with the knee bent, the other leg will be extended behind you with the heel flat on the floor. Try not to bend the back leg
• Lean against the wall until you can feel a stretch in your back leg
• Hold for 30 seconds
• Repeat, until you have done three stretches on each leg

Soleus
• Stand facing a wall with your arms straight in front of you and your hands flat against the wall
• Keep one leg forward with the knee bent, the other leg will be slightly behind you but this time it will be bent. Keep both heels on the ground so the focus is still on the back leg
• Lean against the wall until you can feel a stretch in your back leg
• Hold for 30 seconds
• Repeat, until you have done three stretches on each
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Hamstrings (the back ones)

There are a lot of ways to stretch these bad boys but here are two for you to try. Ok there are really three, but the last one is a little sneaky!
Keeping your hamstrings nice and stretched (getting 90 degree range of movement would be ideal) is a great way to prevent any hamstring tears, relieve sciatic pain and ease your lower back tension. Just remember injury prevention is always better than rehabilitation.

Seated on a chair
• Sitting on the edge of the chair, straighten one leg out in front of the body, keeping the heel on the ground and toes facing up
• Gently lean towards your thigh, moving from the hips and try to keep even pressure on both sides of your backside
• Hold for 30 seconds
• Repeat, until you have done three stretches on each leg

Lying on the ground on your back
• Raise one leg as high as you can, keeping your pelvis/hips flat on the ground
• Hold your thigh and encourage the leg to move towards your head. You can also use a towel around the leg if you’re struggling to hold your leg up
• To increase the stretch and to include calves, gently bring your toes towards you
• Hold for 30 seconds
• Repeat, until you have done three stretches on each leg

(You can also try this with your foot against the wall. For us lazy people it works a treat!)
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Quadriceps (the front ones)

This stretch is a great way to relieve your knee pain including runner’s knee and is very easy to do anywhere, anytime.
• Gently lift your leg up behind you, holding your ankle (if your hand can’t reach your ankle, lift your leg towards the back of your pants or place your foot on a chair behind you)
• Make sure you’re holding onto a wall to keep your balance
• Pull the leg until you get a stretch, if you can’t feel it, squeeze your backside together and you should get a pull straight down the front of your thigh
• Hold for 30 seconds
• Repeat, until you have done three stretches on each leg
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Hip flexors/lunge stretch

These muscles are generally neglected when it comes to stretching. It’s a great way for people with seated jobs to stretch and prevent injury before exercise after work. It also helps with lower back or general hip pain.
• Get into a lunge position on the ground with one knee on the ground and the other in front of you
• Make sure you keep your upper body upright and don’t lean forward from the hips
• Gently tuck your tail bone under and lean forward, stopping when you feel a stretch
• You can also raise the arm of the knee on the ground in the air, with the palm facing up to give you a nice fascial stretch


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Ever had a literal pain in the butt? Try these to relieve lower back pain including sciatica and piriformis syndrome.

• Lying on the ground on your back, bend one knee up with the foot on the floor and place the other foot onto the knee that’s bent up
• Reach through and hold onto the back of the thigh and gentle bring the thigh towards you until you feel a gentle stretch
• Hold for 30 seconds
• Repeat, until you have done three stretches on each leg

This can also be performed sitting on a chair (a good one for all of the office workers out there)
• Sitting on the chair bring one leg onto the opposite knee
• Lean forward from the hips without putting pressure on the knee you have raised
• To increase the stretch, you can lean towards the foot you have raised. This will give you a pull into the hamstrings, glutes and the lower back
• Hold for 30 seconds
• Repeat, until you have done three stretches on each leg

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Neck

Seated
Again you hard working office workers! It’s so easy to spend 3+ hours at the desk and not even realise. Put a sticky note on your screen to remind you to stretch out. Stretch the neck, go to the loo and get back to work,  ok maybe have a coffee as well.
Everyone has sat there thinking, ‘I really need to improve my posture or get rid of these rounded shoulders’ so getting into the habit of doing these stretches regularly will help! Don’t forget the Pecs too!!

• In a seated position hold onto the side of your chair or sit on your hand
• Take your ear to your shoulder, away from the hand you’re sitting on until you can feel a pull. From this position, you can also turn your head to look down towards the arm pit to deepen the stretch.

Standing (Nurses and Tradies I’m talking to you! And anyone else with standing jobs…. fellow myotherapists)

• The other way to do this one is standing, with hands behind your back pull your arm towards one side, then take the ear towards the shoulder on the same side as you’re pulling the arm
• Repeat, until you have done three stretches on each side
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Pecs

• Stand in a doorway, place your arm at shoulder height in the doorway at right angles, gently step through the doorway, making sure you don’t twist the body. You should feel a nice stretch into the chest. You can also change the angle of the arm, bringing it slightly higher to change where you feel the stretch
• Repeat, until you have done three stretches on each side

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Lower back

These gentle stretches and exercises will help to relieve your lower back pain including sciatica or sciatic pain and piriformis syndrome.

Lumbar roll basic
• Lie on your back with both knees up
• Keep your shoulders flat on the floor as you allow the knees to drop to one side, keeping the knees together and the lower back on the floor. Only allow your knees to move as far as comfortable and do not let pain develop.
• Repeat on both sides, gently rocking for 30 seconds

Lumbar roll advanced
This is the same as the basic roll, but you can allow your knees to drop further towards the ground and the lower back to come slightly off the floor.
• Lie on your back with both knees up
• Keep the shoulders flat on the floor as you allow the knees to drop to one side, keeping the knees together and allowing the lower back to gently come off the ground. Only allow your knees to move as far as is comfortable and do not let pain develop.
• Repeat on both sides five times each.

[divider type=”space”]Knees to chest single leg
Try to keep your lower back and hips nice and relaxed with this stretch so you don’t get too much of a pinch in the front of your hip.
• Lying on your back, bring one knee to your chest, holding onto your knee.
• Keeping your lower back on the ground, pull the knee close to your chest until you can feel a pull in your backside, lower back and hamstrings
• Hold for 30 seconds
• Repeat, until you have done three stretches on each leg

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Comments (3)

  • Derbyshire-Clarke Reply

    Thank you they are very helpful for this old body
    Anne

    May 30, 2017 at 3:51 pm
  • Derbyshire-Clarke Reply

    What about the poor office worker at their desks as well
    Anne

    May 30, 2017 at 3:53 pm
    • Tom Reply

      Hi Anne
      There are some great tips for office workers in this blog. Check out the stretches for the Hamstring that are seated, the glute stretches which are seated, and the neck ones. All of them can be done away from the desk, but these you can do while working. Thanks.

      May 31, 2017 at 10:33 am

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