Dave-O wrote:charles wrote:
Legs up the wall - same result - less effort on your part. Just run you legs up a wall for 10 to 20 minutes and relax by watching TV or have your wife feed you grapes!
The problem with the legs on the wall is that I can't get to a 90 degree angle. Pathetic, I know...
You're not alone--I can't get to 90 degrees either, unless I bend my knees. Supposedly girls are more flexible than guys, but I'm the most physically un-flexible person I know of. When I do go to yoga classes, even the guys can stretch further than I can.
I second the towel method to stretch while lying down, and I also agree that I hate it, it hurts, and reminds me of how deficient I am. Another one you can do is sit on your butt with your legs straight out in front of you, hands on the ground near your hips for balance if you need it, and lean forward. If you're like me, you'll only have to go a few inches before you feel it in your hamstrings.
If you don't want to do yoga, skip the class and just do some stretches on your own. Do you have access to a sauna? If so, stretch in there. Or after a hot shower. The heat will help loosen the muscles and help you get further into the stretches. And as much as I dislike stretching mine, doing it consistently does help.
And stretch them right after you finish running, when they're as loose as they're going to get. Stretching muscles when they're not warmed up can cause injuries.
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Here's the UVA sports clinic's take on stretching.
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My Pilates instructor is an ex-gymnast (national level) and is very well informed on how to stretch. I told her that as part of my program I wanted to increase flexibility specifically in the hamstrings and in the back. Like some of you, doing the 90 degree toe touch was just not going to happen in my current state. She gave me some of the usual stretching exercises to do for a week - and then started working with me on assisted stretching during the class. This takes a partner and what you do is sit on the floor with legs first extended directly in front of you, and then with your legs making as big a V as they can. After warming up for at least 5 minutes, lean forward as far as you can by yourself and that establishes you current baseline limitation. Hold that for 10 seconds, then take a deep breath and exhale and during the exhale your partner places her hands on your mid-back and gently pushes forward just a bit. You can feel the stretch, but should not go forward to where you are feeling great discomfort. Again, hold that for 10 seconds and again exhale and get a helping hand. I found during my first session doing this yesterday that I could be pushed about 4 times and that the additional distance I could go toward my feet was pretty remarkable. And while I did feel stretching in both the back and hams, it was a 'good' stretch. I'll be continuing this going forward so will be happy to update on what happens then.
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