Have you hit a plateau? Maybe you’re pulling up too sore? Or perhaps you’re still struggling to touch your toes? Well I’m here with Zap Fitness PT, Matt Corbin to tell you some beneficial stretching exercises to improve your flexibility and avoid injury.
Experienced PT and massage therapist, Matt has a Degree in Bio-Medicine and is currently in his final year of an Osteopathy degree. So, there’s no denying he’s well versed on the subject.
Let’s start off with the benefits of improving your flexibility? As Matt explains, “Improvements in flexibility allow us to work through a greater range of motion when performing our resistance exercises. Improvements in flexibility will also increase performance i.e. think about having an easier golf swing – more rotation or more power or having the ability to go overhead for a tennis serve, even the ability to reach and undo your bra without pain!
According to Matt, being flexible can actually help you to avoid injury, “That’s right! Being more flexible will give you a greater ability to adapt to unexpected demand placed through a muscle or region of the body coupled with the ability to increase strength through the greater range of movement.”
Let’s just put it out there, stretching can be a bit of a snore-fest. Surely there’s some interesting or challenging moves you can incorporate into your routine?
“Absolutely”, says Matt, “If the more traditional ‘static’ stretches aren’t your thing, you can try some more dynamic stretches. These include a hip flexor stretch known as a couch stretch or lower back lumbar rolls, broomstick dislocations to work the shoulders, leg swings for hip mobility, broomstick seated rotations for the upper back, pigeon stretch for the glutes and calf stretches up against a wall.”
Is there a general rule of thumb for how long you should hold each stretch for? According to Matt, “Whether you’re talking about dynamic stretching or static stretching a safe option is 20-30 seconds x 2-3 times. Movements can be performed longer if you notice extra benefits or you would like to but remember not to reduce your strength training by getting excessive with your stretching.”
If you’re reading this, and perhaps thinking… ‘Hey, I might give a few of these a crack.’, Matt has suggested some useful coaching cues, “Try and be aware of the anatomy in a basic sense. If you know the general area of where the muscle comes from and goes to, you’ll know where you should feel it. Learning how to stretch is where a good coach comes in, they can provide you with a great foundation of basic information.”
“I would also advise beginners to avoid any really dynamic or explosive stretches. Basically, don’t persevere on anything you are excessively uncomfortable with. Also, I would advise avoiding anything too precarious or anything that puts you in a compromised position.”
To find out more about stretching exercises, why not pop into Zap Fitness Surrey Hills and chat to PT Matt.
– By Prue Houston
Contact Matt Corbin at Zap Fitness Surrey Hills
Address: 607 Canterbury Road, Surrey Hills. VIC. 3127
Phone: 0421 526 409
Email: [email protected]