Understanding U

Stretch

The Stretch: Assisted 

  • Best for: Relieving Stress and Tightness 
  • What to know: With assisted stretching, a Healthy U coach helps push U through your full range of motion to achieve gains U might not normally get on your own.
    • Some assisted stretching programs utilize the breath to help enhance the stretch, breathing for several seconds when U are near the end of your range of motion. 
      • When U exhale deeply, your body comes into a fuller state of relaxation, so U get an even deeper stretch.
  • Assisted stretches are also great for targeting harder-to-reach spots like the upper back and the piriformis (the deep muscle between your glutes and hamstrings).
  • Try this: Leg Crawl
    • Targets: hamstrings and lower back
    • Give yourself your own assist with this seated leg stretch.
      • Sit on the floor with legs extended, toes facing the ceiling, one hand on either side of legs. 
      • Drop your head, then slowly walk fingers along the legs, keeping head forward and shoulders relaxed.
      • When U get to your farthest point, hold for 10 seconds, breathing evenly.

The Stretch: Static 

  • Best for: Long-term improvements in flexibility 
  • What to know: Static stretches are often what we think of when it comes to doing a stretch, holding a specific position for a set amount of time.
    • The main benefit of static stretching is that it’s effective at creating permanent increases in range of motion and flexibility.
  • Static stretches should ideally be held for 30 to 60 seconds and for no less than 10 seconds and repeated 2-3x
  • To improve range of motion, stretch 4-5x a week
  • Only stretch to the point where U feel tension in your muscles, not pain.
  • Try this: Rotation Stretch
    • Targets: back
      • Sit on the floor with legs extended. Cross bent right leg over left leg, placing right hand on the floor behind U.
      • Turning from your torso, bring shoulders to the right side; use your left arm against the outside of your right thigh to help increase the stretch.
      • Hold for 30-60 seconds; switch sides and repeat.

The Stretch: Dynamic 

  • Best for: Getting U ready for your workout 
  • What to know: Dynamic flexibility refers to your absolute range of motion that can be achieved with movement – or how far U can reach, bend or turn using velocity.
  • Dynamic stretching is an effective and functional part of a warmup routine.
    • However, dynamic stretches are generally less effective than static stretches for improving overall flexibility.
    • Do your dynamic stretches for about 2-3 minutes toward the end of your warmup.
      • Keep in mind that the movements should be controlled, keeping the bounces and swing within your comfort level.
  • Try this: Standing Twist
    • Targets: core and lower back
      • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, arms crossed over chest.
      • Slowly rotate shoulders and upper body from one side to the next, moving from the torso.
      • Repeat 20-30 seconds, alternating sides.

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