start from the ground up
First, read and
familiarize yourself with the information on this page.
Certain terminology will be used throughout the site,and those terms
will be defined here. Included are pictures of details of body positions
that are common to many stretches that are shown on this site.
You will find pictures and explanations of incorrect as well as
correct postures, so you can avoid injuries and stretch to your
Throughout Howtostretch.com, instructions
will include details as described below. In some cases, the details
may be highlighted: click on the highlight and you will be taken
back to this page to refresh the details.
Go slowly. Do not rush. Feel your muscles as they stretch. PAY
CLOSE ATTENTION TO THE SENSATIONS. Breathe.
Hold each posture and relax. If you get into a stretch too fast,
you can tear a muscle. Also, don't jump out of a position, come
out of it slowly.
How long should you hold a position? I recommend holding the position
long enough to feel the stretch sensation change from tension in
the muscle to a sense of relaxation while stretched. Move
slowly. For some people, just getting into the position
for a few moments will be more than enough. As you progress, try
to hold the position longer and longer, so you can elongate the
muscles. I sometimes hold a stretch for five minutes to fifteen
minutes, but keep in mind, I have been stretching for 34 years,
so my muscles are used to it. Be patient.
The term straight back is used to define the position of the spine,
from the base of the spine (sacrum) through the neck (cervical spine)
to the back of the head. In many of the stretches, for example,
where we stretch out over a leg, you are instructed to keep a straight
Below left is a
picture of a straight back, below right is a picture of the incorrect
back posture (one of many, only one is demonstrated)
The arms, when held
above the head, should line up with the ears, as in the picture
on the left. On the right, the upper back is curved. Since the head
is closer to the leg, one may feel that they are lower in their
stretch, but the reality is that just the back is curved.
is possible to injure onself in any physical activity. Consult
your physician if in doubt about your physical condition
before embarking on a stretching program. The author of
howtostretch.com accepts no liability for any injuries sustained
while practicing any of the stretches described within.