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What follows is a general routine for stretching. After seeing your abilities and difficulties, you can modify your routine accordingly. Remember, go slow, take your time, and listen to your body. There is no hurry. Feel the muscles work. Let go of the tension. Doing so will allow you to learn about your body.

There are four pages of stretching exercises in this section. You can follow them in order, or if you have visited before and want to get back to where you left off........Page 2 Page 3 Page 4

Quadriceps Stretch

This position is for stretching your quadriceps. Sit on your heels, with your back straight. If this causes pain in your feet or knees that is unbearable, go no further. This position is demonstrated in the picture on the left.

Sit for a few minutes to stretch out the top portion of your ankles and feet, as well as your quads.

Reach back evenly with both hands, and you will feel more of a stretching sensation. This is shown in the middle picture. Ease into the position, and lower your body slowly until you can rest on your elbows, then shoulders and back of head. This is shown in the last picture.
Warning: Do not bounce out of the position,or roll to one side to get out of the position. Raise your body just like you got into it: evenly and slowly. Otherwise, injury can result.

Seated Leg (Hamstring) Stretches

There are many ways to stretch your hamstrings. Most methods also stretch your back muscles when done properly.

Sit with your right foot tucked into your left inner thigh. It should touch.(picture on left) Relax your right knee to the ground. If your bent knee is extremely elevated, do not proceed. Work to release the inner thigh muscles. This may be easiest if you rest your back against a wall or couch, and gently press down on your knee. Note: for some, it may take several weeks or months to proceed to the next step. Be patient.


Keep your leg straight, with toes pointed to the ceiling and pulled back towards your body.


Reach up, and interlock your fingers, as in the picture on the above left. Straighten your elbows, and pull them back by your ears. Pull your head back.


Slowly come over your leg with your back straight, as in the picture on the above right. Move as a unit. Feel as if you are reaching out. Do not drop your arms until you cannot go any further down with your back straight.


Relax your arms down, and hold wherever you can. Keep your back straight. Do not compromise your back position just to grab your foot. Hold for several minutes and release the tension from your hamstring muscles and your back muscles. Look out over your foot. Do not let the head drop to your knee, as doing so will curve your back.

* If you cannot reach your foot, relax the arms down to the floor, as in the picture on the left above. Hold this position and the legs and back will stretch, and you will ultimately be able to reach your foot. You can also use a belt to wrap around your foot. This way you can pull yourself down just as if you had your hands on your foot as in the photo above.


Come out of the position just like you got into it. First, bring the arms next to the ears, with your back straight. Second, lift up from your lower back, then sit up straight. Relax your arms down. Repeat with your other leg forward.

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Disclaimer

It 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.

 

 

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