New Year, new you: Stretches
Each week of Sherri McMillan's eight-week workout features a new stretch. This photo gallery is a collection of all of them she's introduced so far. Use this as a reference for her workout series or to gain ideas for your own fitness program. For the full workout program visit www.columbian.com/livewell.
Hamstring stretch - Lay on your back with your hips close to the wall and your legs positioned straight up against the wall. To make the stretch less intense, move your hips a few inches away from the wall. To make the stretch more intense, keep your hips positioned right up against the wall and wrap a towel around your feet and lightly pull your legs a few inches away from the wall. Hold this stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds. Hold for at least 30 seconds.
Flexibility: Perform today’s and last week’s hamstring stretch after each workout. Complement them with other stretches you are already performing in your present program.
Stretch. Lay on your back with your hips positioned further from the wall. Place one foot on the wall so that the knee bends to 90 degrees. Now place the other foot onto that thigh. You should feel a light stretch around the outside edge of your hip. Hold for at least 30 seconds.
Flexibility: Perform each of the stretches you've learned up to this point after each workout. You can compliment these stretches with others you already do or perhaps, consider taking a Tai Chi, Yoga, Stretch or Pilates class.
This week's stretch: Inner thigh on the wall. Sit with your back straight up against the wall. Now bring the souls of your feet together and allow your legs to just drop out to the side. Feel the stretch through your groin.
Today’s stretch is hips and back. Lay on your back and start with both legs straight against the wall. Now slowly let both legs fall to one side. Bend the bottom leg and keep the top leg straight. Try to feel this stretch through your hips and lightly through your back.
Hip flexor. Position yourself in a lunge position with your front knee positioned over the front ankle and your back knee positioned comfortably on a mat or towel. Straighten your spine so your posture is fully erect. Lightly press the hip forward. Feel the stretch in the front of the thigh.
To intensify the stretch, keep your body tall, while you rotate your upper body in towards your front knee.
Calf stretch. Stand facing a wall. Place one leg close to the wall and the other farther away. Keep the heel of the back leg positioned firmly into the floor. Be sure that both feet face forward. Feel the stretch in the back calf. Now move the back foot in a few inches. Keep the back foot firmly planted into the ground but now slightly bend the back knee and hold the stretch.