The following static stretching routine is a great way to end the day. These are a few stretches for the major muscles, and are not listed as being sport specific. Specific static stretching routines for the sportsman or athlete are highly targeted for the individual and activity. For example, the stretching routine for the long distance runner will differ from that of a baseball player or golfer.
But for general fitness, performing these stretches regularly, after warming up or at the end of an active day, can really help your muscles maintain flexibility. And keep aches and pains away.
I spend several hours each day sat in my office chair and this is awful for my hips. Stretching regularly keeps me active, almost totally pain free, and allows me to participate in sports. Which is a great incentive for me.
Before I move onto the list, there are a few guidelines you should follow . . .
You need to be warmed up before performing these static stretching exercises
Stretch up to the point of discomfort but not beyond
Stretch for 20 to 30 seconds
If you feel any pain then stop immediately
Now, onto the list.
Working from the lower legs up, we start with the standing calf stretch.
Leaning against a wall, stretch out your calf behind you. Keep your leg straight. As your calf becomes more supple, you will be able to edge your foot further back.
Next is the standing quadriceps stretch, or quad stretch. If you need to, you can support yourself against a wall. Your balance should get better! Grip your foot and pull it up gently behind you, until you feel the stretch in the front of your leg. Next move on to the hamstring stretch. Squat down slightly as if you were about to sit down, but keep one leg out in front of you. You should feel the stretch in your hamstring, the back of your leg. If you are particularly supple, then you can increase the stretch in your hamstring by pushing your butt backwards.
Then move onto the prone glute stretch to stretch out your butt. Starting in a press up position, lift your knee forward and inwards of your body’s centreline, and then gently lower yourself as if you were lying on your leg. The hip flexor stretch is next. From a kneeling position, place one leg forward as if striding forward. Your foot should be flat on the floor and you knee bent at around 90 degrees. Keeping your back straight and vertical, lean forward feeling the stretch in the front of your hip.
Move on to the seated groin stretch next. In a seated position, place your feet together and pull them towards you. You should feel the stretch in your groin. To increase the stretch you can gently push down on your knees.
Next is the chest stretch. Clasp your hands behind you and feel the stretch in your chest. You can increase the stretch by lifting your arms higher behind you, either by yourself or aided by a partner or using a sofa to rest your hands on.
Finally, move on to the shoulder stretch. Keeping your arm straight, cross it in front of you. With your other arm/hand, pull your crossed arm in towards you, feeling the stretch in your shoulder.