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3 Stretches To Help Stop Niggling Pains

We know you’re into your health and fitness, you’ve got your workouts organised, your game of tennis or round of golf planned for the week, you’ve even got your food and sleep on point, but have you done enough body care today? You know, the simple little things that will help your body feel loads better, perform better and stay injury free. The answer in 99% of cases is most definitely…no.

Whether people are massively into looking after themselves or not a little bit of body care (10-15 minutes a day) goes a long way to helping you feel great. This could include specific mobility drills to help work on a movement issue you have, maybe a couple of corrective exercises or maybe just a couple of stretches to help unwind your body from the day you just had.

In the likely scenario that body care is a new concept for you, here are the 3 stretches we know you will benefit from doing a bit more of.

1. Pec Minor Stretch

Why?
The pec minor muscle runs across the front of your shoulder and is one of the main culprits for getting short and tight and pulling your shoulder forward. This is no surprise with plenty of sitting in front of a computer or in meetings slouching is inevitable. Then it’s to the gym where we’re conquering push ups and chasing big bench press numbers or maybe we’re hitting tennis balls or pummelling the punch bag. After that it’s home to relax on the sofa for some more slouching. As you can see life has a tendency of overworking the front of us and we often neglect to strengthen our back muscles, which are the ones that will help keep our shoulders in a nice healthy position. And once the shoulders begin to be pulled forward you can expect neck, shoulder and back complaints to follow. So time to spend a bit of time unwinding those pesky pec muscles.

How?

  • In a 4 point stance place your arm on the ball. Your shoulder should be supported by the ball and your spine should be in a neutral position.
  • Take a 5 second inhale and gently push your arm down in to the ball to excite the pec muscles.
  • Breathe out, stop pushing, and exhale for 5 seconds. Instantly lower your chest towards the floor (make sure not to over extend your back).
  • You’re looking to stretch the front of the shoulder and chest (if you feel pinching or sharpness on the other side of the joint you have probably gone too far, too fast, so ease off a bit until the discomfort releases).
  • Once you’ve finished your breath out, begin a 5 second inhale again pushing gently into the ball, followed by breathing out and relaxing further in to the stretch.
  • Repeat this process 5 times.

2. Hip Flexor / Lunge Stretch

Why?
The front of ours hips tend to get super bunged up, mainly due to spending a lot of time on sat on our derriere! This is then problematic because tight hip flexors can start to cause all sorts of problems with the low back and the knees. So if you ever have niggling back pain and you happen to have a fairly sedentary job or lifestyle then this is the stretch for you!

How?

  • In a lunge position with your back knee on the floor, your hips should be level, start to tilt your pelvis backwards (as if you were tucking your tail under you). Then without losing that tilt gently push your hips forward.
  • Inhale for 5 seconds whilst gently kicking your leg down in to the floor to excite the hip flexor muscles.
  • Breathe out, stop kicking, and exhale for 5 seconds. Instantly push your hips slightly further forward, reach your hand up to the sky and lean away from the leg you’re stretching. Make sure to keep your pelvis tilted backwards throughout.
  • You’re looking to stretch the front of your leg towards the top, right in front of the hip.
  • Once you’ve finished your breath out, begin a 5 inhale again kicking gently into the floor, followed by breathing out and relaxing further in to the stretch.
  • Repeat this process 5 times.

3. 90/90 Stretch

Why?

Those damn hips again! They’re a complicated couple, not only does the front get bunged up, but the glutes tend to get stiff in places, especially in rotation. In the days of our youth we would have been flailing legs all over the place, constantly moving the hips in all their awesome directions, crawling, dancing about, sucking our big toe (just us?). As we get older though we tend to just move in a forward direction meaning the hips stay relatively still. This tightening of the glutes can in turn cause a fair amount of discomfort in the hips and low back.

How?

  • Start by sitting in the 90/90 position. Your hips and shoulders should be facing the same way and your lower back should have a natural curve in it. You may have to focus on tilting your pelvis forward a bit (as if you were trying to stick your bum out).
  • Inhale for 5 seconds whilst gently pushing your front leg down in to the floor to excite the glute muscles.
  • Breathe out, stop pushing, and exhale for 5 seconds. Instantly begin to lean your body forward towards your front leg. Focus on hinging at your hips and keep your back in a neutral position throughout. If you round through your back your stretching those muscles more than your glutes.
  • You’re looking to stretch the underneath of your front leg.
  • Once you’ve finished your breath out, begin a 5 inhale again pushing gently into the floor, followed by breathing out and relaxing further in to the stretch.
  • Repeat this process 5 times.

As with all things health and fitness no one is exactly the same so if you feel any pain or discomfort while trying any of these stretches then stop and consult a professional for help.

Until next time.

Live healthy,
aps

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