The warm up before stretching is very important to decreasing risk of injury. The following exercises help improve range of motion, reduce stiffness, reduce post-exercise soreness, reduce the risk of injury and improve overall mobility and performance.
Don't bounce or jerk but gently stretch to a point of tension and hold. Hold the stretch or 30 seconds, Breathe normally (don't hold your breath).
Calf stretch (30 seconds x 2 reps)
Elapsed Time: 1.5 to 2.5 minutes
Purpose: Stretch the calf muscle of the lower leg.
Stand leading with your right leg.
Bend forward at the waist and place your hands on the ground (V formation).
Keep your right knee slightly bent and your left leg straight.
Make sure your left foot is flat on the ground.
Do not bounce during the stretch.
Hold for 30 seconds.
Switch sides and repeat.
Quadricep stretch (30 seconds x 2 reps)
Elapsed Time: 2.5 to 3.5 minutes
Purpose: Stretch the quadricep muscle of the front of the thigh.
Place your left hand on your partner's left shoulder.
Reach back with your right hand and grab the front of your right ankle.
Bring your heel to buttock.
Make sure your knee is pointed down toward the ground.
Keep your right leg close to your left.
Do not allow knee to wing out to the side and do not bend at the waist.
Hold for 30 seconds and switch sides.
Hamstring stretch (30 seconds x 2 reps)
Elapsed Time: 3.5 - 4.5 min
Purpose: To stretch the hamstring muscles of the back of the thigh.
Sit on the ground with your right leg extended out in front of you.
Bend your left knee and rest the bottom of your foot on your right inner thigh.
With a straight back, try to bring your chest toward your knee. Do not round your back.
If you can, reach down toward your toes and pull them up toward your head.
Do not bounce.
Hold for 30 seconds and repeat with the other leg.