Stretching. Is it worth your time?

Is It Really That Important?

The majority of skaters don’t complete a sufficient stretching routine prior to getting on the ice or starting your workout at the gym. Is it really that big of a deal? 

Actually, yes! Especially as an adult athlete. Stretching plays a huge part in injury prevention and ensures your muscles are at their prime capacity to allow you to perform at your maximum level.

Stretching keeps your muscles flexible, strong, and healthy, and we need that flexibility to maintain a range of motion in the joints, especially when we are on the ice. Without a comprehensive stretching routine, muscles become tight and weak, and hinders our progress on the ice and in the gym. This is especially true for those of us who work desk jobs (like myself), because sitting in a chair all day is going to leave you with very tight muscles!

So how long do you really need to stretch for? Rule of thumb is to stretch for at least 5-10 minutes before (after a quick warm up) and after hitting the ice or the gym. 

So where do you start?
Types of Stretching
– Static –Holding a non-moving position for at least 30 seconds
 – Dynamic –Stretches that involve repetitions of movement to loosen up your muscles
 – Self Myofascial Release (SMR) – aka. foam rolling
Hold on tender spot for at least 30 seconds

Static Stretching Ideas
Standing hamstring stretch
Standing quadriceps stretch
Standing calf stretch
Glute/figure 4 stretch
Cobra stretch
Static hip flexor stretch

Self Myofascial Release (SMR) Ideas
Quadriceps
Hamstrings
Calves
Glutes
IT Band
Hip Adductors
Lats
Dynamic Stretching Ideas
 – Inch worm – 
Starting in a Downward Dog position on your hands and feet, walk your feet as far forward as possible while keeping your legs straight. Then, walk your hands out, extending your body into a pushup position and lower towards the floor, arching your back so that your head and shoulders reach to the sky. Then, flow back into Downward Dog. Walk your feet in again and repeat 5 times.
– Leg swings – 
Hold on to a wall or fixed surface (or do this move without support for an added stability challenge). Swing one leg back and forth as if you’re kicking a ball. Perform 10 swings on each side.
– Frog walk in – 
In a push-up position bring your right foot through to the outside of your right hand. Sit your hips down and feel the stretch, then return to starting position and repeat with your other leg. Perform 10 reps.

Give these a shot and let me know what you think!
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