Stretching

4 – Stretching from Sean Hayes on Vimeo.

When stretching for a warm-up, after doing the movemetnt exercises in videos 1 & 2 above (and optionally video 3), hold each stretch for 25-30 seconds.  When stretching for development – i.e. getting more flexible – hold each stretch for one or two minutes.

Posture
It’s important to practice good posture, by standing up right, with shoulders squared and back, gluteals and abdomen held firm, knees straight but not locked, and weight distributed across the feet.
Neck Stretch
Gently anchor left arm in place as shown. Slowly tilt your right ear towards your right shoulder, then slowly turn your head to look at your right bicep. To release the stretch, slowly reverse each movement.
Shoulder Stretch
Keeping your shoulders square and level, bring one arm across your chest. Anchor it at the elbow with the other arm. Hold firmly but not too tightly. Don’t pull your shoulder out of alignment, as shown next. Keep shoulders square and level.
Upper Back Stretch
Place one elbow inside the other, and raise both slightly. Joining the hands, as shown, is challenging: you can perform this without joining them.
Inside Forearm Stretch
Using one hand, overlap the other hand, including the palm as shown. Do not pull only on the fingers!
Outer Forearm Stretch
Turn the hand as shown, and gently pull on the back of the hand with the other hand.
Thumb Joint Mobilization
Circle the base of the thumb, very low, as shown. Gently make circular motions to loosen up the joint. Don’t use a lot of pressure – gently move it.
Forward Stretch
Keeping your knees straight (but not locked), hinge at the hips and reach toward the floor. It is not necessary to touch the floor. This can be done with feet apart or together.
Side Stretch
Again keeping your knees straight (but not locked), hinge at the hips and reach side to side. Don’t lean forward or back: stay in the vertical plane of the body.
Split Stretch
Using your hands for balance while hinging at the waist, and keeping your knees straight, move the legs apart until you feel a stretch. Don’t overdo it!
Butterfly Stretch
An good alternative to the split stretch. Sit with soles of feet together, holding you ankles, and use your elbows to gently press the thighs down.
Back Stretch
This takes practice. Lay on your side with hips and shoulders “stacked’ vertically. Reach forward while keeping hips stacked. Then reach your arm back, and point “up” as shown. Keep hips as closely one above the other as possible.
Thigh Stretch
Using a strap, loop at the ankle, and stand upright while you gently pull up on the strap. Don’t pull the knee behind you.
Calf Stretch
Extend one leg behind you as shown, foot flat to the floor and toes pointed forward. Kep the leg straight. You can lean against a wall or stand, as shown.
Full Hamstring Stretch #1
Using a strap or belt, loop around the ball of your foot. With your back flat to the floor, lift your leg while keeping gentle pressure on the strap. Keep your leg completely straight.
Full Hamstring Stretch #2
Similar to stretch #1, but you grasp by the calf as shown. A good stretch, but not quite as effective as the first one.
Ordinary Hamstring Stretch
This is the one most of us were taught in gym class. It’s an okay stretch, but the hamstring is not anchored because the knee is bent, and doesn’t get quite as much development.
Hip Stretch
This one takes practice. Bend one leg with the knee pointing out, and the foot pointing the opposite direction. Use the arm on that side to hook the leg, and the elbow of the arm to press the thigh away from your head. Assist with the other arm.