Stretches and warm up/cool down

This page is for current clients to refer to so they can safely warm up and cool down. Without pictures or a deeper explanation it may prove a bit confusing!

Warm-up – Prepare for exercise!

Dynamic Stretches – proven to be the best way to prepare the body for exercise. Involves moving the muscles towards their maximum range of motion in a controlled and smooth movement.

Firstly, start with 3-10 minutes of light pulse raising activity to get the heart rate up and prepare the body for exercise. For example, jogging on the spot, bike, x-trainer etc.

Then work through a dynamic stretching routine for all muscle groups. 6-10 reps of each:

Neck – move head from side to side, up and down

Shoulder – Rotate straight arms around shoulder joint in circular motion, forwards and back

Chest – bring arms out in front of you and then bring back behind body

Upper back – stand up straight with arms out in front. Bring arms together and chin down at the same time until you feel a stretch in the upper back between the shoulder blades

Lats and shoulders – as one straight arm comes up, the other comes down

Core – twist torso, lifting the opposite heel off the ground as you twist

Obliques – bend torso sideways while reaching over the top. Bring other hand behind your back

Hamstrings/lower back – move feet wide apart and reach hand towards opposite foot (e.g. right hand to left foot and vice versa)

Adductors – Same as above, but bending the knee on the side you’re touching aka side lunges

Quads and hip flexors – kick heels back, bringing thigh back as far as comfortable to stretch hip flexors

Hamstrings – kick up foot to opposite hand, keeping leg straight. Try and go a bit higher each time

Calves – take steps back, bending front knee and pushing back heel into the ground

Finish the warm up with some bodyweight squats, press ups, lunges, reach ups and other non-maximal exercises to fully prepare your body for more rigorous tests.

Now you’ve fully warmed up the body and can really push yourself whilst minimizing the risk of injury!

Cool down – Stop actively safely and with maximum benefit!

With high intensity, high heart rate activity, I recommend completing 2-5 minutes of pulse lowering light activity to reduce heart rate slowly and safely.

Static stretching – just as dynamic stretching prepares the body for exercise, static stretching (holding a stretch) increases flexibility, helps with muscle soreness and helps you become less injury prone. We static stretch after every session. The most important muscles groups to thoroughly stretch are:

Chest – holding a pole or wall, twist body until you can feel a stretch. Hold for 20 seconds then breath out and push deeper for another 20

Hamstrings – reach towards toes, together or one at a time. Hold for 20, push deeper for 20

Calves – up against a wall with one front in front and one behind, bend front knee and push back heel into the ground. Hold for 20, push deeper for 20

Adductor group/groin – sitting on the floor with soles of feet together, push your knees out with your elbow. Hold for 20, push deeper for 20.

Hip flexors – with one knee on the ground and the other foot on the floor, push knee back and foot forward until you feel stretch. Hold for 20 and push deeper for another 20.

For the following, hold for 20 seconds:

Upper back – link hands together and push palms away

Lats – arms above head, push hands together

Lower back – prayer position

Quads – bring heel towards buttocks and hold that position. Touch ear on opposite side to balance

Neck – hold left, right, up and down for 10 secs each

Shoulders – bring straight arm across body and pull towards you with other arm

Triceps – put one hand on upper back and pull across body with other hand

Biceps and chest – hold out arms in front of you with palms facing away and thumbs down. Bring arms back behind body as far as possible

Repeat and hold for longer with any muscle groups that become tight or sore easily, or if you want to improve flexibility.

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