Muscle length, connective tissue flexibility and joint mobility are all factors that can influence you chances of developing an injury. By undertaking regular stretches for those areas that ‘tighten up’ you can help maintain or improve your mobility. Sometimes when we are in pain we can become avoidant of moving in fear of hurting ourselves further. In some cases this can be true, however regaining your mobility and normalising your movement can help to get you back to your functional baseline.
The following stretches are good for targeting common muscle groups which commonly are issues for many people. The evidence for how long you should stretch for is unclear, however the general consensus is to hold your stretch for a minimum of 20-30 seconds. Holding a mild-moderate stretch for a longer duration gives your tissues the opportunity to adapt and relax into the stretch.
If you find stretching aggravates your symptoms it is important you cease your exercises an seek further advice from you physiotherapist or myotherapist.
Lower Back Stretch
- On your knees with your hands outstretched in front and crawling your hands forward for extra pull while your butt sits back against your heels
Hip Flexor Stretch
- Kneeling on one knee & bringing the opposite leg out in front of the torso at a 90o
- Leaning the hips forward towards the front knee while twisting the back in the opposite direction & leaning the torso backwards for a deeper hip-flexor stretch
- Note: a square box from a side view should be seen along front leg & thigh from the back leg.
- For right glue: Lying face up with right ankle placed on left knee
- Bring the left knee upward so the hip is at 90o
- Placing the right hand on the right knee pushing it forward while the left hand supports behind the left leg up to 90o
- Note: stretch can be increased by support legs foot being against the wall
Back Extension Stretch
- Also known as the Cobra Stretch; lying face down & lift your torso off the ground as you hands support your weight with your fingers pointed towards your feet while your pelvis is still touching the floor
- Note: try to make an even curve in your back and avoid ‘hinging’ at one level
- Lying face up, bring one knee to the same side of the chest while the opposite leg lays flat on the floor
- Supporting the target leg around the knee with both hands, pull the knee towards the chest
- Sitting on the floor with your feet in front of you, soles together
- Gently use your elbows on the inside of the knee to push the knees towards the floor
- Note: avoid rounding your back, attempt to maintain a long spine while sitting high on your pelvis
Standing Lower Back Stretch
- Stand facing a wall with one leg crossed in front of the other. Run the opposite arm down the outside of the leg while bending your torso towards the wall
- A stretch should be felt on the side of your lower back