Here’s a pretty informative video that shows some different examples of lower body Active Stretches.
Hey everyone! Hope you are all having an awesome, fit, and fun filled week thus far! I know I am;) So last week, I gave examples of how to put an E.L.M full body circuit together. You may remember me mentioning the warm-up before the circuit and the active stretching throughout the circuit. I promised that I would, this week, deliver a more in depth description of what they are, why to do them, and what to do. So my friends, I am here to follow through for you!!! Just like the circuit, there are different options for pretty much every stretch, as well as the exercises chosen for your warm-up. I am going to give one example of each.
WARM-UP: Usually, guys start using 5lb dumbbells and girls 3lb dumbbells, and then progress to the next higher weight if/when that is no longer challenging. However, it should be only enough weight to heat up your muscles and body, but not so much weight to burn you out.
EXERCISE 1 : External Shoulder Rotation. Stand with feet a bit wider than hip distance a.k.a) athletic stance, slightly bent knees, belly button pulled in toward spine, chest lifted, and elbow at a 90 degree angle at your sides, palms are facing up and holding dumbbells, lower arm extending from hip height. Externally rotate shoulders as your thumb side of hand moves toward the back wall, and then rotate shoulder back to starting position so lower arms are extending from hip height in front of you, elbows at the bottom of ribs. Repeat 10-15 times.
EXERCISE 2: Lateral Raises. Reaching out toward side walls, nice straight arms, squeezing triceps at the the top of each raise. Palms are always facing the floor. Repeat 10-15 times.
EXERCISE 3: Shoulder Rotation. Elbows up shoulder height, elbows at 90 degree angle, pinkie side of hand facing front, hands holding dumbbells, feet slightly wider than hip distance in athletic stance. Also, knees are slightly bent. Rotate shoulder joint and bring pinkie side of hand down until it’s facing floor and then, return back up to starting position. Repeat 10-15 times.
EXERCISE 4: Bent Over Reverse Flys. See this video, but remember, you are not going heavy weight here, or for any of the upper body warm-up exercises for that matter.
EXERCISE 5: Split Squats. See this video, but make sure you also interlock fingers and place palms on your belly button to remain conscious of keeping your belly button pulled in. Also keep hips tucked under, so front of back leg, the quadricep, is opening up, and keep your back glute squeezed tight the entire way down AND up, so the whole time! Repeat 10/side to start with.
EXERCISE 6: Good Mornings. Follow what you see in this video except, you won’t be using any weight other than your body, so interlock your fingers and place palms on lower belly, over naval to remain conscious of keeping your belly button pulled in toward spine. Also make SURE you keep your head in alignment with your spine, so, unlike the video, your head doesn’t move, and as you bend over, it stays in line with your spine as eyes go to the floor, than to mirror, to floor, to mirror, etc.
EXERCISE 7: Kick Stretch. Single leg kicks with moving arms. EX) While kicking right leg front, keep your foot aligned with leg, toes pointing up and land it about a foot behind the standing leg, then, kick, land, etc. As right leg kicks front, left arm reaches front, right arm reaches back, keeping fingers spread and palms facing the body. Looks a bit like a toy soldier:) Repeat 10 times, then switch sides.
OK that completes one example of a warm-up for pre-weight workouts. It focuses on getting your shoulders and hips opened and heated to prevent injury. You will feel more than ready to dive into some intense training!
As for the Active Stretching, there are a minimum of 3 to know. The Active Chest Stretch, which follows your chest exercise, The Lat Stretch which follows the 2nd back exercise in each circuit, and The Hip Stretch, which follows the hamstring exercise (which should be toward the end of the circuit). Chest and hip stretch should be repeated a total of 10 times and the lat stretch held for 10-15 seconds per side.
ACTIVE CHEST STRETCH: Stand with feet apart in athletic stance, bring palms together, straight arms, out in front of your body, extending directly out from chest. Keep knees slightly bent as you open and close the arms for 15 reps. Be sure to keep chest lifted, hips tucked under, and belly pulling in THE WHOLE WAY THROUGH!!!
ACTIVE HIP STRETCH: Standing with feet hip width apart, begin to pick one leg up at a time, alternating sides for 10-20 reps total. EX) Grab right knee with right hand and right ankle with left hand, and pull knee in toward arm pit and ankle toward the lower torso. Then do the same on the opposite side. As you pull leg closer in to body, you are lifting the chest and pulling belly button in. Standing leg is slightly bent.
LAT STRETCH: See this video, but know you can also use a dip bar or the back rest on a seated bench. Also, switch the grip around grabbing with palm turned in AND out, to get a little different stretch with each. Make sure you actually hold the stretch until you feel more space inside and then you can proceed to make it active, like he is on the video. Going in to it and coming out, 10 reps/side.
Active stretching not only helps prevent injury, but it keeps your body moving while recovering between exercises, and also helps expand your muscles range of motion. You will get a lot more out of your hard work if you just throw in a few stretches in between. Trust me!!!
Ok guys, I’m off to bed, finally!!! Please leave any questions or comments you may have here on the blog for me so everyone can benefit from hearing our Q&A session. Thanks! Here’s To Your Health!!!