6 Essential Stretches for a Woman’s Workout

April 5, 2012 by  
Filed under Stretching

Article by Flavia Del Monte

For a healthy workout, you can’t just lift weights. You need to include stretches for a woman’s workout. In fact, you should stretch half the amount of time you lift weights. So, if you lift weights five hours a week, you should stretch 2.5 hours a week.

The Repercussions of Not Stretching

Muscles naturally tighten up. And not stretching and loosening them up can have some serious repercussions. You increase your risk of injury. You’ll move slower, have decreased mobility, and have less power. Your muscle coordination and metabolism will suffer, and so will your performance.

Flexibility — One of the Four Main Components of Fitness

Stretching has numerous benefits. It reduces the amount of lactic acid and inflammation in your muscle tissue, while preventing muscle cramps. Most importantly, because stretching reduces your body’s automatic need to protect itself against overextension, it improves your flexibility. And the more flexible you are, the easier your muscles are able to move through the full range of motion. This increases your performance and reduces your risk of injury.

Tips for Stretching

There’s a lot more to stretching than just movement. First, you should never stretch cold muscles, so warm up a bit with five to ten minutes of low intensity exercise like walking or jogging. Then, stretch all the major muscle groups. Just make sure to stretch each side equally and focus on the major groups you’ll be using during your workout.

Don’t bounce while stretching your muscles. This will only cause unhealthy damage. Use slow, focused movements, gradually speeding up as you go. You should feel some tension as you move, but there shouldn’t be any pain. If it hurts, you’ve moved too far. Ease up on your position and hold it.

Ready for some good stretches?

Neck Stretch — Standing with your feet a comfortable width apart, tilt your head to the right and slightly forward. Then, with your right hand behind your head, gently pull down until you feel a gentle stretch on the left side of your neck. Hold it for half a minute and repeat the movement on the opposite side.

Shoulder Stretch — Shoulder stretches for a woman’s workout help you avoid issues like rotator cuff injuries. To stretch it out, bring your left arm over your body and hold your right arm either above or below your elbow. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat by brining your right arm over to hold your left.

Back Stretch — Called the “Cat and Camel”, start in the kneeling position, with your hands flat on the floor. Then, looking at the floor, let your tummy sag to the floor and your face turn to the ceiling, arching your back as far as you can. Then, do the opposite: Round your back by tightening the abdominals and lowering your head to the floor.

Hip Flexor Stretch– When doing stretches for a woman’s workout, don’t forget your upper thighs. Called a hip flexor, this muscle lifts your knees and helps when you bend at the waist. To stretch your hip flexor, place some padding on the floor and kneel on it with your right knee. Then, put your left foot in front of you. Shift your weight to your right thigh by leaning forward, holding your left leg with your left hand to hold yourself steady. Hold for 30 seconds, and repeat it on the other side.

Quad Stretch — To stretch your calf muscles, stand an arm’s length away from a wall or support. Put your right food behind your left foot and slowly bend your left leg, moving it forward. Keep your back and right knee straight, your hips forward, and your right heel straight and flat on the floor. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat it for the other side. If you need to deepen the stretch, bend your right knee slightly as you lean forward.

Hamstring Stretch — Sit flat on the floor with your legs straight out. Then, bend forward to reach ahead of you, while keeping your knees straight. Hold for ten seconds, relax, and repeat the motion.

It can be tempting to skip stretching, but you won’t save yourself any time. Stretches for a woman’s workout can improve your results and you might even do more harm than good.

Flavia Del Monte is a Registered Nurse, Certified Physical Trainer, Certified Nutritionist and the creator of Full-Body-Licious. You can read more about her training programs, nutrition advice and great butt workouts on her female fitness blog.

Learn some great tips on how to do Quad stretches for a track and field meet in this free sports events, stretching, and preparation video clip. Expert: Jabari Pride Bio: Jabari Pride started running track in 1993. The summer before entering into college at the University of Wisconsin, Jabari competed at the Junior Olympics in Baton Rouge. Filmmaker: Nili Nathan
Video Rating: 4 / 5

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