Static stretches are very important, but should be done correctly and at the right time. For example, if you are headed out for a run, you may be wondering how you should stretch and warm up. A good general rule is to do a dynamic warm-up before your run, then static stretches when you are done, as they are best to do when your muscles are nice and warm.
Three great static stretches for the lower extremity after activity are hamstring, piriformis, and calf stretches. When stretching, you should never have pain, just a gentle pulling in the muscle you are trying to stretch. If you are having pain in other areas, check your posture and position. If it persists, hold off and talk with your PT. I encourage my patients to hold each stretch 15-20 seconds and switch legs 2-3 times.
Video Demonstrations of These 3 Static Stretches
Sit in a chair or on a weight bench. The key is to have the leg you are stretching straight out in front of you with your knee locked. The other essential part is to have your bottom sticking out behind you creating a little extension (arch) in the low back. You should feel the stretch at the back of the thigh. If you do not feel a stretch with just sitting up straight, hinge forward at the hips. Do not round at your lower back to reach forward.
Sit in a chair with your back very straight (have an arch with your bottom out behind you). Cross your left ankle over your right knee. Use your right hand to hold the ankle in place at the knee so the left hamstring can relax. You should feel the stretch in the left hip region. If you do not feel a stretch, try to arch your low back a little more or gently push down on left knee (pulling your knee up can feel good too!)
Stand facing a wall or something to brace your hands against. Lunge (step) your right foot back. Your toes on the right foot should be facing in (toward the heel of the left foot) and your knee is straight. Press your hips forward to get a deeper stretch. Try bending the right knee for a little different stretch, lower down at the achilles tendon.
These are just a few static stretches that can be very effective. Please watch the videos to help with correct posture!
Please contact us with any questions.
Megan, Diane, and Chelsea