Sunday, June 24, 2012

My Favourite Stretch

I thought I'd share one of my favourite stretches with you this week.  I think a lot of us take flexibility for granted, and it's only when you've let it slip that you realise how good you had it.  When I spent my days surf coaching I'd always start each session with a thorough warm-up for the group of, more often than not, rather un-flexible clients.  Through the summer season I'd do this roughly three times per day and surf as well, so by the time October rolled around and I ran off to Indonesia I was pretty paddle fit and flexible.  This winter I spent a fair bit of time out of the water for various reasons, and I'm definitely noticing the effects of losing a degree of my flexibility.  Even just doing a few stretches for ten minutes each day can keep your general level of flexibility high, and in the long run do your overall fitness a world of good.  It's particularly important in the middle of winter, pre-surf or climb, to make sure that your cold muscles are warmed up so that you don't damage them, just as Benny is demonstrating above.  It doesn't matter if the waves are going off, take 5 minutes minimum to warm up to make sure that you have a good surf and don't prone your second wave in to the beach with a pulled muscle.

The gluteus maximus is the massive muscle that basically makes up your bum.  It runs from the top of your bum down and around the top of your leg to attach somewhere around the outside of your knee.
That's a lot of muscle to stretch.  To do so, lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.  Put one foot on the other thigh then reach through and grasp behind that thigh with both hands and pull back so that your remaining foot lifts off the floor.  You can use your elbow to push the knee of the leg being stretched flat and get a bit more out of the stretch.  Hold this position and breath into it; you can kind of move the stretch around and you'll feel different areas of tightness being slowly worked out.  Then swap and do the other leg.


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