Pre-work out rituals: warm up or stretch or both?

When exercising plays such a large part of one’s lifestyle, you do not want to compromise that passion/necessity by risking an injury. As it is known that it is essential to warm up before a work out, we need to also understand and be aware that some stretching after warming up before a work out can be just as beneficial. The emphasis on ‘after’ warm up is emphasized because stretching a cold muscle will increase the risk of injury and is therefore discouraged.

Being able to select the appropriate stretching exercises is equally important as over stretching might actually be detrimental for your work out. One would stretch to increase mobility and flexibility in body parts like your hamstrings and calves so as to perform better. When you have been sitting all day with limited movements, or been in a bad posture for a certain activity, it is advised to perform some stretching exercising not only before your work out but as part of your daily regime. Stretching will help your spine achieve a proper realignment and neutral posture. It also helps with potential build up of muscle tightness from exercising.

Examples of pre-work out warm up exercises and post work out stretching will be illustrated in different posts.

At Crossfit Fibre, we recommend the following pre-work out / daily stretch exercises:

Squat stretch

Benefits:

  • Loosens tight structures around the leg mainly ankles, achilles tendons, calves, hamstrings, glutes, quads, lower back, posterior chain
  • Improves Squat Depth
  • Improves balance at bottom of the squat

 

CrossFit_Fibre_Mobility_Squat_Stretch_Front_1

 

Weighted ankle stretch

Benefits:

  • Improved dorsiflexion angle which gives you a better ROM at the ankle. A better ROM at the ankle will mean a better squat position that is more balanced.
  • Better bottom squat position

CrossFit_Fibre_Mobility_Weighted_Ankle_Stretch

 

Hamstring stretch

The Hamstring Stretch is an important posterior chain stretch that needs to be part of your daily routine. It is far too common now to notice that many are very tight in this muscle structure. The effects of this is detrimental to the squat posture and causes a “butt wink” that is undesireable.To allow a good squat, the hamstrings need to be flexible enough to allow the pelvis to be in anterior tilted and the lumbar curve maintained.

Benefits:

  • Increased flexibility of muscle
  • Improved squat depth without butt wink

 

CrossFit_Fibre_Mobility_Hamstring_Stretch_1

CrossFit_Fibre_Mobility_Hamstring_Stretch_2

CrossFit_Fibre_Mobility_Hamstring_Stretch_Side_3

CrossFit_Fibre_Mobility_Hamstring_Stretch_Side_4

Stick rotator cuff stretch

Benefits

  • Loosens up rotator cuffs and allows external rotation
  • Improves rack position

 

CrossFit_Fibre_Mobility_PVC_Rotator_Cuff_Stretch_1

 

CrossFit_Fibre_Mobility_PVC_Rotator_Cuff_Stretch_2

 

Angry cat /  happy dog

The Angry Cat and Happy Dog is a movement to mobilise your spinal column. This exercise allows us to keep our spinal column mobile and moving so that our muscle structures do not seize up and cause unwanted aches and pains. Perform each movement up to 10 times.

Benefits:

  • Moves and unlocks tightness in the spinal column and muscle structures around
  • Mobilises lower back and reduces stiffness
  • Allows movement in the spinal column

CrossFit_Fibre_Mobility_Angry_Cat_Stretch

CrossFit_Fibre_Mobility_Happy_Dog_Stretch

 

 Sources:

http://www.crossfitfibre.com/mobility/

http://livehealthy.chron.com/stretches-align-spine-5360.html

http://sportsmedicine.com/

 

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