Stretching can do wonders for your muscle strength
Reports from the latest edition of the Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise show that simply stretching can do wonders for your muscle strength.
In a bid to discover the benefits of stretching, a US trial arranged for one control group of human guinea pigs to do no stretching or exercise while a trial group performed 40 minutes of static lower-body stretching three days a week for the 10-week trial – but no exercise.
The control group showed no improvements. The stretching group showed improvements in jumping and endurance ability – as well as an understandable boost in their flexibility.
We know you’re itching to find out which stretches to do. So here are three of the best lower-body, no-weight workout stretches:
Extreme range one-leg squat
Stand with your back to a step or bench. Place your right foot behind you on to the step then squat down with your left leg. Hold this squat for a count of two then squat down further. Hold as long as you can then return to the starting point. Switch feet and perform one to three reps per leg per session.
Lunge forward with your left leg, bending your right knee to 90 degrees. Move your torso and chest down and forward to rest your left pec on your left knee. Hold your balance with your palms down either side of your left foot and extend your right leg back behind you so that you feel a gentle stretch in your hamstring and calf muscle. Keep your right knee locked, resting your weight on the tips of your toes with your heel raised. Hold for 10 seconds and then switch legs. Perform three to five reps for each leg.
Sit on the ground with both legs straight out in front of you and bend your left leg to place the sole of the left foot alongside the knee of your right leg. Keep your left leg relaxed on the ground and bend forward at the waist keeping the back straight. You will feel the stretch in the hamstring of the right leg – repeat with the other leg doing one to three reps for each leg.
Words by Rob Kemp