Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

  • I teach Nia, yoga and stretch!

    Nia: Thurs at 9 am

    Yoga: Tues at 10:30 am and Thurs at 6:00 pm

    Stretch: Thurs at 10:30 am

    Please see my website for details! I sub for the City of San Jose and the YMCA so check my website for dates and times!

    I am also available for private Nia / yoga / Personal Training!

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Posts Tagged ‘hamstring stretch’

Resistance Bands for Stretching

Posted by terrepruitt on September 3, 2011

I’ve talked about resistance bands being great for strength training. The other day after having taught a Nia class with a lot of sumo stances in it AND after having done some weighted squats, I really needed to stretch.  I needed a really deep stretch and as I was trying to think of how to get it I remembered I could use my resistance bands for stretching.  The resistance bands I have are long flat sheets of rubber.  I don’t have the ones that are like rubber bands or tubes.  Mine don’t have handles.  Any type of band made for exercising will do.  There are so many ways to stretch using a band.  I will just name a few in this post and maybe do another post at another time.

The first one you probably have done when you pick up a band is just to hold it in each hand and let your arms “fall” to the side.  Obviously your arms don’t actually fall because you are holding the band, but you can feel the stretch in your arms and shoulders.  The great thing about bands is you can make the tension however you need it to be by the way you hold the band.  If you need a really deep stretch make the band really short and either pull or let your arms “fall”.  If you want a gentle stretch then hold the band closer to the ends.

Holding opposite ends of the band and allowing your arms to fall behind your body really allows for a stretch in the upper arms, shoulders, upper back and neck.

You can do side bends with an end of the band in each hand holding your arms above your head.  Again sensing the stretch in your shoulders and upper back, but with this stretch you also get your sides. Using the band for this stretch allows for a much greater stretch than without the band.

For the legs there are a few I want to share.  Sit down on the ground, fold the band in half then put your foot in the band at the fold, hold one side of the band in each hand.  Then lay down, keeping your foot flexed, bring your straight leg with the foot in the band up as far as you can.  Keep your other leg straight out on the floor.  Adjusting the tension of the band gives you the stretch you need.  You can bring your leg straight up and closer to your face for an even greater stretch.  The closer you pull your leg to your face the greater the stretch in the hamstrings and even calf.

Still lying on your back with your leg up and still holding the band let your leg fall ACROSS your body.  This is a further stretch for the hamstrings and gets the outer thigh.  With this stretch – again – using the band to pull your leg closer to your head gives you a bigger stretch. Hold the end of the band in the hand opposite the direction your leg is going, while the hand on the side of where your foot is gently pulls the leg towards your head.  Remember to be mindful of what you are sensing, often a stretch will cause discomfort but the muscles need to be stretched especially after a workout.  But pain is different than discomfort, so be aware of what sensation is present.

Another stretch you can do is from the same position of laying on your back, with your foot through the band, leg in the air, foot flexed, but this time let the straight leg fall away from your body.  With this stretch the hand opposite the side your stretching leg holds the end of the band and the hand on the side of the stretching leg can gently pull the leg towards your head. This stretch allows you to really sense the stretch in the inner thigh.  The closer your leg gets to the floor the more your inner thigh gets stretch.  And at the same time you can gently pull your leg towards your head enable the back of the leg to be stretched too.

Bands are such a great way to get some assisted stretching in without having to have another person there to help you.  It is like proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) by yourself.  As I mentioned before, please be mindful and aware of what your body is saying.  Discomfort at a tolerable level is acceptable but pain is not.

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