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Sports Stretching Methods

So stretching and sports are always an interesting issue. Should we stretch directly after exercises? or are we better off waiting a few hours on stretching out later in the day? The truth is something we will probably never really know but it makes sense to separate dynamic stretching to before a workout and save static stretching for after.

Dynamic stretches are those done with motion where we move muscles without holding the position for too long. This helps to fire up muscles and get them ready for exercise.

This form of stretching prepares the body for physical exertion and sports performance. In the past it was the practice to undertake static stretching before exercise. Dynamic stretching increases range of movement, blood and oxygen flow to soft tissues prior to exertion. Increasingly coaches and sports trainers are aware of the role in dynamic stretching in improving performance and reducing the risk of injury.

Meanwhile static stretching, the more old school method of sitting and holding through a stretch for 10-20 seconds each major muscle group after a workout. Helping our bodies flush away lactic acid, reduce blood levels of adrenaline, lets resting heart rate return and reduces the amount of muscle soreness the following day.

Have a click on this image for a guide to stretches…

 

Stretching is something we shouldn’t ignore especially when doing serious sports. As we age our muscles and joints become less and less elastic therefore injuries are more likely to occur even if you are fairly fit. Take for example playing sports I find a quick ankle, knee, wrist and shoulder warmup invaluable for injury prevention when playing tennis or soccer. If neglected these joints ache/hurt for days after. This at least makes it worth stretching and mobilising the key muscles groups you are using for your chosen activity before you start.

After exercise focusing on static stretching of larger muscles like the hamstrings, chest, quads, back and shoulders is probably a good idea to flush the muscles and help them recover.

So just a quick reminder to stretch before/after strenuous activity. With dynamic stretching and mobility being essential before and static stretching for 10-20 seconds on larger muscle groups after.

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The Co-Worker Drop – The Ultimate Office Workout

Editors Note: This is a contribution from Sergeant Michael Volkin, best-selling author of military books and inventor of Strength Stack 52 bodyweight fitness cards.

If you are like most people, you spend most of your days sitting in a cubicle or office with your only exercise being a trip to the bathroom.  This constant sitting literally takes years off your life.  Even though the gym may be only a couple miles away, it seems like a hundred miles while stuck in the office.  Don’t worry, I have invented the perfect solution, I call this workout the Co-Worker Drop. All you need are some co-workers to play along.

If you have the Strength Stack 52 fitness cards, you can just follow the card games instructions here.

Goal: To get the most points by catching other players using drop words.

Instruction: Determine who will be playing the game. The more players involved, the more interesting the game gets.  One person must be the lead player. The lead player organizes the emails and tally’s the points.  A formal meeting is not necessary but an email must go out to all players informing them of the drop word. A drop word is determined by each player and can be anything from “keyboard” to “meeting” or even “action item”.  Very common words like “of”, “and”, and “is” are not allowed.  Once each player has selected their drop word, they email their word to the leader along with a bodyweight exercise (i.e. push-up, squat, wall sit, etc.). The leader then sends an email to all players informing every one of the drop words, exercises associated with that word, and rep count for each exercise.  Once the email is sent the game begins and doesn’t end until the end of the workday (or a time determined by the leader).

For the remainder of the day, whenever any player witnesses verbally or in writing any other player saying any of the drop words, the violator must perform that exercise. One important rule is the player witnessing the violation must inform the violator within 10 seconds. You cannot go up to the violator 3 hours later and say you remember him/her using a drop word earlier. Whenever a player uses your drop word, you get 3 points.  Whenever a player uses someone else’s drop word, you get 1 point.  Please note, you must physically hear a player using your drop word in order to get 3 points.

As a variation, you could have all the players determine drop words for people not playing. Then, whenever a non-player uses a drop word, all the players must do an exercise.

There are dozens of variations to this game, just get creative! By performing random exercises throughout the day you are actually increasing your metabolic rate.  You will find you are more attentive at work and the work day will go by much faster. Give it a try!

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Strengthen Your Core

A short and simple post about strengthening your core with simple body weight exercises you can do at home, or with minimal equipment in the gym. There is too much talk about just doing compound exercises and avoiding core work these days – whilst this is true it leads to neglected direct core work which is not a good idea.

You are better off finding a balance between the two. Doing exercises like pullups, squats, pushups, and sprinting. Whilst also using some more direct core work to help improve your posture, balance, co-ordination and everyday movement. Basically helping you in the real world. A weak core is not a good thing….

weak or inflexible core muscles can impair how well your arms and legs function. And that saps power from many of the moves you make. Properly building up your core cranks up the power. A strong core also enhances balance and stability. Thus, it can help prevent falls and injuries during sports or other activities

So what exercises are we recommending and when? How about doing some core work on its own when your body is strong or after doing some cardio or playing sports. We aren’t going for rippling abs but rather a tight, balanced, and strong set of core muscles that will decrease your chance of injuries, improve your posture and athletic prowess.

Reverse Crunch – One of the best, it is scalable and gives the lower abs and back a challenging workout.

Twisting Crunches – Throw some of these in to work the obliques and mobilise your spine.

Planks – Simple but extremely effective at working deep into the core.

Spidermans – More compound ab exercise that will work your hips and lift the heart rate

So 4 exercises. How about doing 3 sets of each without break for 1 minute each. That is a total of 12 minutes and a great core workout that you can do 1-2 times a week. Stick to it for a month ans see the difference.

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Please consider Subscribing to our free articles and checking out our new eBook ‘All About Fitness’ for more ideas on building a lean athletic body! If you enjoyed this article please Tweet about it.