Oxford University Athletic Club

Stretching

Overview

This guide covers some very basic stretching. To do all the stretches takes 30 minutes, which you should aim to do once a week. This can also be split in half, for two 15 minute programmes. One of these should be done after every track session. Stretching is essential for recovery and injury avoidance.

Session A

Hamstrings
Sit on the floor, one leg out straight, one leg bent with foot touching opposite knee. Reach towards straightened leg, keep looking forwards to avoid just bending from upper back.
45 seconds per leg

Hip Adductors
Whilst sitting bring soles of feet together and pull in close towards you, knees falling out to the side. You can pull your feet in towards you or push down on your knees with your elbows to increase the stretch.
Hold for 45 seconds, then try and pivot from your hips and reach forwards. Avoid just bending your upper back, it may help to keep looking up. Hold again for 45 seconds.

Glutes/hip abductors
Sitting with your legs straight in front of you, cross one leg over the other and bend your knee so that your foot is as close to your body as possible. Either hug that knee into your chest or bring your opposite arm in front of and on the outside of your bent knee, and twist so that you are facing towards the side of your bent knee/nearly facing backwards.
Hold for 45 seconds on each leg.

Quadriceps
Difficult – starting in a lunge position, bend your back knee and hold it in a flexed position. Try to keep your pelvis/hips facing forwards. To make the stretch easier, have your back knee closer to being directly under your body. To make the stretch harder, and to stretch your hip flexors more, move your back knee further away from your body and push your hips forwards and downwards.
Easier – either standing or lying, bend one knee and hold that ankle, gently pulling that heel towards glutes.
45 seconds on each leg, x2

Hamstrings and lower back
Sit with both legs straight in front of you, reach up tall with both arms and then reach towards toes. Try to avoid just collapsing your upper back, if it’s an issue try to keep your head up. If you can reach you can hold around your ankles or the bottom of your feet. Dorsiflex your feet to increase the stretch.
45 seconds

Lower back and glutes
Lying on your back in a crucifix position, flex one hip to 90 degrees and bend that knee (up to 90 degrees). Bring flexed leg over your straight leg, whilst trying to keep both shoulders on the ground. You may need to gently press down on your flexed knee to feel the stretch, or gently pulse the flexed knee up and down (in horizontal plane, towards shoulder then foot) to loosed off your lumbar spine.
45 seconds each side

Session B

Hamstring and upper quadriceps/hip flexor
Start in a lunge position, back knee on the ground and front knee at approximately 90 degree angle. You should feel this in the hip flexor of your back leg.
As it eases keep pushing your hips forwards to maintain the stretch.
Then move directly to the second position. You rock back over your back knee, so your front leg straightens. Your back leg should now be at a 90 degree angle. You should feel the stretch in your front hamstring. Lean forward from the hips to increase the stretch but avoid bending your upper back.
Hold each position for 45 seconds, do each position twice (four stretches, total 3 minutes). Then swap legs and repeat.

 

Dynamic hip adductors and hamstrings
Sit in a straddle position. Have legs as wide apart as possible, whilst keeping them straight. Reach towards one leg, hold momentarily then swing (in a controlled way – aiming to keep your belly button as close to the ground as possible) over towards the other leg.
Repeat 5 times on each leg.

Partner hip adductors and hamstrings
Start in the position for exercise 4.
Easier – have your partner sit opposite you also in straddle with your feet/ankles touching. Have your partner hold your wrists/forearms and then gently pull you forwards. Try to pivot from
hips/lower back not just upper back.
Difficult – sit in the starting position and have your partner kneel behind you and gently press down on your lower back whilst you reach forwards.
Hold for 45 seconds, repeat twice then swap partners.

Glutes
Lie on your back, bend one knee at 90 degrees and bring foot up onto opposite thigh/knee. Holding behind your thigh, flex hip to 90 degrees. You should feel the stretch in the glutes of the leg which is bent with the knee out to the side.
Hold for 45 second on each leg.

Calves
From a plank position, bring your hands towards your feet, lift one foot off the ground and be sure to keep the other heel on the ground. To make the stretch easier, bring your hands closer to your feet, to make the stretch harder move your hands away from your feet (keeping your heel on the ground!)
45 seconds on each leg

Abdominals
Lying face down, place your hands in front of you and push up, bending in your lower back. Try to keep your neck long, shoulders down, and keep your hips on the ground. To make the stretch easier move your hands further in front of you and away from your hips, to make the stretch harder bring your hands closer to your hips.
45 seconds

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Stretching is important – please see attached document.

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