Basic Stretches video series by personal trainer, Margie Weiss - Straddle Stretch
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Margie Weiss: My name is Margie Weiss and this is Basic Stretching. What we're going to do now is a real basic stretch. It's usually the first one that I do with people when I teach a class. The idea is to stretch the area from the waist to the hip. All we're going to do here is, gently tip forward. Now you're going to notice in a class or even here, you're going to see a different amount of flexibility in each person. My daughter Jeremy was an international level figure skater, notice how far she can go down, that's an athletic positioning. Leslie is a really good Body Pump instructor, but she is more normal what most people would look like when they do this position. The thing is critical as you want your knees to the ceiling only straddle as wide as you're comfortable, different range for different people. When you tip forwards, feel as if you're folding like a book rather than rounding your back and tucking your head under. You want to flatten your back and reach your chin for the front. If you've got a spotter and you're working in partners the partner can always put their hands behind you at the base of his spine and gently press forwards. Places where you're going to feel is behind the knees, in the hamstring, maybe in the lower back depending on your flexibility you're going to feel it in different areas, but notice there are a lot of different muscles being stretched here. Taking deep breath in and out is going to help your body relax. Now on Jeremy here, you'll notice that legs are wider and her back is flatter to the ground and her chin is out. For her, this is comfortable; this is not comfortable for most people. So, you do the range of motions that's comfortable for you. Then we're going to go to the side, so we're going to gently come up and we're going to tip to one side, we're going to put one hand in the back, one hand in the front and folding like a book we're reaching our chin towards our toes, back is nice and flat, and again, you're breathing. You want to make sure that the opposite hip is on the ground as you're going down because you don't want to lift it up and tip over. Once she get there look at neutral, that means the backbone is flat, you're looking right down at your knee, and again, no matter how far down you're, you can still hit straight line position. If you want to twist just a little bit, we take the back hand, put it forwards and lift the fingers towards the ceiling. Top arm is a dead weight, it's going to extend out, pass the toe as you're extending trying to keep the body straight line rather than chest towards the floor, shoulder towards the floor. If you want to extend that a little further you can open the top hand to the back, look at the ceiling, and then once you have done that, bring it on back in and return right on down to the sideways. Generally, you want to hold a stretch for about 20 seconds. Nice, and easy, breathing and counting. These are warm up stretches that we would do at the beginning of a workout. Obviously, we did it to one side, if you have two sides; you've got to do it to the other side too. It's called equal and opposite and you want to make sure that both sides of your body are not only equally strong, but equally flexible because this assures that you're not going to have back problems or imbalance in the muscles, which can cause structural problems or structural damage to your body.
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