Stretching For Increased Sports Performance
Hi, and welcome back to our Flex-to-Fit workout series! I’m Trevor Theismann for Kbands Training and today I’ll be taking you through a series of stretching exercises designed to ease soreness in the leg muscles and improve athletic performance. We’ve been receiving a long list of questions and requests from viewers about athletic stretching and recommended stretching exercises, and we’ll be addressing some of those comments with today’s stretching workout.
For this set of stretching exercises, we’ll be relying on the stunt strap or stretching strap, a simple black stretching band with a convenient foothold that’s available for purchase on the site ($6.95) if you don’t have one already. You’ll also need some floor space. Ready? Let’s get started.
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Stretching Exercise 1: Hamstrings
Sit on the floor with your legs in front of you and your knees straight, and loop the foothold over your left foot. Now lie back on the floor and with your right leg still extended and lying flat, raise your left leg toward the ceiling, keeping your knee straight. Applying stretching pressure to the hamstring by keeping a firm grip on the band as you lift.
Those with greater hamstring flexibility will be able to raise the leg up to or beyond a 90 degree angle, but no matter how high you’re able to raise your leg, keep it straight at the knee. You won’t get much benefit out of this stretching exercise if your knee starts to bend. So keep it straight, even if this means you don’t raise the leg very far off the floor.
Apply stretching pressure to your hamstring for a steady 10 to 15 seconds. Now, without relaxing your grip on the stretching band, bend your knee slightly and straighten it out again about five times in a row.
Stretching Exercise 2: IT Band
The next stretching exercise for the IT band can easily become a lower back stretch, so to keep the pressure on the IT band area (the back and side of the thigh), watch my body position carefully in the video.
Without changing your grip on the stretching band or relaxing your raised leg, move the leg across your body to the right side and pull it gently toward the floor. Try to keep both hips pressed toward the floor, since raising your left hip moves the stretch to your lower back.
Now, to move the stretching exercise into the hip and groin area, bring the same leg (left) up toward the left side of your head. Feel how this stretching exercise loosens the hip, hamstring, and pelvic bowl area. You’ll need to bend your right knee to stabilize yourself during this stretching exercise.
Stretching Exercise 3: Hip Flexors and Quads
For the next stretching exercise, roll onto your stomach without letting go of the band, then bend your left knee and pull the band up behind your back. You should feel this stretching exercise in the front of your hip and quad. Lift your knee up off the floor to maximize the stretching sensation in your hip.
After you complete this final stretching exercise in the series, sit up, transfer the foothold loop to your right knee and start the same stretching exercises over again on your right side.
Finally, after you complete the series on both sides, set the band aside and place all your weight on one knee with other propped up in front of you. Now lean forward over your raised knee to apply a final stretching exercise to your hip. After a minute or two in this position, switch your position and work the other hip. As you do this, keep your hips square and try not to arch your lower back.
Stretching Exercises: Final Notes
Stretching cold muscles can take a long time and may keep you from getting the most out of a stretching session, so before you start these exercises, you may want to warm up by talking light jog or walking around for a few minutes. When you’re ready to start the stretching exercises, try to hold each position for a full minute or two if you can.
As always, leave your comments and questions in the comment section below and feel free to subscribe above for more Flex-to-Fit Workouts. See you next week!