Friday, April 1, 2011

And Reach and Stretch!

Stretching. Possibly one of my favorite things to do pre- and post-workouts/runs. I love stretching! And you wanna know why? Cuz it makes any ninja feel like a superstar!
Now, I'm one of those weirdos who stretches before and after any workout. My body responds better. Plus, I used to have to stop multiple times during runs to stretch out my calves (obviously my calves and I have some issues to deal with since we're not good friends). I have also pulled both groin muscles when I didn't stretch before a run. Talk about not having a good story to tell friends when that happens!

Friend: So what happened to you?
Me: I pulled my groin muscle.
Friend: How'd you do that...? *snickering*
Me: I didn't stretch before running...
Friend: Oh lame! I thought it know...
Me: Yeah, I know. Shut up. It wasn't that!

There's this whole theory that stretching before running makes one more prone to injury. I'm sure for some people that is true. It's the opposite for me. But don't do what I do just because I think it's the best thing ever. I don't have liability insurance.

My typical routine of stretches include these (don't mind the scrubs, I had class today):
Straight leg stretch for the hammies. I swear I'm not asleep.
Side stretch. Stretches the adductors.
The "I swear I'm normal!" stretch. Stretches the adductors and hammies.
Butterfly stretch. Stretches the adductors and causes creepy smiles.
Twisty stretch. Stretches abductors and glutes.

The "I'm a freak for being able to stretch this much!" stretch. Stretches the glutes, hammies, and quads.
Best calf stretch for loosening up that gastrocnemius muscle.
Quad stretch for buff brahs only.
Obviously these are only leg stretches. I do stretch my arms but arms aren't exactly the easiest things to stretch. My legs endure the brunt of pain/exhaustion/labor so they get TLC more than any other group of muscles in my body.

It's still a trial and error thing for me with stretching. I can usually get away with only doing one hamstring stretch, one adductor stretch, and the calf stretch if I'm running out of time for my run. I ALWAYS stretch afterward because if I don't, I will be sore and tight the next day. Totally not worth it!

What are your favorite stretches to do? Do you stretch before or after working out?

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