It is important to stretch before and after a workout…that we know. It is all too easy to pull a muscle and suffer an injury if the body is not ready for exertion.
Stretching is helpful during the initial warm-up, but of significant importance during the cool-down period. Many people rely on their body position alone when stretching to warm their muscles prior to exercising and during the cool-down, but let’s consider using exercise resistance bands for stretching.
We blog a lot about the benefit of improving fitness and muscle tone, and how StayFIT equipment can help, but stretching is just as important. Exercise bands, paired with StayFIT fitness stations, are an excellent addition to a stretching routine.
There are so many ways in which exercise resistance bands are used for stretching. I will just describe a few techniques that I have used.
Ankle stretch: Wrap the exercise band around the arch of your foot. Then, pull on the band while rotating your ankle around in a circle. The tension and stretch-ability of the band helps warm up the ankle and gently strengthen.
Leg stretch: Step through the band and position it around your waist. Now lay down on a hard, flat surface and place one foot into the exercise band, holding the band with both hands on either side. (The StayFIT Multi-Activity Bench is helpful for this stretch.) Holding onto the band and pulling toward you will increase resistance while you raise and lower your leg to increase the stretch. Start slowly and increase the speed of the leg lift as your muscles warm-up, keeping your leg straight as you lift and lower.
Thigh stretch: Keep the band wrapped around one of your feet, but slide the band up and off from around your waist. Turn onto your stomach and pull the band with your hands to above or next to your head. This time, you will bend at the knee and lift your leg behind you. Tug a few times so you feel that stretch on the top of your thigh. Now hold the exercise resistant band tight while you try and straighten your leg back onto the bench. You should continue to feel the stretch in the front of your leg.
Groin stretch: It is easy to pull the groin muscle if not properly warmed up before exercising. This is a painful injury that can often be avoided if properly stretched. To stretch this area, step into the band and position it so the band wraps around the outside of each ankle. If desired, the same tension will be applied if the band is raised to around of calves. Now, walk your legs apart and bend one knee while the other leg remains extended to the side. Bend forward so your torso leans directly over the knee that is bent. The stretch is felt through the inside and along the outer-leg. It is wise to hold this position and not bounce. Using an exercise resistance band is not required for performing the groin stretch, but it will add tension and thus increase the effectiveness. I also suggest holding onto a fitness station, such as the Leg Stretch or similar equipment, to help balance yourself.
Consider using exercise resistance bands in your regular workout routine as well. Although, the StayFIT equipment is designed for individuals to use their own body weight as resistance, who says you can’t add a bit more complexity? These bands are highly stretchable and can improve the effectiveness of a variety of exercises.
Whether preparing for a rigorous workout, a bike ride, or even a casual walk, it is always a good idea to start and end with a stretch. Using exercise resistance bands for stretching and fitness helps increase balance and body control, as well as offer additional resistance.