Warm up Stretching Tips Audio
Listen to the Warm up Stretching Tips Audio. Includes myths and misconceptions about how to use stretching in the warm up.
by Brad Walker | First Published July 2, 2005 | Updated September 14, 2017
With so much conflicting research about the role stretching plays in the warm up, it’s no surprise that we often hear questions like: What role does stretching play in the warm up? What type of stretching works best? Should I stretch at all before exercise?
In this free audio presentation titled, Warm up Stretching Tips, you’ll learn the important role stretching plays in the warm up, plus how to incorporate the right types of stretching into your warm up for peak performance and injury prevention.
If you’re looking to improve your sporting performance, or just minimize injuries, it is important to follow the information in this audio. In addition, adding a few simple stretches to your fitness program will also help. To get started on a safe and effective stretching routine that’s just right for you, check out the Ultimate Guide to Stretching & Flexibility.
Read the Warm up Stretching Tips Transcript
Moderator: I just want to welcome everyone to FitCom Expo, and we have a special guest, Brad Walker, on the line. Welcome, Brad.
Brad: Well, thank you very much. It’s definitely an honor and a pleasure to be here.
Moderator: It’s good to have you. Why don’t you enlighten us on some stretching?
Brad: [Laughter] My pleasure. Firstly, look, I just want to say congratulations to Ryan and Geo and everyone who’s been putting on the FitCom Expo because it is an absolutely fantastic compilation of information and both the quality and quantity of the information is just unbelievable, which is fantastic. So what I want to do before I get into it, I’ll just run through a little bit of background about myself and how I got involved in the industry, and how I became interested in the field of stretching and flexibility. And then we’ll get into the presentation.
I myself have been in the fitness industry for about a little over twenty years. I began running track and cross country in high school, and swimming competitively from quite an early age. These led into triathlon, which I competed in for quite awhile and actually spent a couple years as a full-time professional tri-athlete. And during this time, I was lucky enough to work with a very experienced swim coach, and he had a number of Olympic athletes in his squad. And I was always fascinated, and this was twenty years ago when there wasn’t a lot of emphasis on strength and conditioning, and I was always fascinated by how much strength and conditioning work he did with his athletes, and how much weight training and stretching and all sorts of other different things that he used to complement the swimmers. And that always intrigued me and got me interested in this field.
And from there I went to University and studied health science and sports and exercise. And when I left there, I was fortunate enough to get another job with another coach by the name of Col Stewart. And Col is the coach and father of world triathlon champion Miles Stewart. And so I had a grand opportunity there to work with different athletes.
One of the great things about working with Col was that his squad comprised of a whole range of different athletes. Obviously, we had the tri-athletes and the runners and the swimmers and the cyclists, but we also worked with athletes like Mick Doohan, world champion 500 cc motorcycle racer. We worked with world champion squash players, with world champion roller skaters, and we just had this hugely-diverse range of athletes that we were working on. It was quite an honor to be able to see those different athletes and not only look at the differences between the sports, but also look at the similarities between the athletes in the different sports, so that was a fantastic opportunity, and I so I certainly learned a lot and started my you know, I started to get more involved in this strength and conditioning and the stretching and so forth.
And one of the things we started to see with the athletes we were working with, was you know, an incidence of sport’s injury. And what we started to do was we started to analyze these athletes and look at ways whereby we could not only get over the injury, but also help the athletes recover more quickly, and in the long-term actually prevent them from getting those injuries.
So we started experimenting with a lot of different techniques, and one thing we found was that a lot of the athletes who had problems, who had sport’s injuries, had a huge lack of flexibility, either specifically in a particular muscle group or just generally all over. And we started to experiment with a lot of different stretching and flexibility exercises to see if we could help those athletes. And we started using a whole range of different flexibility methods and we started at looking at what type of stretching worked in what circumstances, and you know, we started to see some great results for improving the athletes’ flexibility. So that led onto other things and that started my interest in the field of stretching and flexibility and from there everything’s just grown.
So what I want to talk just briefly about the state of the stretching and flexibility industry at the moment. And it’s quite an exciting time for stretching and flexibility. I look at stretching and flexibility now as strength training was 20 years ago. We’re right on that verge of moving forward. For a long time, we’ve been going around in circles, and been swinging back and forth between yeah stretching is great or no you don’t need to do stretching any more. And we’re starting to get a more mature or a more balanced view of stretching and how to view stretching and so forth.
So, that’s quite exciting, and I think in the next five to ten years we’re going to see some huge advances in the way we use stretching, in how we apply stretching to particular athletes and so forth. So, it’s quite an exciting time and I think over the next five or ten years we’ll see some really great advancement in the field of stretching and flexibility.
So what we’re going to talk about in the next few minutes is something that has been causing a lot of confusion not only by the athletes and trainers, but also the general population as well, and that is how to use stretching as part of the warm up. And for a long time, there were a number of people who were actually under the impression that stretching was obsolete and we no longer needed to use stretching as part of the warm up or as part of you know, movement preparation for athletic performance and so forth.
So it is important that we look at this from a balanced, mature perspective, and look at how to use stretching properly and the right types of stretching and all that stuff to maximize the benefits of their warm up and so forth.
Now, for a long time we were seeing a lot of comments from people saying you no longer need to stretch before you exercise. Fortunately, I can say over the last twelve months those comments have died down quite a lot. So that’s starting to say that people are starting to understand how to use stretching more.
But for a long time there, we received a lot of comments, and some of them quite aggressive sometimes, saying that don’t you keep up with the latest research? It’s been proven that stretching is no longer needed. You don’t need to do the stretching before your workout any more. So, and this is the confusion that’s come about over the last few years. And what I want to do is just have a look at where this belief, or where this theory came from.
And a few years ago, I think it was about ’05, 2005, there were a number of studies done on stretching as it related to athletic performance. And one of the most commonly quoted one was a study on standing jump height or vertical jump height. There was also another one on power and output for gymnasts and about how stretching either helped or didn’t help those athletes in that particular circumstance.
Now, what happened was that people took those studies to mean that stretching was no longer relevant any more or we could do away with stretching altogether, which certainly isn’t the case. I’m sure a lot of you know of Alan Crosgrove, and he commonly said that we tend to over react in the short term and under react in the longer term, and this was a classic example of exactly that.
We had people looking at studies, obviously not reading them fully, but looking at studies and making conclusions about stretching that just weren’t true. I think I mentioned before, that the field of stretching and flexibility is at the same level strength training was, say twenty years ago.
And if anyone’s been in the industry for that long, you’ll probably remember fifteen, twenty years ago there was a huge debate as to whether we should do strength training or weight training to complement athletic training. So the accepted theory was that if you’re a runner – all you need to do is run, or if you’re a swimmer, all you need to do is swim. And then people started to use weight training, and there was a lot of debate over whether weight training did any good at all or weight training’s a waste of time or weight training didn’t have any performance enhancing benefits. And then the pendulum would swing to the other side where weight training was the be all and end all of athletic conditioning and you can cut back on your sport specific training and just do more weight training.
And for quite a few years there we had this pendulum effect where weight training was bad, and then the next month weight training was good, and then we’d go back to weight training’s bad. And fortunately, over time we’ve come to a more balanced and more mature view, and we now know that weight training is beneficial when used correctly, and it’s very, very similar to the field of stretching and flexibility at the moment.
We’re just starting to realize that yes, stretching is beneficial, but you have to know what you’re doing. You have to know how to incorporate it. You have to know the different types to incorporate and so forth to get the maximum benefits out of it. So fortunately, I think we’re moving in the right direction, and what we’re going to do is we’re going to hopefully dispel some of those myths and misconceptions about stretching and how to use it, and why we use it and so forth, in the warm up.
So before we move on, we’ll just have a quick look at what some of the current research is saying. And if you have your handouts there, you’ll notice that I’ve quoted one of the quotes from some research done in the last few years. And this was a review of the literature that had been put out about stretching up until this date, and basically the conclusion that was made was that there hasn’t been enough study done, and of all the studies that have been done, they’re not specific enough. They’re too general in nature, and I certainly tend to agree with this quote, although as I’ve said before, I think we’re just starting to move down the right track, and we’re going to see some great results in the next five or ten years.
So if some of studies in the past haven’t given us the answers that we’ve been looking for, what exactly is wrong with those studies? And one of the things that those early studies failed to do was they failed to differentiate between the different types of stretching and when to use the different types of stretching. So a lot of these studies, a lot of the early studies, were looking at doing static stretching before exercise improved performance. And from some previous studies done, we know that in specific cases, static stretching immediately before power-based or explosive-type activities can be detrimental.
But you know, we need to get good results. We need to ask the right questions, and fortunately, I think we’re learning a lot, and there’s going to be some great studies coming out over the next five years or so.
The other thing that the study tried to do, or some of the studies tried to do, was to prove whether stretching improved performance or reduced injury, and in most cases the studies took say three or four very basic static stretches. They had one group doing the stretches before their workout; the other group not doing the stretches before their workout. And in just about every one of those cases they found that doing static stretches immediately before their activity had no real effect on performance enhancing or injury reduction. And I relate it to doing bicep curls before you go swimming, and that’s on an equivalent, whereas doing three static stretches for your legs before you going running aren’t necessarily going to make you run any faster or reduce your injury or so forth. Just as doing a couple of sets of bicep curls is not going to help with your swimming, but using stretching and strength exercises over a period of time will have a beneficial effect.
So, anyway, it’s quite positive – some of studies that are being done at the moment. I’m actually talking with the U.S.A. Track and Field at the moment about a study that they’re doing on stretching, and this is actually just an initial study. It’s like a baseline study to get some information for future studies, so that’s going to be quite exciting. And I’m very confident that we’re going to get some really good results of that. And there’s a lot of other good studies starting to come out that we can really draw from and get some concrete evidence to move forward and so forth.
So let’s just have a look at the purpose of stretching in the warm up. A lot of people have been under the impression that stretching is the warm up, and that’s certainly not the case. Stretching is just one part of the warm up, one important part, but by itself it’s quite ineffective. So you know, that’s why we shouldn’t try and separate stretching from the warm up. It should be part of it and incorporated into the warm up and into other warm up activities to bring the mind and body to a physical peak which is ready for athletic performance and so forth.
And my view, as much as I am a big fan of stretching and flexibility, I am more than aware that stretching and flexibility is only one part of an overall strength and conditioning program. And I certainly don’t proclaim that stretching is the be all and end all of athletic performance. It’s certainly no magic bullet or magic pill that makes all your injuries go away and makes you perform better. But when used with a number of other injury prevention methods and performance enhancement methods, your stretching is very, very effective. So I think it’s important that we move more towards a holistic approach and move towards incorporating stretching as part of their overall training program and not trying to separate it or make it a separate little thing that we try and do on the side.
So before we move on to some more practical things, what we’re going to do is just take a very quick look at the type of stretching that works, basically. This is where some of the initial studies fell down, that they failed to identify the appropriate type of stretching for the activity, and this was one of the big stumbling blocks to the studies actually getting positive results or results that we could benefit from and work with.
So just to recap on the different types of stretching, we can basically break stretching exercises down into two groups. We’ve got static stretches and we’ve got dynamic stretches. Now, static stretches are stretching exercises that are performed without any movement. So a classic static stretch is where the athlete gets into the stretch position, moves to where they feel tension in the muscle group, and then hold that for a period of time. And these are static stretches. This is why they’re called static because there’s no movement.
Then on the other hand, we have dynamic stretches, and dynamic stretches are stretching exercises which are done with movement, and they involve a slow or steady swinging or movement of a particular body part to gradually lengthen the muscles and the soft tissues around that area.
Now, within those two groups, there’s a number of different types of stretches. Within static stretching, there’s active stretching, there’s passive stretching, there’s PNF. There’s a whole range of different things within dynamic stretching. You have things like ballistic stretching. You have things like active isolated stretching, and dynamic stretching, and so forth. So within both of those categories, you have a number of different types, but broadly speaking, they can be only grouped into one of two categories.
So it’s important that we identify which type of stretching is most suited to the purpose that we’re trying to achieve. And just like there are different types of strength exercises that are suited to different purposes that the different types of stretching exercises are also suited to different purposes. So it’s important that we’re able to identify the type of stretching that’s most beneficial and then incorporate that into the program at the right time. So let’s have a look at an example of a warm up, and just go through some of the elements or some of the components of an effective warm up.
Firstly, we’re looking at what I like to refer to as just the general warm up where we’re just preparing the body for more strenuous activity to come. You know, movement prep is a common term used today, not necessarily to replace warm up, but to just give a more overall view of what we’re trying to achieve. And movement, correct, is quite an appropriate title to use because that is exactly we’re trying to do. We’re preparing the body for movement. We’re preparing the body for more activity and so forth. And any light, general physical activity is good for this simply by anything that elevates the heart rate, gets the blood flowing, increases the muscle temperature and core temperature and so forth. This is all part of the initial stage before we get into the other components of the warm up.
And the next component that I like to add is static stretching, and for a long time here at the Stretching Institute, we caught a fair bit of flack from people for continuing to include static stretching in our warm up because a lot of people figured that these studies “proved” that you didn’t need to do static stretching any more. So fortunately a lot of people are starting to recognize the benefits of static stretching and that it does have benefits when used at the right time with the right person and so forth.
So, and interestingly, I was talking with Mike Boyle a couple of months back, and he actually published an article called “The Static Stretching Renaissance.” And in that article, he went into detail about how static stretching had been neglected and you know, it’d been it’d be the baby had been thrown out with the bath water so to speak, and people had totally ditched static stretching altogether. So, and he went into some detail about how he uses static stretching as part of his warm up and as part of his movement preparation and so forth, and that using static stretching certainly does have a lot of benefits when used correctly.
So that is the next component to the warm up that I like to use. It helps to gradually lengthen the muscles and associated soft tissues that you’re going to be working with, and incorporated with the general warm up and static stretching, it has a great effect of really preparing the body for more aggressive or more dynamic-type movements and so forth.
And then the next thing that we start to incorporate in the warm up is a sport specific warm up where we’re starting to do drills or techniques that are specific to the particular sport that the athlete’s involved in. So you know, for example, a grid iron player would start to do some side-to-side-type movements, run some cones, very short sprint-type activities and gradually building up and building up until where you’d start off at maybe 60 percent effort and you’d build up and build up and build up to the point where you’re just touching on that maximum effort and so forth.
And then lastly, it’s great to incorporate a number of dynamic stretches which are specific to the individual requirements of the particular sport that you’re working with, so, and this, these last two points here, the sport specific warm up and the dynamic stretching, these can certainly be integrated together.
What I tend to do, although I’ve broken them down into four particular parts; what I tend to do is group the first two together – the general warm up and the static stretching together, and then I group together the next two parts – the sport specific warm up and the dynamic stretching. And this will prepare the athlete for maximum performance in their sport and so forth. So it’ll really get them to the point where they’re at peak physical condition to go out and play their game or do their sport and so forth. So this is certainly a guideline.
I’ve added some timeframes for these different components, and you know, a lot of times these timeframes are a little unrealistic, you know. I put down here five to fifteen minutes for the general warm up, and another ten or so minutes of static stretching, and ten minutes of sport specific stretching, and a few minutes of dynamic stretching. Well in a real world example, this is just not practical, you know.
Very few athletes today have half an hour to prepare for their workout. Now maybe that’s different when they’re preparing to run a final at a work championship or at Olympic Games, but in general day-to-day training, and for the general amateur athlete or the person who just enjoys doing a little bit of physical activity these guidelines aren’t always practical. So that’s one reason why I like to group the four components into two broader groups, and obviously from there we can scale down those timeframes.
And what I’ve been doing a lot of lately is actually starting to incorporate the sport specific warm up – the drills and so forth and the dynamic stretches into the body of the warm up. Into the body of the workout (sorry). And what this tends to do is it tends to move the athlete through the warm up and into their workout without them even noticing that they’ve changed from warm up to work out, and because what I was finding was a lot of athletes dreaded the warm up and the cool down. They actually viewed it as something that was taking away from their main workout.
So you had a lot of athletes would turn up late because they knew they were only going to be warming up for the first five or fifteen minutes or so, or they’d take off early because you know, they thought they didn’t really need to cool down.
But by incorporating all these warm up components, by incorporating all these into the body of the workout, we’re actually moving the athlete from a cold state into a warmed up state and into a peak state for their workout in one smooth movement without the athlete actually figuring out that they’ve actually gone through a warm up. And I find this works a lot better with athletes getting them more encouraged about doing warm ups and stretching and so forth. So by incorporating, especially dynamic stretching, we do a lot of incorporating dynamic stretching during the main body of the workout and so forth, and this has had some really good positive effects.
So let’s just have a look at or do a bit of a recap and have a look at some of the conclusions that we can make. I think people now are starting to realize that stretching is beneficial, just as strength training is, but the key factor is that it’s used in the right way at the right time with the right type of stretches and so forth.
So you know, it’s important that we understand the different type of stretching exercises available to us and how to incorporate them into our workouts and so forth. And just like any other activities there are certainly rules and guidelines to ensure that they’re safe, and stretching is no exception. Stretching can be very dangerous if done inappropriately or if the wrong type of stretching is done with the wrong type of person or with someone with an injury.
For example, pushups are a great exercise, but if they’re done with the wrong person if they’re done with someone with a shoulder injury, then there’s certainly the potential for damage and harm and further injury. So we need to understand how to incorporate stretching effectively. We need to be able to recognize the different types of stretching and so forth, and how each type benefits different situations and scenarios.
So, and just to finish off, I want to recap on a point that I made earlier about stretching being just one important component to assist in the overall reduction of injury and improvement of performance, and as I said before, stretching is not a magic pill. Stretching by itself is very ineffective. It’s when stretching is used in combination with a number of other injury prevention techniques and a number of other performance enhancing techniques that the benefits of stretching and improved flexibility is really, really seen.
So I think it’s important to look at stretching. I heard one trainer say that stretching is just one spoke in the fitness wheel, and when you have all the spokes in the wheel, the wheel turns around quite well. But when you’re missing a spoke the wheel doesn’t turn as well as it should, and stretching is just one spoke in this fitness wheel. And we need to be able to incorporate it with all the other things or the other techniques and use it effectively as part of our athletic conditioning and so forth.
Just before we go to questions, what I want to do is just let you know that we have some resources; some free resources that are available at our website. At our website we have a quite a large archive of stretching, flexibility, and sports injury articles. At present, there’s well over 100 articles there, all dealing specifically on stretching, flexibility, and sports injury. So it’s a great resource for information on treating injuries, information on preventing injuries how to incorporate your stretching and so forth, and that’s at our website at thestretchinginstitute.com.
And another resource that we have there, which is also a free resource, we’ve put together a six-part course on the basics of flexibility. And we put together this course to try and give people a foundation or a base level of stretching and flexibility so that they are able to go away and make decisions on how to incorporate stretching and how to do it safely and how to get maximum benefits out of it and so forth.
So this is quite basic information, and I would hope that most of the personal trainers and sports coaches and so forth would already know this type of information. But the course was put together for not necessarily for the personal trainers and sports coaches, it was more put together for the people that you’re working with. So if you have athletes you’re working with or clients that you’re working with encourage them to go there and get that course. It’ll give them a real basic understanding of how to use stretching and so forth.
And we also have a one-hour audio presentation that I did about six months ago, and that goes into quite a lot more detail of how to use stretching. It goes into how to use the different techniques for maximum benefit and so forth, and it goes into some of the anatomy and physiology of stretching and so forth. And both of those resources – the e-course and the audio, are entirely free. And you can get them from StretchingSecretsRevealed.com.
And of course, if you have any questions we welcome them at our website at the stretching institute.com. Just head over there and ask any questions you want. We’re more than happy to answer any question that you’ve got for us. And that actually brings us to our next point of questions, so if we do have any questions, let’s get into them.
Moderator: Yes, Brad, we have two that came in. One is from Todd from Kentucky. He wants to know, “What would you do with someone who has a chronic hamstring sprain. It pops up every single season?” and the guy’s only in high school. So it’s been going on for about seven years.
Brad: Yep. Very common. Extremely common. Too common, unfortunately. And this basically stems from the fact that the injury hasn’t been healed properly, and there’s a number of components that an athlete needs to go through to make sure that these type of muscle strain or soft tissue injuries are taken care of properly because if they’re not – and this is not just specific to hamstring injuries, this is also very common with shoulder injuries and so forth.
What happens is the athlete just goes through this continual cycle of they think they’re better, and then they get injured again, and then they work on rehabilitation for awhile. They think they’re better, and then they get injured again. And if we don’t take care of this problem initially, this is the pattern that will continue forever and ever basically.
So the issue that has occurred is when a strain, when a muscle strain occurs, there’s a lot of damage done to those muscle fibers, and instead of the muscle rebuilding itself with new muscle, it actually rebuilds itself with scar tissue. Now the problem with scar tissue is that scar tissue is very weak and very inflexible. And so there’s no movement in the scar tissue, and when scar tissue forms in the muscle, it actually forms a weak spot in the muscle. And we’ve worked with athletes specifically with this exact hamstring injury, and you can actually feel the scar tissue in the hamstring muscle, in the belly of the muscle. You can feel the scar tissue that has built up over time because of this repeated injury over and over again.
So until we get rid of that scar tissue, you will continue to have that same problem. So there’s certainly a number of techniques that can be used, and I mentioned before that there are articles are our website. We’ve got a stack of articles specifically on soft tissue injury and how to treat it properly, and they’re like ten-page articles. They go into a lot of detail, so what I’ll do here is I’ll just give you a brief overview of the rehabilitation process, and then if you want more information, you can go to our website at thestretchinginstitute.com.
So initially, in the first couple of hours of an injury, you want to be applying what’s commonly known as the RICE technique, and that’s Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation, okay? And that’s the initial part of the rehabilitation process. The next part of the process that you need to be looking at is activities that promote healing. So we’ve gone from using the RICE regimen initially, and the whole point of the RICE regimen is to decrease swelling, decrease the blood flow at the injury site, which in turn will limit the formation of the scar tissue. So that’s an important first component to getting over these types of injuries.
Secondly, we need to look at activities that help with the repair and regeneration of the muscle and the soft tissue injury. So, we’re looking at things like massage and heat, these type of things. Now these, in opposition to what the RICE does, these start to promote the blood flow. These start to get the blood flowing to the injured area where the oxygen and the nutrients and so forth start to heal the damage and so forth.
Now a key component to getting rid of the scar tissue is massage and stretching. The massage and the stretching help to realign the scar tissue fibers. It helps to get rid of them, and it helps the muscle to go back to the way it was before the injury. And without this component of massage and stretching and obviously very gentle stretching at this point in the recovery process. Without this process of massage and stretching, you just will not get rid of the scar tissue, and you will keep having the same problem over and over again.
So, this phase of the rehab process typically takes between anywhere between five to fifteen days depending on how aggressive you are with the injury rehabilitation techniques and so forth. But what you’ll find after about two to three weeks is the athlete will actually feel like the injury is gone. And this is actually quite a dangerous time for the athlete because they start to get some confidence back. They start to feel ah, yeah, I’m feeling good. My injury is better now. And they start to go back into full training, and they just reinjure themselves and they start the whole cycle again.
So this last part of the injury rehabilitation process is quite important; equally as important as all the other processes. And this last part of the injury rehab is where you’re getting the athlete ready to go back to competition-state training.
And our goal always when working with an injured athlete, our goal is always to get that athlete back to 110 percent of what they were before the injury. And you know, a lot of people say, “Well how do you get someone 110 percent better than they were?” Well, quite simply, what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to make the injured area stronger than it was before the injury. We’re trying to make it more flexible and more pliable and more supple than it was before the injury. We’re trying to make the injured area more capable of handling explosive or plyometric type activities and so forth.
And all these things are quite key in finishing off the injury where you have process, and we use things like, obviously, strength training, weight training, and so forth. We use a number of advanced stretching techniques like PNF stretching, isolated stretching, active isolated stretching, active stretching, and a few other different things to really, really condition the muscle. We use a lot of plyometrics and explosive-type activities to really fine tune the area or make sure that we’re well and truly over that injury, and when we do go back to 100 percent training that the injured area is capable of handling anything that’s thrown at it.
Anyway, like I said, that’s a brief overview of the process. There’s a lot more detailed information on our website, and you can get that at the stretchinginstitute.com.
Moderator: Okay, that’s awesome – we have one more question if you have time for it.
Moderator: Awesome. Juan down in Miami asks, “One of his clients that he trains every single soccer season, appears to have a groin injury, but he suspects that it’s actually hip flexor and not groin. What would you say would be a good stretch program to promote healing of the hip flexor – if he thinks it’s overstrained?”
Brad: Yep, again, another common injury seen with athletes, especially with sprinters and sports that involve a lot of sprinting and a lot of fast, quick acceleration, and so forth. And so this the hip flexor, which is basically comprised of two muscles, which form to be the iliopsoas muscles, and this is a common point of injury right in that hip point there, and again, my first recommendation would be to go through some of those injury rehabilitation components that I just spoke about. So obviously, if the injury’s an old injury, then there’s no need to start with the RICE with the Rest, Ice, Compression, and the Elevation. But I would start moving into some injury rehab techniques like massage, gentle stretching, maybe some ultrasound, and those things, and this again will promote blood flow to the area and help in the healing process.
My second recommendation would be to incorporate a number of stretches around the hip area. So not necessarily for the hip flexor muscles, not necessarily for the iliopsoas muscle and the quad muscles and so forth, especially in the early stages of the rehab process. I would be avoiding intense or aggressive stretches in that area. I’d be incorporating a lot of massage and gentle stretching, and the other thing I’d be doing is incorporating a lot of stretching exercises around this area.
So for example, I’d be doing a lot of hip and buttocks stretches, a lot of groin stretches, hamstring stretches, lower back stretches and so forth. What a lot of people don’t understand is that one muscle has a very big effect on other muscles in the body. A common example of this is another hip problem called piriformis syndrome.
The piriformis muscle is a small muscle deep within the hip, and a lot of people come to us and they say, “I’ve got piriformis syndrome, can you give me some piriformis stretches?” And in a lot of cases it’s useless trying to do a stretch for the piriformis because the muscles around the piriformis, the, again, the hips, the buttocks, the groin, the adductors, the hamstrings, all these muscles are so tight that there’s no way that we’re going to be able to stretch the piriformis muscle without doing some flexibility work on the muscles around them.
So yeah, my second suggestion would be to start incorporating a lot of stretching exercises around that hip area. As I mentioned before, the lower back is very important, especially the hips and the buttocks the gluteus muscles. They’re very important. And I would be using a lot of PNF stretching. Again, if you’re unfamiliar with PNF stretching, we’ve got articles on our website that go into detail on that.
PNF stretching is very good for improving flexibility and so forth, so that would be my first choice of the type of stretching to do and so forth. So, Juan, I hope that’s helped you out, and if you’re interested in specific stretching exercises that you can do for sample photographs and descriptions of them so forth, again, just go to our website and we’ve got a number of free stuff there and we’ve also got some paid products.
One of our products is called the Stretching Handbook, that has 135 photos of different stretches that you can do and I don’t have it right with me just at the moment, but I think from memory, for that hip and buttocks area, there’s about twelve stretches for the lower back. There’s you know, nearly twenty stretches you know; for the hamstrings there’s fifteen; for the groin there’s eight; for the adductors there’s eight. So there’s heaps and heaps and heaps of stretches there that you can refer to so that you’re not doing the same stretches over and over again all the time. So I hope that’s helped, and again as I said before, if you do have any specific questions, please feel free to ask us anything via our website. And remember…
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Moderator: Okay. Thanks a lot. Have a great day Brad!
Brad: Thank you very much. It’s been a pleasure. Thank you!
Moderator: Have a good one!
About the Author: Brad is often referred to as the "Stretch Coach" and has even been called the Stretching Guru. Magazines such as Runners World, Bicycling, Triathlete, Swimming & Fitness, and Triathlon Sports have all featured his work. Amazon has listed his books on five Best-Seller lists. Google cites over 100,000 references to him and his work on the internet. And satisfied customers from 122 countries have sent 100's of testimonials. If you want to know about stretching, flexibility or sports injury management, Brad Walker is the go-to-guy.