Category Archives for "avoid injury"

Five Top Stretches for Swimmers

Strength and aerobic capacity decline with age. We can’t deny it but we know that if we continue to exercise we can slow the decline. Perhaps less talked about, but equally important to us swimmers, is that our flexibility also decreases as we age. This is due to an increase in something called a cross bridge, which are additional links between the collagen fibres at shorter intervals along the length. As a result the collagen in our connective tissue stiffens up. This in turn reduces the available stretch in the fibres.

Fortunately, like strength, flexibility can also be maintained through the right exercise routine. As with many things to do with the human body and mind it’s a case of use it or lose it.

In fact, things you already do to maintain your strength and aerobic capacity – such as swimming – will also help you maintain flexibility, but there’s more you can do:

  • Use a variety of strokes in your swimming training. This will help maintain both strength and flexibility – and it’s more fun.
  • Add yoga or Pilates to your exercise routine.
  • Add a functional training routine to your weekly programme. (see panel below for details)
  • Consider how your daily routine affects your strength and flexibility. Sitting at a desk all day lengthens and weakens the glutes and shortens the hip flexors. Swimming with tight hip flexors will often give you an ache in the lower back and weak glutes will result in a loss of power on hip extension causing you to overuse the hamstrings and ultimately swim slower. If this is you, target these areas on your exercise routines.
  • Stretch regularly – try our five top stretches for swimmers.

Finally, don’t panic that you might have left it too late. Flexibility is actually quite easy to gain and maintain. We often hear people saying that they are simply inflexible and despite stretching they can’t develop muscle length. However it’s always possible to improve your flexibility and it just needs commitment to regular stretching over a long period. It’s true that some are physiologically going to be more flexible than others; however, everyone can improve with a little dedication.

1. Triceps. Hold for 15 seconds.

2. Deltoids. Hold for 15-20 seconds.

3. Pectorals. Hold for 15 seconds in each position

4. Latissimus Dorsi stretch

5. Thoracic mobility. Do 10 repetitions on each side

InSync Physiotherapy is a multi-award winning health clinic helping you in Sports Injuries, Physiotherapy, Exercise Rehabilitation, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture & IMS.

6 Stretches For Anyone With Tight Hamstrings

If you run, bike, are desk-bound all day, or have been sitting in a car or plane traveling, your hamstrings could use some extra love and length. It not only feels good to stretch this commonly tight area, but hamstring flexibility is also important for the health of your back, hips, and knees. Here are six easy and essential stretches that target the backs of your legs. To avoid injury, it’s best to do them at the end of a workout, when the muscles are warm.

Tipover Tuck Hamstring Stretch

This stretch is good for your hamstrings and also loosens tight shoulders.

  • Stand with your feet hips-width distance apart. Interlace your hands behind your back. Keeping your legs straight, bend at the hips, tucking your chin and bringing your hands over your head.
  • Relax the back of your neck, and if the stretch is too intense, release your hands, placing them on the backs of your thighs, and soften your knees. Hold for 30 seconds and slowly roll up to standing.

Scissor Hamstring Stretch

Easy to do anywhere and safe for injured backs, this hamstring stretch is great if you’re really tight.

  • Stand with your feet together. Step your right foot back about two feet and bend forward from your hip joint, keeping your back and both legs straight. After holding for 30 seconds, switch sides.

Standing Hamstring Stretch

If the previous stretch isn’t deep enough for you, then try this variation. It’s perfect for doing on a bench after a run in the park.

  • Prop your left heel up on a surface that is a little lower than your hip, such as a chair or bench. Flex your foot.
  • To increase the stretch, bend forward toward your flexed foot by creasing at your hips. Hold for 30 seconds and switch legs.

Modified Hurdler Stretch

This basic stretch is perfect for targeting one leg at a time, and is great for those with really tight hamstrings.

  • Sit on the floor and straighten your left leg in front of you. Bend the right knee, placing the sole of your right foot against your left inner thigh.
  • Fold over your left leg, keeping your back straight. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch legs.

Forward Bend With Rounded Back

This stretch targets both hamstrings as well as the lower back.

  • Sit on the floor, extending both legs straight out in front of you, legs together.
  • Fold your torso over your thighs, gently rounding the back but keeping the legs straight. Hold here for 30 seconds and then sit up.

Reclined Hamstring Stretch

Here’s a relaxing way to stretch one hamstring at a time.

  • Lie on your back. Raise your left leg as high as you can, keeping your pelvis flat on the ground. Hold your lower thigh and encourage the leg to move toward your head. Flex your foot to stretch your calf too.
  • To deepen the stretch, place a yoga strap or towel on the ball of your foot and use your hands to pull the strap toward you. After 30 seconds, switch legs.
InSync Physiotherapy is a multi-award winning health clinic helping you in Sports Injuries, Physiotherapy, Exercise Rehabilitation, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture & IMS.