Gymnastic Stretching Routine For Athletes
A proper gymnastic stretching routine for athletes is essential for avoiding injury. Stretching routines differ between different gymnastics schools. However, the main thing to remember is to limber up all major joints in the body. Try some of these stretching exercises.
- Stretch your ankles. Sit in a chair and extend your left foot forward. Point the toes forward. Slowly rotate your ankle counterclockwise five times. It should look like you're drawing circles with your toes. Repeat counterclockwise with five circles. Switch legs and repeat the whole stretch. Ankle rotation is an essential stretching routine for athletes of all kinds.
- Stretch your calves. Sit on the floor with feet pointing forward. Bend your left leg so that the left foot is flat on the floor. Grab the left ankle and pull it as close to your body as possible. Switch legs and repeat the whole calf stretching routine.
- Touch your toes. Stand up and bend down to touch your toes. Feel the stretch in the lower back and hamstrings. Take a few deep breaths while holding the stretch. Next, bend down and touch your right hand to your left foot with your right hand pointing toward the sky. You'll also feel this stretch in the lower back and hamstrings. Switch arms and repeat with your right foot. This part of your stretching routine will bring greater overall flexibility.
- Stretch your back and hips. Get on your hands and knees. Pull your head up so that you are looking up. At the same time, pull your butt up so that your head, spine and butt form an upward opening arch. Take a few deep breaths and feel the stretch. Next, do a downward opening arch. Tuck your head in toward the body so that it is pointing down. Pull your butt and groin under the body so that your head, spine and butt form a downward arch. Take a few more deep breaths through the nose and really feel the stretch. Repeat this part of your gymnastic stretching routine five times. This is called the Cat Pose in yoga and Pilates.
- Stretch your arms. Pretend that you just got out of bed. Lift your arms straight up and stretch them as much as possible just like the cartoon characters do it when they wake up.
- Loosen up your head and neck. Rotate your shoulders in backward circles for a total count of ten. Repeat with forward circles. Do a few counterclockwise head rolls. Make the biggest circles possible with your neck. Repeat clockwise. Head rolls and shoulder rolls are great ways to loosen joints. Therefore, they form part of a great gymnastic stretching routine for athletes.
For a complete gymnastic stretching routine that truly includes all major muscle groups, ask a gymnastics instructor. Ask your doctor if you have any questions about whether any stretching exercise will cause injury.