When working out, you should never ignore the importance of warming up and cooling down via stretching to promote good performance, optimal recovery and injury prevention. The following chiro-specific exercises may help with boosting range of motion, minimising aching muscles and joints and preventing workout injuries.
1. Stand in a doorway with your arm outstretched sideways, bent at the elbow to a 90-degree angle.
2. Move forward through the doorway, keeping your raised arm against the doorframe. This should produce a stretch in the shoulder.
3. Repeat the stretch on the other arm.
Benefits of the doorway stretch
The muscles of the shoulder and upper arm are commonly used when working out in the gym. This exercise helps activate those muscles to prepare them for hard work or to align them for optimal recovery post-workout.
1. Begin on all fours, with your back horizontal.
2. Slowly arch your back as you inhale, pushing your abdomen towards the floor whilst raising your head towards the ceiling. Remain in this position for 3-5 seconds.
3. Next, slowly round your back upwards, tucking your tailbone in and pointing the spine towards the ceiling whilst looking at the floor. Exhale as you do this and hold the position for 3-5 seconds.
4. Move slowly between these two positions up to 10 times, focusing on your breathing.
Benefits of cat-cow stretch
The cat-cow mobilises the spine and reduces tension in the muscles of the back. This may be particularly helpful for people who spend a lot of time sitting down. It is great as a warm-up exercise, but it is especially useful as part of a cool-down routine.
1. Lay down on your back with your knees raised towards your chest.
2. Move your left foot over above your right knee, resting the ankle on top of your thigh.
3. Reach under and grab the rear of your left leg using both hands, then gently pull it towards your chest to produce a stretch in the glutes and hip area.
4. Hold for 5-10 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
Benefits of figure four stretch
The stretch in your glutes, hamstrings and hips make figure four an excellent warm-up exercise. These muscles are regions that may become quite sore if you exercise regularly, so use the stretch to help with recovery as well.
These are tried-and-tested exercises for helping avoid workout-related injury and soreness, but they do not guarantee good back health. If you are experiencing joint stiffness or back pain, contact My Chiro today. We are a chiropractor in Sydney ready to help with a range of problems associated with spine health.