I saw this article floating on Facebook yesterday and wanted to plug it on my blog as well! Going to keep this as future reference when I am super sore.
You should all know that you need to stretch, whether you are a chronic sitter, a weekend warrior, or a daily exerciser. Stretching helps your blood reach your muscles and your joints move through their full range of motion, but it also improves your posture and athletic performance and reduces the risk of injuries and pain.
How do you know which muscles you are actually stretching or if you are performing each stretch the right way while you do yoga or the flexibility routine?
Well, here is a little knowledge on the topic, and having this in your back pocket, you can opt for the best stretches that best fit your goals. In case you start feeling pain, and not the regular, good pain, but the stretchy one when you know that something does not feel right, you should pinpoint the muscle that gives you the trouble and change the technique you have been using in order to avoid getting injured.
These stretches should be felt in the belly of your muscle. However, you should not feel pressure or strain in your joints, and if you do, it means that you are pushing too far. During the stretching, concentrate on your breathing and make sure these movements are as natural as possible.
Stop thinking about the time you are holding the stretch, but instead, start concentrating on feeling your muscles relaxing and returning to their natural, resting length. This may take about five to thirty seconds. If a stretch does not feel like it is doing something for your body muscles, change it and try another one.
The beautiful illustrations we present you are made by Vicky Timon, a yoga expert and author of “Encyclopedia of Pilates Exercises”, and James Kilgallon, CSCS, creator of Mazio’s Body Maintenance Program, contributed by giving the expert commentary.
1. Camel Pose
Muscles emphasized: Rectus Abdominus and External Obliques. This stretch is though most appropriate for people who already have a good flexibility. Sitting on your heels, put your hands behind you, pushing your hips up and forward. Do not put too much pressure on your lumbar spine. Also, in case you have problems with your neck, do not drop your head back.
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