Stretching Menu

Since posting the Stretching Challenge, I’ve gotten some good feedback and comments. I really appreciate everyone sharing their own experiences here.

On the challenge post, I embedded a video of me performing and explaining the essential components of my current stretching routine. As I wrote then, all of these movements (and more) are included in Paul Zaichik’s Elastic Steel course, which I am using to regain my flexibility.

Have you been stretching?

The video turned out to be about 25 minutes long. Since it’s not convenient to watch every time you want to stretch, I thought I ‘d post a list of the movements here. You can print this out and slip it in your gym bag or tape it to your TV. Whatever works.

Remember, you don’t have to do exactly what I do on the video. As I mention towards the end, there are five main components you need to shoot for:

  • Joint movement
  • Light stretches
  • Muscle strengthening
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Deep stretching

However you choose to get those in is up to you. Use whatever specific stretches and movement you like or feel best address your own weaknesses. The video is simply an example of the kinds of things I personally plug into the template.

That said, here’s the list of movements I’m doing on the video:

  • Joint Movements
    • neck
    • shoulders, elbows, wrists
    • spine – thoracic and lumbar
    • hips, knees, ankles
  • Shake Out
  • Dynamic Stretches
    • leg swings to front, side, and back
  • Light Stretches
    • lying knee-to-chest
    • wind removing pose
    • spinal rocks to plough pose
    • seated ankle-over-knee
    • 1/2 spinal twist / piriformis stretch
    • adductor stretch to pigeon pose
    • foot dorsiflexor stretch
    • calf stretch on wall and floor
    • abdominal walk-outs
    • upward dog pose
    • downward dog pose
    • child pose to twisted child pose
    • shoulder stretches
    • wrist stretches
    • 1/4 front split / hip flexor lunge
    • inner thigh stretch
    • neck stretches
  • Strength Exercises
    • For the dojo
      • enmei no hokei
      • super-wide kamae and unsoku
    • For home
      • pistol / single-leg squat
      • alternating split (ejidachi) hops
  • Kick Exercises
    • static leg raise-and-hold to front, side, and back
    • extended leg circles in kicking positions
  • Thigh Strengthening
    • adductor lift
    • adductor lift with resistance band
    • adductor stretch with resistance band
    • internal rotation lift
    • external rotation lift
    • external rotation with resistance band
  • Deep Stretches
    • tucked single-leg hamstring stretch
    • hip flexor bounce
    • hip flexor / thigh stretch
    • deeper inner thigh stretch
    • 1/2 side split
    • straddle stretch to side split

Remember, there’s a lot more to the Elastic Steel course than this. That doesn’t mean you can’t make progress on a shorter program, but I do encourage setting aside at least twenty minutes per session. Really try to stretch at least three times each week.

There’s not really much more to add – I did my best to explain the important points on the video. If you have any questions of suggestions, please post them in the comments.