Category: Work Outs

  • Trap Stretches

    The trap stretches are essential for releasing tension and enhancing the upper back, shoulders, and neck flexibility because they engage the trapezius muscles. Here’s everything you need to know about them:

    Benefits of Trap Stretches

    • Relieves Tension: This can ease tension and aches in two particular muscles, the trapezius muscles, located at the back of the neck down to the shoulder base.
    • Improves Flexibility: Stretches the muscles and gives the spine the much-needed flexibility in the upper part of the back, the neck, and the shoulders.
    • Reduces Stress: It is also recommended that all these muscles be stretched to assist in reducing stress and further enable relaxation.
    • Prevents Injuries: Stretches offer a preventive function, which should help avoid strain and injuries because of muscle stiffness.
    • Enhances Posture: Beneficial for people who sit for long hours in front of computers, it assists in releasing tight muscles around the shoulders that tend to pull the clients forward and make them slouch.

    How to Stretch Your Traps

    How to Stretch Your Traps? And Types of Trap Stretches

    1. Upper Trapezius Stretch

    Method:

    • Sit or stand upright.
    • Lower your head to the side with your ear to touch the shoulder.
    • Lay your hand on your head and extend the stretch by increasing the pressure towards the head.
    • Hold for 20-30 seconds.
    • Repeat on the other side, again.

    2. Cross-Body Shoulder Stretch

    Method:

    • Clasp your hands with your right hand above your head and left hand below it.
    • Grab the end of the reached arm with the hand on the opposite side and pull that arm towards your chest.
    • Hold for 20-30 seconds.
    • Switch arms and repeat.

    3. Corner Stretch

    Method:

    • Position yourself with your back to a corner with your hands raised and positioned to the shoulder level with the elbows slightly bending.
    • Extend your arms to the wall, and rest your forearms on the opposite walls of the corner.
    • Lean forward slowly and stop when you sense a mild stretching of your chest and shoulders.
    • Hold for 20-30 seconds.

    4. Doorway Stretch

    Method:

    • Choose a door and place yourself in front of it with your palms up, forearms parallel to the floor, and perpendicular to your upper arms.
    • Rest your wrists and forearms on the door frame.
    • Approach the door with one leg and pull your chest towards the doorway as if you wish to touch it with your chest until you feel the stretch on the chest and shoulders muscles.
    • Hold for 20-30 seconds.

    5. Seated Levator Scapulae Stretch

    Method:

    • Stand erect; sitting straight has the back of your body aligned correctly.
    • With one hand, grip the bottom of the chair’s armrest.
    • Bend your head to about forty-five degrees forward and rotate the eyes down to the contralateral armpit.
    • Bend the opposing arm to hold the top of the head using your hand and pull your head back even further.
    • Hold for 20-30 seconds.
    • Repeat on the other side.

    Tips for Effective Stretching

    • Warm-Up: Light cardio or warm-up exercises must be performed to help bring blood to the muscles before stretching.
    • Breathe Deeply: Relaxing muscles, especially during exhalation, also helps to increase the effect of the stretch.
    • Avoid Bouncing: Stretch gently and progressively; do not overstrain the muscles by suddenly pulling them.
    • Listen to Your Body: Mild discomfort but not painful; you stretch to the point you are uncomfortable. Do not push through the pain. If you experience pain, do not strain beyond this point in the stretch.
    • Consistency: If possible, use the trap stretches in your normal workouts for the best results to be obtained.

    When to Stretch

    • After Workouts: Flexing after exercising helps relieve the pains of muscle stiffness and other related knots.
    • During Breaks: If you work at a desk, getting up occasionally to stand, stretch, and bend will keep the muscles limber.
    • When Tense: Take stretch breaks when you feel tension inside your neck, shoulders, or upper back.

    Daily trap stretching has benefits, including flexibility and the trap’s postural position, less tension, and overall well-being. Include these stretches into your exercises to influence your trapezius muscles’ health positively.


  • Ankle Mobility Exercises

    Ankle mobility exercises are essential for activities such as running, jumping, lifting, and performing almost any physical activity an individual is required to perform. Free and mobile ankle joint may have an added advantage in performance, will lower the chances of an athlete getting injured besides making the athlete more efficient in his movement. Here’s a comprehensive guide to ankle mobility exercises:

    What You Need to Know About Ankle Mobility?

    • Improves Performance: Frees athletic movements and tunes up strength training.
    • Prevents Injuries: Helps prevent ankle sprains, shin splints, and knee injuries.
    • Enhances Balance and Stability: With improved mobility, the balance that one gets is bound to be better, increasing overall stability.
    • Facilitates Proper Movement Patterns: Promotes good and accurate biomechanics to avoid bad compensations.

    Assessment of Ankle Mobility Exercises

    Before starting exercises, assess your ankle mobility:

    Knee to Wall Test: Stand parallel to a wall with your back facing the wall, extend your one leg at a distance of a few inches from the wall, and attempt to bring the knee touching the wall by bending the knee without letting the toe of the behind leg touching the wall, the behind leg remains flat on the floor. Take the distance from the outer part of the big toe to touching the wall. Typically, achieving a separation of 4-5 inches is practical as sufficient mobility.

    Dorsiflexion Test: Stand up and sit on a chair; put a ruler on the ground and see how far you can bend your knee to touch your toes without touching the heel with your hand.

    Stretches to Make Your Ankle More Flexible

    1. Ankle Circles

    • Stand with one leg on a step stool or a bench, or sit on a chair with one leg tucked under your body.
    • Circle your ankle in the clockwise and counterclockwise direction 10 to 15 times.
    • Make 10-15 circular motions clockwise for each ankle and the same in the counterclockwise direction.

    2. Calf Stretch

    Ankle Mobility Exercises - Calf stretch

    • It is performed by standing with the right foot forward and the left foot backward close to the wall.
    • Lock the back leg and ensure that the front knee is slightly bent.
    • Contract your ‘‘core’’ by pulling your belly button towards your spine and pushing your hips forward for 20-30 seconds.
    • Do 2-3 cycles for each limb.

    3. Heel Raises

    • This body position can be described as follows: First, the patient should stand with their feet wider than shoulder-width but not more than hip-width.
    • Lift your heels off the floor and keep it suspended for some time.
    • Lower your heels as you slowly bring them back to the ground in a controlled motion.
    • Doing pull-ups 15-20 times for 2-3 sets is recommended.

    4. Toe Raises

    • Bring your feet into a natural shoulder-width stance or a tad closer.
    • Bend your right knee toward your buttocks while lowering your right toes toward the floor – do not let the heel touch the floor.
    • Wait for a couple of seconds, and then lower your toes.
    • One should repeat the motions about 15 to 20 times, which should be done in sets of 2 to 3.

    5. Ankle Dorsiflexion Stretch

    • Lie in a crawling position with the knees bent so that one knee will be forward, thus changing the position of the footrest three.
    • Bend forward, continuing to press your knee over your toes.
    • You should bend your knee and keep the heel flat on the ground, maintaining this position for 20-30 seconds.
    • It is recommended to repeat it 2-3 times for each leg.

    6. Band-Resisted Ankle Dorsiflexion

    • Attach a resistance band to something stationary and wrap it around your lower leg and ankle.
    • Bring your foot towards yourself, with your ankle bending.
    • Gradually bring back your body to the position that it was before the squat.
    • For the scapular stabilization, do 15-20 for 2-3 sets.

    7. Foam Rolling

    Foam Rolling

    • Applying a foam roller on your calf muscles will help relieve tension.
    • Perform the stressed rolling motion starting at the ankle and going up to the knee for approximately 1 to 2 minutes on each leg.
    • If it is still tender to the touch following rolling, focus on the tight or sore areas.

    8. Ankle ABCs

    • Cross one leg over the other quickly and place the foot that is soaring in the air on the ground.
    • Sweep the alphabet down the floor with the bottom of your foot, turning your ankle into a steering wheel.
    • Run the alphabet from start to finish for each ankle, for a total of 26 letters.

    Best Practices in Ankle Mobility Exercises

    • Consistency: As for mobility, practice is the key in this sector. Instead, the frequency is used frequently as it is practiced consistently to be regarded as effective.
    • Warm-Up: Before doing mobility exercises, you must always warm up.
    • Progress Slowly: Gradually build up the type and length of exercise programs.
    • Focus on Form: Caution to prevent possibilities of injuries during exercise and also to get the most out of the exercise.
    • Listen to Your Body: As a rule, it is inadvisable to ‘muscle through the pain’; instead, constantly endeavor to change the set of exercises when feeling discomfort.

    Conclusion

    Therefore, integrating the listed ankle mobility exercises can help you boost your performance and minimize your risk of injury. Nonetheless, self-evaluate your mobility regularly and modify your exercises according to your advancements and requirements.