I recommend performing all stretching & flexibility work utilizing a HPL Resistance Band. The very first experience I had stretching with these bands I was hooked! I had never felt such a stretch. It is quick, easy, and more effective than other types of stretching.
I used to spend 45 minutes a day performing static stretches and my flexibility was still sub par. After incorporating HPL stretches and exercises, my "new found flexibility" was noticed by the judges in my fitness routines - I placed 1st at the 2004 NPC Fitness Nationals, earning my Pro Card.
Finding New Flexibility
If you don't want to be in pain, STRETCH!
For all the stretches I am using a #3 (light/small) HPL Resistance Band. Loop the HPL band around your foot for each of the stretches. Over time as I have become more flexible, I will also use a #4 HPL band.
Hamstring & Calve Stretch:
While holding on to both pieces of the band, lie flat on your back keeping your hips on the floor. Bring the leg the band is looped around, straight up until you feel a slight stretch in the back of the leg. Press your hips into the floor, keep the leg straight and then point and flex at the ankle 10 times.
You will feel this stretch the entire back of the leg. Over time you will be able to bring your leg/foot closer to your body as flexibility improves. Flexible hamstrings are important for all athletes & exercisers, as well as low back pain relief.
With band looped around the left foot, place your left hand in the center of the band (holding both pieces) and your right hand in the loop at the bottom of the band. Keeping both hips flat on the floor and your right shoulder and elbow on the floor, allow your left leg to gently open up to the left side.
Hold this position and then point and flex at the ankle 10 times. Over time you will be able to add more resistance to the stretch by pulling tighter on the band.
With the band looped around the left foot, place your left ankle on top of your right knee. While holding on to the band in each hand, lift your right foot slowly off the floor bringing the knee towards your chest.
Hold this position and then you may gently move your hips from right to left. This stretch will open up the piriformis and glute area. The sciatic nerve runs through this area. The stretch will provide relief for both low back & sciatic nerve discomfort.
Iliotibial Band (I.T. Band):
From the piriformis stretch, straighten the leg back up to the hamstring stretch & place the right hand in the center of the band and left hand in the loop at the bottom. Slowly bring the left leg across the body to the right side keeping the left leg parallel to the floor.
Keeping your left elbow on the floor, hold this position and then point and flex at the ankle. You will feel this stretch on the outside of the leg from the hip to knee to ankle. This is the stretch that convinced me HPL Resistance Bands are the only way to the stretch!
Quadriceps & Hip Flexors:
With the band still looped around the left foot, hold the band in the left hand only and lie on your right side. Point both the left knee and elbow down and bring the band and your left foot behind your body. Lying on your right side, keep the foot towards tour rear end, knee in line with the hip, and grasp the band overhead with both hands.
Do not point the knee up or pull band over one shoulder. Hold this position and then press the hip forward and back 10 times. To get a stretch higher up in the hip flexors, push your foot away from your rear end and the lightly choke up on the band. This stretch will help knee discomfort which is often attributed to tight quadriceps.
Stretching should be the foundation of every exercise and daily living regimen. Stretching opens up the joints providing more mobility, blood flow, and pain relief.
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I can honestly tell you since I incorporated these bands in 2004, I feel great! I never need to take any type of pain reliever and only need occasional adjustments.
I recommend stretching before and after workouts or at least twice daily. It only takes 5-7 minutes to stretch head to toe with the HPL Flexibility series.
Summer Montabone's Website: www.summersfitness.com
Also Pictured: Sean Wade, his credentials include:
Bachelor of Fine and Applied Arts- Kent State University, Kent, Ohio
Concentrations: Human Movement Studies / Exercise Physiology
Concentration: Sports Psychology
Professional / Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Consultant
Senior Rehabilitation Therapist, Ohio Based Chiropractic Clinic
Certified HPL Performance Band Instructor / Trainer
IFPA Certified Personal Trainer
Photos Credited To: Airborne Video Services, HPL Flexibility and Range of Motion DVD