STRETCHING

Stretches and Core Stability exercises courtesy of Jennifer Stiles of Wagstaffe Physiotherapy

Lower Limb Stretches

Hip Flexor Stretch Soleus Stretch
Hip Flexor Soleus
This is an effective stretch which is commonly used for the muscles at the front of the hip including Rectus Femoris. The other Quadricep muscles can be included if you reach back and lift the foot off the floor too. Teaching Points • Kneel with one knee on the floor and the other foot in front with the knee bent • Push your hips forwards and keep the back upright • Hold for between 10 and 30 seconds

The soleus sits underneath the larger gastrocnemius. Bending the knee takes Gastroc out of the stretch. Teaching Points • Stand with one leg in front of the other close to a wall • Place your hands on the wall for balance • Bend both knees, focusing on the back knee • Move your weight forwards onto your toes but make sure you keep the heel down at the back • Hold for between 10 and 30 seconds

Gastocnemius/Calf Stretch Outer Hip Stretch
Gastrocnemius Outer Hip
Stretching the calf muscles can help to prevent a whole range of lower limb injuries. Teaching Points • Stand with one leg far in front of the other and lean forwards against a wall • Keep the back heel flat on the floor • Bend the front leg to lean forwards and keep the back leg straight • Hold for between 10 and 30 seconds

Stretching the muscles of the outer hip such as tensor fascia latae and also the Iliotibial band can be effective in treating runners knee. Teaching Points • Lay on the floor on your back • Cross the right foot over the left knee, keeping the right knee bent • Use your left hand to pull the right knee across your body • Hold for between 10 and 30 seconds

Gluteal Stretch Gluteus Maximus Stretch
Gluteal Gluteus Maximus
Teaching Points • Lay on your stomach and bend one leg up under your stomach • Lean forwards to further rotate and flex the leg and increase the stretch • Hold for between 10 and 30 seconds

Stretching the buttocks can be great for reducing symptoms from sciatica. Teaching Points • Lay on the floor on your back • Pull your bent knee up towards the opposite shoulder • Hold for between 10 and 30 seconds

Piriformis Stretch Hamstring Stretch
Piriformis Hamstring
The piriformis muscle can be very troublesome and cause symptoms of sciatica including pain radiating down the leg. Stretching this muscle will keep it supple and prevent it impinging on the sciatic nerve. Teaching Points • Lay on the floor on your back and cross the right ankle over the left knee • Grip the thigh of your left leg and pull the knee towards you, lifting the foot off the floor • Pull the knee further towards you to increase the stretch • Hold for between 10 and 30 seconds

The hamstrings are probably the most commonly tight muscles and this can contribute towards lower back pain. Teaching Points • Stand with one leg just in front of the other • Bend the back knee and rest your weight on the bent knee • Tilt the hips forwards as if sticking your bum in the air! • Hold for between 10 and 30 seconds

Quadriceps Stretch
Quads
This has to be one of the most recognised and commonly used stretches. Teaching Points • Stand on one leg and pull the other foot up behind your bottom • Keep your knees together and push your hips forwards to increase the stretch • Hold for between 10 and 30 seconds

Beginners Core Stability

Foot Lift Knee Extension
Foot Lift Knee Extension
1. Lie flat on your back with your knees and hips bent up so there is a small space between the hollow of your back and the floor.
2. Inhale to prepare and while exhaling engage your core.
3. Inhale again and as you exhale raise one foot a couple of inches off the floor, keeping the knee bent.
4. Inhale and bring your foot back to the floor.
5. Repeat this on alternate legs.
1. Lie flat on your back with your knees and hips bent up so there is a small space between the hollow of your back and the floor.
2. Inhale to prepare and while exhaling engage your core.
3. Inhale again and as you exhale raise one foot just off the floor and straighten the leg out.
4. Inhale, bend the knee and place the foot back on the floor.
5. Repeat this on alternate legs.

Single Leg Fall-Out Hip-Flexion
Single Leg Fall Out Hip Flex
1. Lie flat on your back with your knees and hips bent up so that there is a small space between the hollow of your back and the floor.
2. Inhale to prepare and while exhaling engage your core.
3. Inhale again and as you exhale allow your left leg to fall out. Keep you heel and outer surface of your foot on the floor and your knee bent.
4. No other movement except that of the hip should occur. Try and minimize any hip rolling or arching of the back.
5. Inhale and bring your leg back to the center.
6. Exhale and let your right leg fall out to the side.
7. Repeat 5-10 times each leg.
1. Lie flat on your back with your knees and hips bent up so that there is a small space between the hollow of your back and the floor.
2. Inhale to prepare and while exhaling engage your core.
3. Inhale again and as you exhale raise one leg up, keeping the knee bent, so your knee moves towards your chest.
4. Inhale and while you exhale lower your leg down to the resting position again.
5. Take care not to allow your pelvis to rock or your back to arch. Your midsection should be solid and not move with leg. movements.
6. Alternate legs.
7. Repeat 5-10 times each leg.

Toe Pointing Clam
Toe Point Clam
1. While sitting on the mat stabilize yourself with your arms out behind you, hands on the floor.
2. Bend your knees up so that your feet are on the floor. Your body and your arms should be at 45 degrees with the floor and 90 degrees to each other. You should now be sitting on your tail bone.
3. Take a breath to prepare and set your core.
4. Raise one foot off the floor and point your toes away from you.
5. Make small circles with your foot. Imagine that you are drawing circles on the ceiling with your toes.
6. Start with very small circles at first and gradually increase their size.
7. Make 3-5 circles and bring your leg back to the rest position.
8. Repeat 5-10 times in each direction
1. Lie on your side. Rest your head on your arm or hand as shown.
2. Bend hips to approximately 45 degrees and bend your knees at 90 degrees. Make sure one hip is lying above the other. You should now be well aligned- your feet should be in line with your back.
3. Take a deep breath in and as you exhale set your core muscles.
4. Inhale and whilst exhaling float the upper leg upwards while keeping your feet in contact with one another.
5. Inhale and as you exhale bring the leg down to the starting position.
6. Repeat 5- 10 times each leg. If done correctly you should feel the muscles around the back of the hip bone (gluteus medius and minimus) working hard.
7. Focus on not allowing the alignment of the body to be disrupted with leg movement.

Bridge Single Leg Stretch
Bridge Single Leg stretch
1. Lie flat on your back with your knees and hips bent up so that there is a small space between the hollow of your back and the floor.
2. Inhale to prepare and set your core.
3. As you exhale gently lift your tailbone off the mat and continue to peel your back off the ground so that you come to rest with your back in line with your thighs.
4. Inhale and as you exhale, lower yourself down on to the mat- again try and roll so that your tailbone comes onto the mat last.
5. Repeat 5-10 times
1. Lie flat on your back with one knee and hip bent up whilst the other is straight and flat on the floor. Start with both arms stretched out above the head, on the floor.
2. Inhale to prepare and while exhaling engage your core
3. Inhale again and as you exhale, raise the straight leg up, bending the knee towards the chest whilst at the same time bringing both arms forward over your head to meet your knee.
4. Inhale again return the arms to the start position whilst straightening the leg
5. Repeat 5-10 times and then change legs.

Reverse Straight Leg Raise Hip Flexion with Knee Extension
Reverse Leg raise Hip Flex Knee Ext
1. Lie on your front with your forehead resting on a pillow or your hands. Place a pillow under your stomach if this is uncomfortable.
2. Your legs should be straight out on the floor.
3. Inhale to prepare and as you exhale set your core.
4. While keeping your back straight float one leg up off the ground and hold for a breath.
5. Bring the leg down to the mat and repeat with the opposite leg.
1. Lie flat on your back with your knees and hips bent up so that there is a small space between the hollow of your back and the floor.
2. Inhale to prepare and while exhaling engage your core.
3. Inhale again and as you exhale lift one foot off the floor, bringing the knee towards the chest.
4. When you reach 90 degrees of hip flexion, straighten the knee.
5. Return back to the start position by bending the knee and then extending the hip until the foot is on the floor again.
6. Repeat 5-10 times, alternating legs.

Side-Kicks Abduction
Side Kicks Abduction
1. Lie on your side resting your head on your arm/hand. Stabilize yourself with your upper hand on the mat in front of you.
2. Position your legs at about 45 degrees to the rest of your body. You can bend the lower one to help support you.
3. Inhale and as you exhale engage your core muscles
4. Now float your upper leg upwards and while keeping your leg straight, kick it out in front of you slowly.
5. You can gradually increase the speed as your control improves.
6. Take the leg out as far as is comfortable. You should feel this extremely challenging on your balance.

1. Lie on your side resting your head on your hand/arm. Stabilize yourself with your upper hand on the mat in front of you.
2. Keep both legs straight and together, one on top of the other.
3. Inhale and as you exhale engage your core muscles
4. Now raise your upper leg away from the lower one, as far as you are comfortable.
5. Bring it back down to the start position and repeat 5- 10 times each leg.
Front Crawl Plank 1
Front Crawl Plank 1
1. Lie on your front with your forehead resting on a pillow. Place a pillow under your stomach if this is uncomfortable.
2. Your arms should be directly pointing away from your feet on either side of your head.
3. Inhale and set your core muscles
4. Contract the buttocks (gluteal) muscles.
5. As you exhale, lift one leg off the ground a few inches, making sure that your knee is straight and your toes are pointing away from your body.
6. At the same time lift the opposite arm so that it hovers about 3 inches off the ground.
7. Hold for a breath and as you exhale float the leg and arm down and repeat with the opposite side
8. Repeat 5-10 times

1. Start in a push up position and raise yourself so that your elbows are completely straight. Your hands should be facing directly forwards and you should be up on your toes.
2. Inhale and engage your core.
3. As you exhale, float one leg upwards so that it is in line with your back. Your toes on the raised leg should be pointing away from you and you should be in a position so that the back of your body represents a plank.
4. Return the leg to the start position after one breath and repeat with the opposite leg.
5. Repeat 5-10 times each leg.
Plank 2
Plank2
This is a highly challenging exercise that should only be attempted after achieving the initial plank exercise
1. Start in a push up position and raise yourself so that your elbows are completely straight. Your hands should be facing directly forwards and you should be up on your toes.
2. Inhale and engage your core.
3. As you exhale float one leg upwards so that it is in line with your back. Your toes on the raised leg should be pointing away from you and you should be in a position so that the back of your body represents a plank.
4. Now raise your opposite arm up and point your fingers away from the body.
5. Hold for a breath and return to the start position. Repeat with the opposite leg and arm
6. Repeat 5-10 times each side