I issued the “start a thing” challenge to start a new thing (adding something new and healthy, or stopping something not so new and not so healthy) and make it a success by implementing the change in small steps over time. For me, that thing is slowly building stretching into the end of my training sessions until it becomes a regular part of my training. Sounds simple, but it’s eluded me all these years!
I laid out my plans in my original challenge post, and I’m happy to say that so far for Week 1 I’m on track. This morning after I trained shoulders and arms, I did my minimum two stretching exercises. I chose only two stretches to start with because I wanted to make sure I actually took the time each deserves and perform them correctly. In the past, when I did happen to finally stretch, generally I’d buzz through the exercises without focus or intention.
Not so today, I only had two to do, so I made sure I took the time to focus and do them right. There are lots of upper body stretches to choose from, but today I chose the Double Anterior Shoulder Stretch and the Triceps Stretch. Here’s how it went down…
I first performed the Double Anterior Shoulder stretch:
To perform this stretch, reach your arms behind your back and grasp your hands together. Keeping your arms extended, slowly raise them behind you until you feel a nice stretch through the front of each shoulder and across your chest. Avoid bending forward and don’t force the stretch, it should be mild and not cause any pain. Hold this position for 20-30 seconds, relax your arms, and then repeat 1-2 more times.
Some folks may not yet be flexible enough to reach their hands together behind their backs. That’s ok, keep doing this stretch! If this is the case, use a towel to hold onto behind your back. As you become more flexible, you may no longer need it.
I did 2 sets of this stretch, for 30 seconds each. Ahhh…I can tell you, this felt great! It really has been too long neglected.
Next I did the Triceps Stretch:
To perform this stretch, first reach your right arm up over your head. Bend your arm at the elbow so your hand is pointing straight down behind your head and your palm is facing your body. Using your left hand, gently press down on your right elbow until you feel a gentle stretch in your right triceps muscles. Hold this position for 20-30 seconds, relax your arms, and repeat on the other side.
Again with this stretch, you may not be able to reach your arm down behind your head. Take out that trusty towel and hold it in your right hand. Bend your right elbow down as far is it will reach, then bring your left hand behind your lower back/waist and grasp the dangling towel. Gently pull down on the toweluntil you feel that mild stretch in your triceps, hold, and repeat on the opposite side.
I did 2 sets of this stretch as well (twice on each side), for 30 seconds each.
And that’s it! It actually felt great and once I got over simply starting my stretching session, I was really glad I had done it!
I’m not off the hook yet. My plan entails stretching after at least 2 workouts so I have at least one more to go. I’ll continue to keep you updated through the week and as each week progresses.