Basic Stretching Guidelines and Safety
The most important component of your stretching program is safety. First ensure you are warmed up – or a warm down after the exercise would be ideal. Then work on using the best technique you can rather than forcing joints into poor positions. When stretching, follow the basic guidelines above.
Determining Appropriate Ball Size
When inflating the ball, it is important that you don’t have the ball too firm or too soft. Never fully inflate the ball, as this will cause problems with balance and comfort. Instead, under inflate the ball so that when you are sitting your legs are at a 90 degree angle – as shown in exercise one.
Exercise 1 – Trunk Extension
Purpose: To stretch arms, shoulders, neck, chest, back, and legs.
Hint: For maximum balance and control, always have your feet placed firmly on the ground (hip width apart). To achieve this with ease, simply flex/bend your knees. Only straighten your legs when you are comfortable balancing in this position.
Exercise 2 – Trunk Flexion
Purpose: To increase flexibility in the back and the neck.
Hint: Most people tend to be very tight in their lower back area. In this exercise, try to focus on the lower part of your spine. Do this by feeling that your bottom is moving towards the floor, whilst your spine will be going the opposite direction, moving towards your head.