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 Flexibility Training
 with Resist-A-Ball
                                                                                                                                   ®




 The ball is an effective and fun tool to add to any stretch-
 ing routine, whether it is used for one on one training or
 during group exercise classes. Robert Steigele




                                                                                                      U
                                                                                                                sing the ball for stretching not only
                                                                                                                results in improved range of motion,
                                                                                                                but also in increased balance, as well
                                                                                                                as gains in strength and endurance in
                                                                                                      the muscles that are being used for stability.
                                                                                                      Stretching is often done at the end of a workout
                                                                                                      and tends to be rushed through or sometimes
                                                                                                      eliminated altogether. Using a stability ball is
                                                                                                      time efficient due to the dynamic nature of the
                                                                                                      ball which allows the user to roll into the cor-
                                                                                                      rect position and transition seamlessly between
                                                                                                      stretches. At the same time, all levels of expe-
                                                                                                      rience and degrees of flexibility can be accom-
                                                                                                      modated.

                                                                                                      6 Simple Stretches to Introduce
                                                                                                      Participants and Clients to
                                                                                                      Resist-A-Ball ® Flexibility
                                                                                                      Training

                                                                                                          1. Seated Passive Hamstring Stretch –
                                                                                                      This position on the ball stretches the ham-
                                                                                                      strings and gluteals with an optional active or
                                                                                                      passive calf stretch. Due to the degree of hip
                                                                                                      flexion, this is a great stretch for those with
                                                                                                      tight hamstrings that can not do them properly
                                                                                                      while on the floor. From a tall, seated position
                                 1. SEATED PASSIVE                                                    on the ball, bring one leg extended out in front
                                 HAMSTRING STRETCH                                                    with the heel on the floor. Cue the participant
                                                                                                      to contract the quads to both protect the knee
                                                                                                      and to encourage the hamstrings to reflexively
                                                                                                      relax. Then, gently roll the ball backwards into
                                                                                                      an anterior pelvic tilt while flexing (folding)
            Robert Steigele                                                                           forward from the hip. The spine remains elon-
            Robert Steigele is the Resist-A-Ball CORE Master Trainer heading up the Canadian          gated (avoid flexing the spine itself). Support
            CORE Trainer team. He has over 17 years of fitness industry experience and is a           the upper body on the non-stretching side.
            presenter, personal trainer, group exercise, Yoga and Pilates instructor, and a Profes-   There should be a mild tension in the upper
            sor at Humber College, based in Toronto. Robert also is Can-Fit-Pro FIS and PTS           back of the leg. If a calf stretch is desired, either
            certified, ACE, and ACSM certified. He was the Sports Clubs of Canada Instructor of
                                                                                                      contract the shin to aim the toes back towards
            the Year. www.robertsteigele.com
                                                                                                      you (active stretch) or reach for the toes to

44     J U LY/AUGUST 2005
                                                    hands helping to stabilize the ball, cross one leg
                                                    over the other in a figure four position. Ac-           THE BENEFITS OF RESIST-A-
                                                                                                            BALL® FLEXIBILITY TRAINING
                                                    tively draw the knee of the crossed leg towards
                                                    the floor. To go further in the stretch, lean
                                                    forward from the hip while maintaining an elon-          Stretching after a workout can
                                                    gated spine. Repeat for the other leg. The            help to release tension and reduce
                                                    target muscles are the rotators of the hip and        stress in the exercising muscles.
                                                    the glutes. This stretch is a little more ad-         Flexibility training can also improve
                                                                                                          posture by lengthening muscles
                                                    vanced due to the balance requirements. Op-           around joints that affect the neutral
                                                    tionally it could be done with the ball against a     spinal alignment. Here are some
                                                    wall or by holding on to something for addi-          additional benefits to be had by us-
                                                    tional support.                                       ing the stability ball during stretch-
                                                                                                          ing:
                                                        3. Seated Hip Flexor/Tibilias Stretch –
                                                    From a seated position, turn the body to one           • In exercises that require you to
                                                                                                             stabilize the body on the ball,
                                                    side and then roll the ball until the rear leg is
                                                                                                             there are strength gains in those
                                                    extended and the shoelaces of the back foot
                                                                                                             muscles while you focus on the
                                                    aim towards the floor. The knee of the front leg         muscles that are being stretched
                                                    should be at 90 degrees. Cue to tuck under the
                                                    tailbone to perform a posterior pelvic tilt. A         • Some positions traction the spine,
                                                    slight lean forward will make it more comfort-           reducing compression and en-
                                                    able for the low back. This position stretches           couraging spinal muscles to re-
                                                    the hip flexors and the tibialis anterior of the         lax
                                                    rear (extended) leg. This stretch can be static
                                                                                                           • In positions where some of the
                                                    or dynamic. Repeat for the second side.
                                                                                                             body weight is supported, stress
                                                                                                             can be reduced in joints that nor-
                                                         4. Seated Adductor Stretch – While seated           mally would be weight bearing
                                                    tall on the ball, open out the legs until a mild
2.   SEATED HIP/GLUTE STRETCH                       stretch is felt. Make sure that the knees are          • Stretches can be intensified by
(“FIGURE 4”)                                        tracking over the middle of the toes. The ball           gently rolling into the end point
                                                    can then be rolled slightly forward to deepen            position

                                                                                                           • Transitions between exercises are
gently draw them back towards the shin (pas-                                                                 smooth by rolling from one into
sive stretch) as long as the spine remains elon-       4. SEATED                                             another
gated. This position can be held or made dy-           ADDUCTOR
namic by gently rolling into and out of the            STRETCH                                             • By transitioning on the ball, you
stretch position. Repeat on the opposite side.                                                               develop a better sense of dy-
                                                                                                             namic balance resulting in in-
    2. Seated Hip/Glute Stretch (“Figure 4”)                                                                 creased coordination and motor
– Sit a little more forward on the ball. With the                                                            learning

                                                                                                           • Allows participants and clients to
                                                                                                             get into positions not possible on
                                                                                                             the floor
                               3. SEATED HIP                                                               • Encourages play to be added to
                               FLEXOR/TIBILIAS                                                               your stretching workout and
                               STRETCH                                                                       makes exercise fun!

                                                                                                           • It is an affordable tool for partici-
                                                                                                             pants and clients of all ages and
                                                                                                             fitness levels




                                                                                                         the stretch. The target muscles are the adduc-
                                                                                                         tors. This is another stretch that is more ac-
                                                                                                         cessible on the ball than on the floor since the
                                                                                                         legs remain bent, the hamstrings do not come
                                                                                                         in to play.

                                                                                                             5. Supine Trunk Traction – For this
                                                                                                         stretch, start off in a supine incline position
                                                                                                         with the hips low and the ball supporting the
                                                                                                         lumbar spine, then gently support the head as
                                                                                                         you roll the ball back and begin to drape the
                                                                                                         body back over top of the ball. As you roll
                                                                                                         back the legs can be extended to target the hip
                                                                                                         flexors. The arms can be positioned at various
                                                                                                                  J U LY/AUGUST 2005                  45
workout                              angles to achieve a stretch across the chest as
                                     well. Care should be taken when coming out of
                                     the position to support the head (you can use a
                                     hand) as you return the ball to the start be
                                     rolling the ball forward and lowering the hips
                                     down as you bend the knees.

                                          6. Prone over Ball Trunk Traction – This
                                     is the complimentary stretch to the Supine
                                     Trunk Traction. When going prone over the
                    5. SUPINE        ball it is important to activate the transverse
                    TRUNK TRACTION   abdominals so that normal breathing can oc-
                                     cur, and to protect the internal organs. Gently
                                     roll forward over the ball in a prone position to
                                     drape the body over the ball. Allow the weight
                                     of the upper body to traction against the weight
                                     of the lower body. This position stretches the
                                     spinal erectors and can decompress the lumbar
                                     region of the spine. If the hips are a little lower
                                     towards the floor, the stretch can be felt higher
                                     up the spine, possibly adding in a middle trape-
                                     zius and rhomboid stretch. Generally, what-
                                     ever part of the spine is positioned at the top of
                                     the ball will get the greatest stretch effect.

                                     A 5-Minute Routine
                                         The six stretches shown here can be used in
                                     a Resist-A-Ball ® flexibility training program.
                                     Each stretch can be held for 30 seconds, mak-
                                     ing sure to balance both sides of the body. The
                                     stretches can be sequenced in the order shown
                                     here, or even in the reverse order. Another
                                     possibility is to perform the exercise in a flow-
                                     ing sequence from one side of the body to the
                                     other:

                                      Seated Hamstring Stretch
                                      right side – 30 seconds

                                      Seated Hip/Glute Stretch
                                      right side – 30 seconds

                                      Seated Hip Flexor/Tibilias Stretch
                                      right side – 30 seconds

                                      Seated Adductor Stretch
                                      30 seconds

                                      Seated Hip Flexor/Tibilias Stretch
                                      left side – 30 seconds

                                      Seated Hip/Glute Stretch
                                      left side – 30 seconds

                                      Seated Hamstring Stretch
                                      left side – 30 seconds

                                      Supine Trunk Traction
                                      30 seconds

                                      Prone over Ball Trunk Traction
                                      30 seconds


                                     Expanding Your Repertoire
                                         When working with the ball, it is impor-
                                     tant to understand the difference between
                                     stretches done using the ball and those done on
                                     the floor. Knowing how to give the right cues
                                     for your class or client can help them get the
                                     most out of their training by keeping it safe and
                                     effective. As with any stretching routine, it is

  46   J U LY/AUGUST 2005
                                                          6. PRONE OVER BALL
                                                          TRUNK TRACTION


important to allow participants to go at their     tion and our team of qualified CORE
pace and respect their current limits, knowing     Trainers offer a range of certification
that they will improve given a little time. The    and education courses in stability ball
                                                   training across the country. Check out
exercises shown here are just a few of the
                                                   the course descriptions and course list-
stretches that are included in the Resist-A-Ball   ings on our website at www.canfit-
® C.O.R.E. Certification trainings. By getting     pro.com.
the detailed education, you will be able to suc-
cessfully adapt your current stretch routines      Interested in hosting a Resist-A-
onto the ball and hopefully convert any non-       Ball ® course at your club? Call
stretchers by making stretching not only effec-    the Certification department at 1-800-
tive, by comfortable and FUN! o                    667-5622 to find out more information.

                                                   Resist-A-Ball ® Stability Ball products
                                                   are sold in Canada by Fitness
Want to Learn more about Resist-                   Source. Please call them at 1-800-
A-Ball ® Stability Ball Education?                 668-4857 or visit their website
Can-Fit-Pro is the exclusive Canadian              www.fitnesssource.ca for product
distributor of Resist-A-Ball ® educa-              prices and availability.




                                                                                              J U LY/AUGUST 2005   47

				
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