An athlete is nothing without the basic foundations of the sport they’re trying to master. One of the basic foundations of every sport is stretching before exercise or any rigorous activity. It is very important that all athletes are reminded by their coaches to do this every single time they train or even before the start of a big competition.
What is the importance of stretching exercises?
Everyone likes to stretch. When we wake up, we stretch our muscles. When we feel like our shoulders are stiff, we find exercises to release the tension. While each one of us does this every day, do we really understand the significance of stretching and exercise? Whether you are a professional or student-athlete, you need to understand the importance of stretching and taking care of your body to stay healthy.
First and foremost, stretching relaxes our body and reduces muscle tension. When we exercise, we use up a lot of energy, and our muscles and joints are getting the brunt of all our activities. When we stretch, we avoid our muscles from getting tired, stiff, and sore. It will also promote improved circulation and flexibility, thus reducing the risk of getting injured during a game.
Exercises you can try before a big game
As an example, we will focus on baseball to demonstrate a proper stretching regimen. There are many different rotational power exercises for baseball. You can apply the following exercises below before a game. These exercises are also applicable for those who play other sports or those who simply want to incorporate more stretches into their daily routine.
- Shoulder circles
To perform shoulder circles, stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart. Next, hang your arms loosely at the sides. Now, move your shoulders in circular motion, bringing them upward, backward, downward, and back again. Repeat this exercise until you complete the set and then do the same thing in reverse.
- Arm circles
This exercise is similar to shoulder circles, but instead of moving your shoulders in circular motion, you will be moving your arms. You can either do small arm circles with your arms raised at the sides and doing small circular motions or make them big circles, moving them in big circular motions. This will relax your arm muscles.
- Triceps stretch
A triceps stretch is done by bringing your left elbow up while keeping your arm bent. Using your right hand, grab your left elbow and pull it toward your head using only light pressure. If your flexibility is more advanced, you can perform this exercise by pulling your arm behind your head, but only slightly. You will immediately feel the stretch at the back of your arm.
- Chest stretch
There are a few different ways to do chest stretches. One of these methods is to perform it while you’re sitting. This method is known as above the head chest stretch. You can perform this exercise by sitting with your feet apart. Next, interlock your fingers behind your head with your elbows pointed outwards. After this, move your elbows backward and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold this stretch for 15–30 seconds, and inhale deeply. You can do this stretch three to five times, but always remember to keep your neck straight during the whole duration.
- Knees to chest
You can perform knees to chest lying down or standing up, the process is the same. To do this type of stretching exercise, bend your knee and bring it to your chest. You can hold this position for 20 seconds and repeat it a few more times as necessary.
Lunges can strengthen your lower body, including your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. To do a lunge, start by standing up tall and straight. Next, step forward with one foot and bend your knee to a 90º angle. The rear part of your knee should still be parallel to the ground with your front knee not going beyond your toes. You can return to the starting position by lifting your front lunging leg. You can repeat this activity to 1–12 reps per leg.
Athlete or not, if you’re having a hard time getting up in the morning to exercise, you can always ask for help from apps or companies who provide assistance. These companies, like The Pro’s List, will help motivate you and provide you with different exercises to follow daily. This way, your trainings and practices will go smoother because your body is well-stretched and ready for the activity. You don’t have to wait for the big game before giving your body the right attention it needs. Always be conscious of your body and perform exercises daily to keep it fit and healthy.