Band Stretch 5

Photo Credit: Cara Canington

Whether you run, lift weights, or just have tight hamstrings, using a band to stretch your legs properly can truly make a difference in your muscular health.  Using a partner to hold your legs and stretch achieves the same effect as the band, however band-stretching is a great option when your workout buddy is out sick or can’t make it to the gym.

First, choose a band with the right resistance.  Usually bands are color coordinated to indicate levels of resistance.  If you have tighter muscles that are not very flexible, choose a band that has a little more give and is looser.  On the flip side, if you are extremely flexible and need a deeper stretch, pick a tighter band.  There are four main stretches to do when using a band, three focusing on your hamstring muscles and one pinpointing your quadricep.  Take your time and hold each stretch for about 30 seconds, going deeper in to the stretching position as time passes.  Go through all four stretches on one leg and then repeat the same routine on your other leg.

Stretch #1: Place your foot in the band and have the elastic wrap around the bottom of your shoe.  Make sure you have a large amount of space to stretch, and lay down on your back.  Pull on the band and stick your leg straight up in the air.  Keep you other leg straight and flat on the ground.  Be sure to pull your leg back to the point where it is uncomfortable, but not painful.  This will give you the deepest and most effective stretch.  Hold for 30 seconds.

Band Stretch 1

Photo Credit: Cara Canington

Stretch #2:  Place your leg to the outside of your body, keeping both legs straight and focusing on stretching your groin and hamstring.  Let your leg that’s in the band relax and really fall into a deep stretch.

Band Stretch 2

Photo Credit: Cara Canington

Stretch #3: Now pull your leg to the inside, and across your body.  Again, keep both of your legs straight.  This stretch will target your hamstring as well as your glutes and hip muscles.  Hold for 30 seconds.

Band Stretch 3

Photo Credit: Cara Canington

Stretch #4: Lay on your side and pull your heel to your rear-end.  Place the band on the front of your shoe by your toes and pull the band up above your head.  You will feel the stretch in your quadricep and groin area.

Band Stretch 4

Photo Credit: Cara Canington

Be sure to repeat this same stretching routine on the other leg.  If done properly, the whole process should take you about 5 minutes.  Now who doesn’t have 5 minutes after a workout to really stretch out your legs and help make tomorrow’s workout more enjoyable?  Band stretch after workouts for stronger, healthier leg muscles.