Stretching and the Warm-up Exercises

Nick UgoalahAs I wrote in The Benfits of Stretching, regular stretching reduces the tension in the muscle and promotes circulation. Stretching helps make movements easier because it increases the range of motion and prevents muscle strains during activities.

When stretching, think of yourself as a cat. When in the stretched position hold that position for a few seconds, then stretch further and hold that new position for 20-30 seconds. Do not get impatient. Take deep breaths and hold the stretch. If you are just starting out, give yourself some time to regain your limberness, remember it took you years to get stiff.

Here is a list of stretches that I use in my own routine:

Hamstrings/lower back: standing with one leg extended on an upright support. Keeping your knee completely straight on the outstretched leg. Grab the ankle or foot with both hands and bend at the waist or hip joint.

Quadriceps (front thigh): standing, facing away from a support, grab your right instep and pull your heel to your buttocks. You should immediately feel the front thigh stretch just from having your knee bent so much.

Calves: Stand with your toes and the ball of your foot at the edge of a high block. Allow your body weight to stretch your calves until there is tension on your calves.

Lats: lean forward grabbing a pole or heavy piece of equipment pull back hard while rotating right hip away from direction of the pull.

Chest: Facing a corner or open doorway, raise arms in a reverse T with elbows below the shoulders, then lean forward to pull the pecs. You can also do these one arm at a time.

Triceps: Raising right arm over your head, point your elbow toward the ceiling and bend your upper arm. Reach with your opposite arm and pull the right wrist down, giving the right triceps a good stretch.

Regular stretching will keep you loose and supple and help decrease your chances of injury. I've learned this lesson the hard way after several strains and pulls. I can guarantee you that if you focus on your warm-up and stretching routine, you increase your chances of reaching your potential and achieving your dreams and goals as a wrestler.

Go for it. Nick Ugoalah

Author: Nick is a 3-time CIAU (Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union) National Champion wrestler. Nick currently helps people to achieve balance and more fulfillment in their personal lives through his personal training and lifestyle consulting business in Vancouver.

>> See also: The Benfits of Stretching

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About The Author
Nick Ugoalah is a Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist (2002) and 3 time Canadian Champion in Freestyle Wrestling. Although he is now retired, he remains close to the sport he loves, donating time and skills to coaching. He is also a much sought-after professional speaker, noted for his inspirational style. Nick has recently launched his career as an achievement coach for entrepreneurs, other business people, athletes and individuals who simply want to achieve more in their lives. You can reach him at:


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