The downside to being a weekend warrior? Going from zero to yard work hero without the proper prep and strategy can lead to injuries – from strains and sprains to serious pain. So before you put yourself at risk, take a look at 4 Tips for Warming Up for Spring:
2. Stretch for Success
You are about the work muscles that may have been dormant for the winter. Stretching before and after your planned activities is the best way to make sure those muscles are ready to work today and tomorrow.
Two specific areas that I suggest addressing are the shoulders and the hips/low back.
A great shoulder stretch is to bring your arm across your body just under your chin. Use your opposite hand to supply a small amount of tension by placing your arm above your elbow and pulling your arm into your body. Repeat that on your opposite arm to get a well-rounded stretch.
You can also do a door jamb stretch to hit both your shoulder and chest muscles. Start by finding a sturdy door jamb. Place your hand and forearm on the frame of the door with your elbow making a right angle to your shoulder. Lean into the doorway lightly until you feel the stretch. Switch sides and repeat.
To focus on your hips and low back, you have a wide range of options. My favorites are the simple lunge, quad stretch and calf stretch.
The lunge is not an exercise here, but a simple stretch. Get into lung positon with one leg in front of you and the other behind. Bend your forward knee slightly so that you are lunging, making sure your knee does not stretch past your toes. You can add to this by twisting your body slightly, moving the side of your body with the leg back forward to feel the stretch through your hip. Swap leg positions and get both sides fully stretched.
The quad stretch and calf stretch are relatively standard. To stretch your quad, reach behind you and take one of your feet in your hands, bending your knee and stretching out your quad. Hold for several seconds and switch to the other side. Make sure you have something to hold onto if you don’t trust your balance. To stretch your calf, find a sturdy wall and place your toes on it so that your heel is resting on the floor and your foot is making a V shape compared to the wall. Now simply lean towards the wall to feel the stretch. Repeat on the other side and you’re all set.
With next weekend right around the corner, keep this tip in mind to keep yourself warrior-ready. This is tip #1 of 4. Stop back next week for another installment.