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Various stretching exercise styles provide the same benefit to the body: elasticity. But my preference is static stretching because it benefits my calisthenics training and everyday movement. It’s straightforward to perform without all the complexity other elastic forms require. I’ve been doing static stretching for over a decade and have always felt invigorated since I started a decade ago. My joints and muscles always feel great when I do warm-ups and perform static stretches before doing any activity, regardless of how hard or easy it is. In this article, I want to show various stretches that helped me to achieve elasticity in my joints and muscles. Let’s get started on this article about static stretching for calisthenics training.
What is static stretching?
My preferred way of stretching for everyday flexibility is static stretching, primarily since I practice calisthenics and other activities. The point of static stretching is to hold a position as long as you can. A good hold is 30 seconds, and the best hold is 60 seconds. Static stretching is fantastic, elongating the muscles and shortening them back before starting any calisthenics exercises. It’s also beneficial for stretching the tendons before starting any resistance exercise and after a session. All this is trying to prevent any severe injury a person can receive. The body needs warm-ups to avoid discomfort before intense physical activities, including stretching. Before stretching, you must loosen up your joints first, then do a couple of warm-ups.
Static stretching benefits calisthenics performance
Before any intense physical performance, warm-ups are required. The simplest forms are small walks or jumping jacks to get the blood flowing. After a good warm-up, stretching prevents injuries from occurring before and after exercising. Muscles need stretching because the muscles become shortened and tight if you perform without loosening the fibers. Using your muscles without a proper warm-up will be weak and tight, resulting in a cramp. The tendons also benefit from an excellent stretch for performing a full range of motion. Another consideration is to loosen up the joints by making circular motions on the wrist, shoulders, hips, and ankles. For the elbows and knees, you extend and flex the joints.
Follow the fibers
Follow the muscle fiber direction for each muscle you stretch to simplify the exercise. You also should take into account that joint movements have a role to play in stretching. Take a look at the photo; an example would be the protraction and retraction of the scapula. If you protract, you’re going to be stretching the trapezius muscles. If you retract, you’re going to be contracting the trapezius muscles. The joint movement allows the entire muscle to elongate and contract according to the fiber direction. It also applies to every joint on the body, including knowing the fiber direction for each muscle you stretch.
Stretching the muscles
Elongating the muscles and retracting them back into their normal state feels revitalizing. As I said, the best stretch hold is approximately thirty seconds to one minute. Others say you can hold long stretches for up to five minutes. But for me, the best hold is thirty seconds or one minute. If you feel like stretching past a minute, then go ahead, but be careful. Now, I want to show you stretches I find to be the best to elongate those fibers and have excellent mobility.
The muscle attaches to the mastoid process, an area behind the ear. Another area where the muscle attaches is the clavicle. Turning your neck left or right to see your muscle would be best. The muscle will expose, and you can touch it. The movements associated with the sternocleidomastoid are pivoting the neck and flexion. To stretch this muscle, you must turn to the left or right side according to the direction of the muscle fiber. Then extend the neck back, and you’ll stretch the muscle.
The muscle attachments are located from the skull’s rear baseline down to the pelvis’s iliac crest. The erector spinae’s movements are rotation, extension, flexion, and lateral flexion. The entire muscle is underneath a layer of muscles called the trapezius and lats. You can only see the low region in real life. To stretch the erector spinae, perform neck flexion and bend forward by touching your toes.
The muscle looks like a shining star located on the upper back. It attaches from the rear baseline of the skull down to the lower thoracic spine and laterally to the scapula. The movements the trapezius provides are protraction, retraction, and downward pull. To stretch the muscle, protract your scapula and wrap your arms around you as if you’re hugging yourself.
The lats are attached to the rear area of the upper part of the humerus and lower back. It’s common to nickname the lats as wings when you abduct the arms away from the body. The main action the lats perform is a downward pull. To stretch the lats, you must raise your arms, perform a lateral flexion, and rotate the spine.
The shoulder muscle looks like a triangular shape. It attaches from the lateral 1/3 of the clavicle, acromion, and spine of the scapula down to the humerus. Movements the deltoids provide are abduction, extension, and flexion. To stretch the deltoids, you must do shoulder adduction across the chest.
The main muscles men love to show off. The muscle’s attachments are the scapula and the radius. The movements the biceps provide are flexion. To stretch the biceps, you must extend your elbows, retract the scapula, and extend the arms and wrist to stretch the biceps.
A rear muscle of the humerus provides extension as a primary movement. Its attachments are the scapula, humerus, and ulna. To stretch the triceps, flex your elbow by raising the elbow and touching your upper back. Place your other hand on the raised elbow and press down to feel the tricep stretch.
These muscles form the lower half of the arms, whereas the upper arms are the deltoids, biceps, and triceps. The forearm is a group of muscles that provides flexion and extension of the hands. The action allows the fingers to open and close. Pair both hands together like a prayer, then rotate your fingers to stretch the flexors. After that, press the hands together, and you’ll feel the stretch on the flexors. To stretch the extensors, flex your wrist, then laterally rotate the fingers. This will cause the muscles to stretch.
The chest muscle is an integral part of moving the arm by performing adduction. When this happens, the chest compresses and allows muscle growth during pushups. The chest attachments are the humerus, clavicle, sternum, and ribs. Stretching the pecs requires you to retract the scapula and extend the arms simultaneously. This will cause the pecs to get stretched.
The abdominal wall helps to protect our organs and keep everything aligned. The movements of the abdominals provide flexion and extension. The attachments from the top are the Xiphoid process and the fifth ribs. The lower attachment is the pubic crest. To stretch the abdominals, all you need to do is extend out the back. Raising the arms while extending the back allows a better stretch.
These muscles also help to keep everything aligned from the sides of our waist and protect our organs. The movements of the obliques, both internal and external, help to rotate and bend forward and lateral. The obliques attach to seven ribs, from the fifth to the twelve. Then from the bottom, it attaches to the linea alba, pubic tubercle, and anterior half of the iliac crest. This is how to stretch the obliques. Stand neutral, rotate the hips 45 degrees, then extend.
The hip flexors allow the ball and socket joints to perform hip flexion. Multiple muscles are involved, and they are iliacus, psoas, pectineus, rectus femoris, and sartorius. To stretch the hip flexors, have one leg forward and the other back. Lean the torso back, and you should feel the hip flexors stretched.
The lower half of the body, especially the glutes, enables us to walk upright and helps support us during seating. Static stretching before a calisthenics workout will help loosen the glutes and enable great squats. The movements of the glutes provide extension, abduction, and lateral rotation of the hips. Stretching the glutes is simple; do this while seated. Cross one of your legs over the other and press the lateral side of the knee toward you.
The leg’s anterior muscle attaches to the pelvis’s iliac spine and the patella and tibia. The movements provided by the quads involve hip flexion and knee extension. You must lay your hand on something to stabilize, then flex the knee by holding and pressing the ankle. When you’ve done that, this will cause your quads to feel that stretch.
The leg’s posterior muscle attaches to the ischial tuberosity, tibia, and fibula. The ischial tuberosity is a posterior bony landmark on the lower surface of the hips. The hamstrings’ movements are extensions of the hip, knee flexion, and lateral rotation of the knee. The best way to stretch the hamstrings is to do a deadlift pose and elongate them.
The inner side muscles of the legs provide adduction of the hips. The attachments of the adductors are the pubic area, femur, and tibia. Stretching the adductors requires you to drop your torso and shift your weight to one side of the leg. While doing that, you extend out the other leg at the same time. You will feel a stretch on the adductors.
The lower leg region supports our weight when walking or running. The calf’s action is plantar flexion. The movement enables you to add a few inches to your height when reaching for something. The tibialis anterior is a front lower leg muscle on the lateral side of the tibia. The muscle action is dorsiflexion and inverters the foot. A great way to stretch the posterior and anterior parts of the lower legs goes like this. For the calves, place the heels of your feet forward on the floor while performing dorsiflexion. The best way to stretch the tibialis anterior is to do a plantar flexion and invert the foot.
Loosenening the joints
The joints that allow movement are the vertebras, scapulas, elbows, wrists, fingers, knees, ankles, ball, and socket joints. Freely movable joints are held together by ligaments. A ligament is composed of connective tissue that connects a bone to another bone. To loosen up the joints, you must move in the direction of what the joints do. When you’ve done this, the joints will loosen up. Here’s a list of what each joint movement does.
The vertebras consist of five regions, cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral, and coccygeal. The cervical is the most mobile of the six areas of the vertebras. You can move your neck forward, back, left, right, or circularly. The thoracic region is flexible to move with almost the same ease as the cervical part of the spine. The lumbar region is flexible enough to move but not as mobile as the cervical or thoracic parts of the spine. Then there are the sacral and coccygeal regions, which aren’t flexible. What makes all three areas flexible is the fact that it has rubbery ligament pads between the vertebrae. It allows the spine the flexibility to move.
Another way of saying scapula is the shoulder blade. The scapula allows excellent mobility for the arms because the scapula is attached to the humerus. The scapula moves in various directions; protraction, retraction, elevation, depression, upward rotation, and downward rotation.
The elbow is a hinge joint that attaches the humerus with the radius and ulna of the forearms. The movements of the elbows include flexion and extension of the joint and rotation of the radius.
The wrist and ankles are gliding joints. Gliding joints allow the bones to glide past each other in any direction along the plane of the joint. Up, down, left, right, and diagonally.
The joints of the fingers are called condyloid. They look like egg-shaped joints that only allow for forward-backward and side-to-side movements. It doesn’t allow rotation. All you have to do is close and open your hands.
The knee joint is called the tibiofemoral joint. It consists of three bones to form the knee joint; the femur, tibia, and patella. Also, the knee joint consists of four movements: flexion, extension, medial rotation, and lateral rotation.
Ball and Socket
The ball and socket joints of the shoulders and hip regions allow circular motion. It is the most versatile joint in the human body. It allows the arms and legs to move in different plane fields. Not only does it enable circular motion but also flexion, extension, adduction, and abduction.
As you can read and see, doing static stretching in your calisthenics training is straightforward. I promise you that doing the stretches daily will help you perform better. You’ll feel elastic, light, and rejuvenated to perform. Check out my article on beginner’s guide to calisthenics. You’ll see many benefits of this amazing art form of lean bodybuilding.
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