Stretching and flexibility are often taken for granted. The older I get (over 40) the more I realize how valuable the flexibility and mobility components of a workout are. Often skipped, I believe that a solid flexibility program (active warm-up, stretching and foam rolling) can greatly improve your performance on and off the fire ground.
Today I wanted to give you a 5 Simple Exercises that can improve your performance. These exercises can be performed at the completion of a workout or a shift or even during your shift. You want to hold each stretch for at least 15 seconds if not 30 seconds. Repeat the circuit as many times as possible. Remember to breathe and maintain good posture throughout each stretch and don’t force the stretch. Ease into each position and if it hurts…stop.
Here is a video overview of the stretches.
Here are the individual Stretches.
Downward Dog– push your heels down, stretch the upper back and hamstrings.
Kickstand stretch– Move forward and back slowly, extend your leg to a comfortable position. Make sure to stretch both legs.
Spiderman– Step to the outside of your hand. Keep you back leg straight for more hip stretch. Watch your upper-body posture, stay relaxed through the shoulders and traps. You may need to keep your back leg on the ground when you first try this stretch. This is one of my favorite stretches and really helps to open up the hips.
Straight leg raises (toes to nose)– Ease into this stretch, do not over do it. Hold the leg in a stretched position then slowly flex your toes to your nose to get more stretch through your calf.
Cross-over stretch- Keep your palms up and arms straight and slowly move into the stretched position. Start with your knee bent then gradually try the stretch with the leg straight.
Remember to see improvements you have to make a consistent effort! Try to do these stretches at least 3 times per week. I try to do them before a shift and after I complete a workout. Let me know your thoughts and progress.
Stay safe and Get FRF!
PS- My Mission is to transform, motivate and educate 100,000 firefighters, EMTs and medics to get more “fit for duty.” Let me know how I can help you!