Some rules of thumb about stretching:
- Learn the right technique or you will be stretching the wrong group of muscles.
- The proper time to hold a stretch is 20-30 seconds.
- Easy does it - imitate a cat when streching, do it slow and gracefully, never bounce.
- You only need to stretch far enough to feel your muscles elongating, not until you feel pain.
- Improper stretching can lead to pulled muscles and soreness - if you experience these, then go back to your references to learn how to do it right.
- Do not stretch cold muscles. Warm up first by walking at a leisurely pace for 8-10 minutes, then stop and do your stretches and flexibility exercises.
- Set up a stretching regimen you will remember - start with the top of your body and work your way down or the bottom and work your way up.
- Muscle groups to stretch: Calf, shin, hamstring (back of thigh), quadriceps (front of thigh), back of knee, hips, shoulders.
Stretches and Drills:
Warm-up Stretching Routine for Walkers
Head and Arms Stretch
Leg Extensions and Crossover Leg Swings
Shin Stretch: Anterior Tibialis
Hip, Back and Gluteus Stretch
Dynamic Flexibility Drills for Racewalkers by Dave McGovern
"Shapewalking : Six Easy Steps to a Healthier Life"by Marilyn L. Bach. Great photos and description of stretches for walkers. Compare Prices
"Stretching"by Bob Anderson. A classic and comprehensive book on stretching. Compare Prices
"The Complete Guide to Racewalking Technique and Training" by Dave McGovern. Good diagrams of stretches and flexibility drills. Compare Prices