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Stretching and Flexibility Drills for Racewalking


Updated October 08, 2012

Proper stretching can maintain or increase your range of motion. For racewalkers, stretching and flexibility moves can prepare your muscles and joints for a good workout. Gentle stretching after a warm up and then again after finishing your walk and cooling down is recommended by all walking coaches.

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
Hip Stretch
Quadriceps Stretch
Calf Stretch
Achilles Stretch
Leg Extensions and Crossover Leg Swings
Shoulder Stretches
Quadriceps Stretch
Shin Stretch: Anterior Tibialis
Calf Stretch
Hip, Back and Gluteus Stretch

Other sites:
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

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