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Stretching and Flexibility Drills for Racewalking

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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

Books:
"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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