How to Use Rubber Bands to Stretch for Sports
Resistance bands are versatile and travel light, making them a popular tool used in many physical therapy and sports medicine environments. Resistance bands can vary in load with lighter colors often indicating a lower resistance. These rubber bands have been shown to be effective in stretching the muscle both dynamically and isometrically. According to "The Journal of Strength and Conditioning," dynamic stretching performed before training can improve dynamic flexibility and overall sports performance, whereas isometric stretching is recommended to be executed toward the end of training to help clear muscle lactic acid and maintain and/or improve static flexibility.
Perform plantar flexion stretch. Wrap the band around the mid part of your foot and hold the ends of the rubber band in your hands. Then point your foot away from you against the resistance. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat. This exercise stretches the calves.
Execute hip extension stretch. Position yourself on all fours with the band wrapped around the sole of one foot and wrap the ends of the band in your hands. Then, lift and straighten your leg so it becomes level with your spine. Slowly return to the original position and repeat. This stretch targets the hamstring group.
Perform hip flexion. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and wrap one end of the band around your ankle and attach the other end to a stationary object close to the floor behind you. Proceed to lift your leg, bending your knee toward your stomach. Slowly return and repeat the motion. This exercise will stretch the muscles in the quadriceps.
Execute shoulder adduction. First, wrap the band around both hands and keep you hands about shoulder width distance apart. Proceed to raise both arms overhead. With your palms facing away from you, lower your arms to form a "T" shape with your body. Slowly return to the original position and repeat. This exercise can help stretch the muscles in the rotator cuff.
Perform shrugs. Stand on top of the rubber band using both feet while still holding onto the ends. Keep you elbows straight as you raise your shoulders upward trying to touch your ears. Hold for 10 seconds and slowly roll your shoulders back as you return to the starting position. This exercise stretches your upper back muscles, targeting the trapezius.
Execute knee extensions. Sit on a chair or bench. Proceed to attach the band around the ankle of your involved leg. Secure the band onto the back leg of the chair. Then flex your knee joint to achieve 180 degrees and hold your leg in that position for 10 seconds. Slowly return to the original position and repeat. This stretch targets the muscles in the quadriceps.
Perform reverse flies. From a standing position, wrap the band around both hands and keep you hands approximately shoulder width distance apart. Raise both arms at shoulder height while keeping your elbows straight. Proceed to horizontally move your arms away from each other as far as you can, squeeze your shoulder blades together and hold for 10 seconds. Slowly return to starting position and repeat. This exercise will stretch the upper back muscles, targeting the rear deltoids.
Use a color band that allows you to complete two to 3three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions for each muscle group. Remember to breathe at normal rate while performing the stretches. Use a smooth controlled motion while executing any stretch to ensure maximum effectiveness.
Avoid hyperextending or over-flexing joints when stretching. Try not to lock out the joints.
- Sportsinjuryclinic: Resistance Bands Exercises
- Stretching and Toning For Flexibility and Definition; Melissa Cosby
- Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research; Four-Week Dynamic Stretching Warm-Up Intervention Elicits Longer-Term Performance Benefits; S.L Herman and D.T. Smith
- IT Stock/Polka Dot/Getty Images