I’m obsessed with performance. Whether it’s learning to maximize the life of a rake, improving safety on the job or at home, sourcing innovative work site communications systems, hey, I’m good at work, it’s what I do. Keeping on top of it all requires staying in peak condition, and one of my keys to ultra-endurance is to stay flexible. I thought I’d share my stretching routine because I couldn’t find one I liked anywhere online. Check it out and let me know what you think.
Start: Warm up is essential. I usually spend 5 minutes on a treadmill or walking quickly around the boom truck in the morning. Once I’ve warmed up, I get bent. I hold each stretch for 15-30 count and don’t bounce. I don’t go too hard, and try to keep in mind this is NOT a work out, stretching shouldn’t hurt.
I stand an arm’s length away from a support directly in front of me, and brace with my arms. I extend my right leg back and gently push my right heel to the ground. I focus the stretch on the muscles below my knee to the back of my leg. Then I switch sides.
I try to balance on my own, but stand an arm’s length away from a support, just in case I start falling over. I pull my right heel up toward my butt. I grab my ankle with my right hand to hold the stretch. I try to keep my back straight and look forward while holding the stretch. I focus the stretch on the muscles above my knee to the front of my leg. Then I switch sides.
I stand with my feet shoulder width apart. I lean forward, keeping my back straight and knees slightly bent, reaching toward the ground with my hands. I focus the stretch on the muscles at the back of my leg below my butt and above my knee.
I take a horizontal step sideways to the left while facing forward and hold. Depending on how I feel sometimes I brace myself with my left hand on my hip as I continue to hold. To increase the stretch I bend my left leg and focus the stretch on the inside of my right leg in my, well, groin. Then I switch sides.
I take a step forward with my left leg and brace myself with my hands on my left leg. I try to keep my back straight and eyes forward as I bend my left knee and think about sinking my hips toward the ground. I focus the stretch on the muscles at the top of my right leg just below my hip. Then I switch sides.
This is my favourite stretch. I stand with a support on my left. I cross my right leg in front of my left, make sure to keep my right leg crossed and right foot on the ground while I reach my right arm over my head and grab the support. I lean to my left and focus the stretch on the muscles on the right side of my torso. Then I switch sides.
I stand at arm’s length from a support on my left. I grab the support with my left hand and turn outward to my right, continuing to hold the support with my left hand. I focus the stretch on the muscles on the upper left side of my chest. Then I switch sides.
I stand straight and pull my right arm across my chest, holding it in place with my left arm. I focus the stretch on the muscles around my right shoulder/rotator cuff area. Then I switch sides.
I stand straight and touch the area between my shoulder blades with my right hand. I apply gentle pressure to my right elbow with my left hand. I focus on the muscles on the back of my arm between my shoulder and my elbow. Then I switch sides.
I love this stretch for helping keep my shoulders limber. I find it helps execute and recover from long days in the bucket pruning power lines. I grab a jacket or shirt and dangle it behind my head with my right hand. Standing straight, I grab the bottom of the shirt behind my back with my left hand and gently pull up with my right hand. I focus the stretch on the muscles and ligaments in my left shoulder. Then I switch sides.
I’M VERY CAREFUL WHEN STRETCHING MY NECK. I stand straight and bend my head to my right, like I’m trying to listen to my shoulder. Sometimes I’ll apply gentle pressure with my right hand, but this isn’t necessary to get a good stretch. I focus on the muscles on the left side of my neck. Then I switch sides.
Alright, now comes the wicked part – time to hit the trees! I was amazed at how good I felt after following this stretching pattern for a few days. I seriously went from feeling sore and limping out of bed in the morning to full on jackknife jump bed ejections. I also noticed that it doesn’t take long to radically increase flexibility if you keep at the routine daily. If you’ve got any favourite stretches, or suggestions on improvement let me know in the comments below!