Active stretching refers to a type of flexibility aimed at increasing the functional movement of the muscles. It relates to the distance you can actively move your limbs and stretch your muscles during a movement.
An active stretching routine increases your flexibility by developing your nervous system to allow greater degrees of movement. This routine on it’s own can often clear up many aches, pains and stiffness. Done first thing in the morning it can greatly increase your energy and desire to be active throughout the day.
The routine below includes a few basic exercises used as part of a full body routine that effectively prepares the body for the day or any training sessions / games. Do not perform any of these exercises if you have any undue pain or if it hurts to do the exercise.
Do 10-15 movements per exercise and ensure they are comfortably controlled to the point of a gentle stretch.
Arm circles backward.
- While standing hold the whole body completely still.
- Now rotate the arms backwards at varying angles at a controlled speed.
Hug and extend arm movements.
- Hold the whole body still
- Hug yourself
- Then extend your arms backwards past your body and clap the hands together.
- Either sitting or standing ensure the hips are held rigid and facing forwards.
- Twist to the right then left.
- Do this slowly and under control, do not allow the hips to move from facing forwards
- Either sitting or standing ensure the body is held rigid.
- Bend to the left then bend the opposite way to the right.
- Standing with feet shoulder width apart
- Lift your leg up and simultaneously twist your foot inwards and repeat for desired number of reps
- Alternate between legs.
Lunge Thigh stretch.
- Stand in a lunge position.
- Lower your body straight downwards until you feel a gentle stretch in the front of the trailing leg.
- Return to start position and repeat for desired repetitions.
Active stretching is one the component of flexibility amongst the many training methods you need for rugby. These are covered along with nutrition and the mental elements of performance in my rugby performance programme.