Dehnen mit Heidi Sessner: Beweglich und schnell

While the training of many athletes is carried out meticulously, the material is perfectly maintained and equipment is always up to date, stretching is usually one of the most neglected areas in sports. An extensive stretching unit can accelerate regeneration and promote mobility! Heidi Sessner shows you the most important stretching exercises.

Stretching exercises are especially important for athletes when parts of the muscles are less flexible than others. Thanks to one-sided stress, such as long-lasting, uniform movement patterns or permanent sitting, this is not uncommon. However, the term "muscle shortening" is misleading, since the muscle fibers do not actually become shorter, but rather their elasticity and ability to stretch decreases. The same effect can be seen with the fascia, the sheaths that surround all muscle fibers. They also need to be stretched regularly to remain elastic.

That's why it's important

A flexible muscle performs better and requires less energy. This is due to the fact that the opposing muscle of the active muscles does not slow down the movement and allows longer strides and a higher frequency with the same effort, for example when running.

However, you should not stretch if you have sore muscles or existing injuries, so as not to damage the affected structures even more. An extensive stretching program should also be avoided before fast and force-intensive units. It is precisely here that a certain muscle tension is desired and should under no circumstances be relieved by stretching.

Static or dynamic?

When you are at the sports facility, you can often see two different types of stretching. While some concentrate calmly and continuously on their stretch, others rock back and forth, increasing and decreasing the tension. Static stretching is intended to increase mobility and elasticity in the classic sense. This method is particularly useful when you take the time for an extensive stretching session.

In contrast, dynamic stretching alternates between careful but targeted tensioning and relieving. If you would like to stretch before training, the dynamic variant is a good choice, as this type of stretching stimulates blood circulation in the muscles. Another advantage of this method is the improvement of intra- and intermuscular coordination. So the interaction between nerves and muscles and the muscles themselves.

Basic execution instructions (static stretching)

  • Never stretch when “cold” but warm up thoroughly beforehand
  • Make sure that all exercises are performed correctly (tip: check yourself in the mirror!)
  • Perform all exercises slowly and without momentum
  • Hold each stretch for 40 to 60 seconds, breathing slowly and evenly
  • feel the muscles slowly "giving in" after 30-40 seconds - this is the point you should reach
  • Only do the exercises as far as you can without pain

Mobilization of the back muscles

Lying on your back, raise one leg and let it fall to the side at a right angle over the outstretched leg. Your shoulders should remain flat on the floor. Here, not only lateral parts of the large buttock muscle are stretched, but also the back muscles are mobilized. Variation: Drop both legs to one side.

stretching of the back muscles

On all fours, step backwards and place your forearms on the floor, dropping your head between your arms. If the arms remain stretched far forward and the shoulders are pressed down, the stretch extends over the shoulders and far into the back. Here's what to look out for: Breathe evenly.

The hip flexor is often a problem. The bike position, running, much more but sitting for long periods and weak back muscles can lead to problems.

Stretching the hip flexors

From a standing position, step into a lunge, pushing your back leg back without twisting sideways. Put your knees and feet on the floor. Avoid a hollow back by tensing your buttocks and abdominal muscles.

Stretching the glutes

Lie on your back and spread your legs. Rest one foot on the knee. Now raise the lower leg and hold it in the raised position by the thigh. The stretch can be felt in the gluteus maximus of the upper leg and can be increased by pulling in.

In the second variant, lying on your back, one knee is pulled towards your chest. You can feel this stretch in your lower back muscles.

Back leg stretch

Lie flat on your back with a towel or Thera-Band wrapped around the soles of your feet, hold the ends of the towel and pull your leg up. Here's what to look out for: the bottom leg stays flat on the floor while the lifted leg stays straight.

Stretching the front of the thigh

In a side plank position, place your lower leg forward at a right angle. Grab the foot of the top leg and pull towards your buttocks. Variant: While standing, pull one foot towards your buttocks. Please note: Do not slouch , and the thigh to be stretched should not be spread out to the side.

Stretching of the superficial calf muscles

Support yourself with your hands, push one stretched leg far back, place your heel flat, keep your feet parallel and your body straight.

Stretching the lower calf muscles

Take a slight lunge, keep your feet parallel, bend your knees slightly and now shift your center of gravity backwards.

stretching of the chest muscles

It is particularly important for the chest muscles to train the opponents in the back area. After all, both the swimming movement and the posture on the aero bike are directed forward. In addition, mobility can be maintained by fixing one arm to the wall behind the shoulder axis. If possible, do not turn your upper body. The exercise can be performed in different arm positions to specifically stretch different parts of the pectoral muscle (arm above, below or at shoulder level).

Stretching the triceps

Pay attention to this: One hand is placed between the shoulder blades from above, with the other hand supporting the stretch by gently pulling down on the elbow.


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