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Core Stretches
By:  Matthias Purdon   (2010/08/25)

Increasing core strength is an important component of any training or fitness program but what is often forgotten is that core muscles need to be stretched and elongated as they are strengthened.  Tightness in the core can lead to back problems, shortens your stride, and can be caused as a direct result of improper stretching in concurrence with strengthening routines.   I recently had my core muscles stretched out in a three hour massage session.  To keep things limber I have begun doing a series of stretches, suggested by the masseur, which help stretch my core muscles.  I try to do these at least once a day and the results so far have been positive.  My summer training activities- ski striding, cycling, running, ski walking, swimming, bounding, and roller skiing, all feel more relaxed and powerful while my back and shoulders have loosened up considerably.  This transformation has certainly been helped by the unique work of my masseur on Salt Spring Island but these stretches are what keep the work he has done in place.  Below are photo and description of each stretch.  Hope they can help you out too!

Here is the best of the three.  It is basically a lunge stretch except with your front foot placed further forward.  Your hips should sink into the stretch and the upper body should remain upright.  This is also good practice for ski lunges (big toe pushed towards the line). Hold for one minute then switch your lead foot.

For this one pull your hands as high above your head and stretch straight up then
then pull down to each side.  Hold for 30 seconds a side.

This is the cobra stretch which is part of many Yoga routines.  Hold arms straight and bend up from the waist.  Try to pull your body forward slightly.  This also stretches your ab muscles.  This is probably not the best example ever put on the internet but you get the idea.

I may miss the west coast a little...

thanks for reading!

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