Straddle Stretch

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 33,003
    Fitness expert Margie Weiss demonstrates the straddle stretch.

    Margie Weiss

    Margie Weiss has been in the fitness industry all of her life, having been a national gymnast as a child, and mother/trainer to three international athletes. Owner-coach of MG Gymnastics, her team produced international stars for 15 years. Former owner of 2 Gold's Gym franchises, Margie is also a certified personal trainer, specializing in youth sports conditioning. She has trained international athletes, including her children. Her son, Michael, is a 2-time US Olympic figure skater and 3-time US National Champion. Currently, she is GGX (Group exercise director & instructor) for 3 Gold's Gyms, where one of her programs boasts 500 classes per month; she supervises 175 instructors. Having published many articles in the fitness field, she enjoys seeing progress in each of her participants. But the things that makes her most proud of the lives she has affected are her 5 grandchildren, all of whom live very close. Seeing their smiles makes every day worth smiling about!

    Margie Weiss: My name is Margie Weiss and this is Basic Stretching.

    What we are going to do now is a real basic stretch. Its usually the first one that I do with people when I teach a class; the idea is to stretch the area from the waist to the hip.

    All we are going to do here is gently tip forwards, now you are going to notice in a class or even here, you are going to see a different amount of flexibility in each person.

    My daughter Jeremy was an international level figure skater, notice how far she can go down, thats an athletic positioning.

    Leslie is a really good Body Pump instructor, but she is more normal what most people would look like when they do this position. The thing is critical; if you want your knees to the ceiling only straddle as wide as you are comfortable, different range for different people. When you tip forwards feel as you are folding like a book rather than rounding your back and tucking your head under. You want to flatten your back and reach your chin for the front. If youve got a spotter and you are working in partners the partner can always put their hands behind you at the base of his spine and gently press forwards.

    Places where you are going to feel is behind the knees, in the hamstring, maybe in the lower back depending on your flexibility you are going to feel it in different areas, but notice there are a lot of different muscles being stretched here.

    Taking deep breath in and out is going to help your body relax.

    Now on Jeremy here, you will notice that legs are wider and her back is flatter to the ground and her chin is out. For her this is comfortable, this is not comfortable for most people. So, you do the range of motions thats comfortable for you.

    Then we are going to go to the side, so we are going to gently come up or we are going to get to tip to one side, we are going to put one hand in the back, one hand in the front and folding like a book we are reaching our chin towards our toes, back is nice and flat, and again, you are breathing, you want to make sure that the opposite hip is on the ground as you are going down because you dont want to lift it up and tip over.

    Once she get there look at neutral, that means the backbone is flat, you are looking right down at your knee, and again, no matter how far down you are, you can still hit straight line position.

    If you want to twist just a little bit we take the back hand, put it forwards and lift the fingers towards the ceiling. Top arm is a dead weight, you are going to extend out, pass the toe as you are extending, trying to keep the body straight line rather than chest towards the floor, shoulder towards the floor. If you want to extend that a little farther you can open the top hand to the back, look at the ceiling, and then once you have done that, bring it on back in and return right on down to the sideways. Generally you want to hold a stretch for about 20 seconds. Nice and easy, breathing and counting.

    These are warm up stretches that we would do at the beginning of a workout. Obviously we did it to one side, if you have two sides, you have got to do it to the other side too. Its called equal and opposite and you want to make sure that both sides of your body are not only equally strong but equally flexible because this assures that you are not going to have back problems or imbalance in the muscles which can cause structural problems or structural damage to your body.