So far I’ve told you why stretching is important and I’ve given you some ways to get limbered up prior to your workout. Today I will give you some static stretches to do after your workout to really stretch those muscles and help you gain some range of motion. As previously mentioned, it’s this range of motion (flexibility) that will help keep you going in the field.
There are hundreds if not thousands of static stretches out there but here are five that I am particularly fond of and personally do on a near daily basis. These five stretches will help your core and legs handle some of the awkward positions they get put through while climbing mountains or climbing into your treestand.
Loosen those hamstrings and eliminate unnecessary back, hip, and even knee pain. To execute this stretch you sit down, tuck one leg in so that the bottom of your foot is up against the opposite side inner knee (forming a figure 4), and then reach for you toe. Count to 10 or so and then switch.
While your down on the ground go ahead and plan to stretch those quads out. Your quads are the muscles on the front of your thighs and do a lot each step you take, especially when going uphill with a heavy pack. Start by lying on your side and while keeping your thigh inline with your spine reach back and pull your heel to your butt. This helps with your knee joint mobility too.
Lower Back/Glute Stretch
To loosen tight lower back and butt muscles this is a great stretch to do. Also, as a secondary benefit I believe it helps with hip mobility. Picture raising your leg to step over a deadfall or climbing up a boulder strewn slope. Lie flat on your back and start by pulling both knees to your chest. Then put one back flat on the ground and pull the opposite knee to your chest then switch.
Twisting Lumbar Stretch
You will be twisting your body during hunting situations. You’re in your treestand and you hear something coming up behind you…how you going to look? You’re going to twist to see what it is. You’re sidehilling and you hear your buddy slip…what are you going to do? You’re going to twist to see what happened. So you might as well be able to turn and look with relative ease in both situations. Oh and help reduce lower back pain while you are at it. To execute this stretch you will begin by laying flat on your back and while bending one knee rotate it across your trunk. Use the opposite side arm to push the knee towards the ground while holding your other arm outward along the ground to really get a good stretch.
Your calves get used a ton everyday let alone on a backcountry excursion. Your ankles will also get put through their full range of motion whether you like it or not while ascending and descending the places our game like to call home. Be sure avoid any annoying pains by stetching those calves and ankles with this easy exercises. Put your palms about shoulder height on a solid wall and then step back with one leg while keeping it straight. Now bend the forward leg while keeping your back foot planted. You should be able to really feel this one!
You are now armed with several stretches that will help you avoid injury and make life a little easier in the field this fall. By doing these stretches you’ll be improving your mobility and letting your body move in the directions and distances it was intended. Stretching is for everyone and can be done everyday if you are so inclined. I highly recommend it and believe it is one of the most important aspects of physcical fitness.