Work to Wellbeing: Part 3 - Body and Movement with Matt Duffie
For our third instalment, we’ve recruited Blues’ winger Matt Duffie to be your mobility buddy – showing us simple stretches for warming up before or cooling down after your workouts, designed by Head Physiotherapist at The Blues, Ash Draper.
Whenever you’re working out, it’s important to have good control, stability and mobility. Stretches help to prepare your body and muscles for movement, keeping your joints healthy and reducing your risk of injury or pain during and after exercising.
Incorporate this routine into your workout schedule and on your rest days too. Regular stretching keeps your body functioning optimally and improves your flexibility, making daily tasks easier.
Check out the full video above for advice on preparing for your workouts, as well as restoring balance and symmetry to your body after exercising.
Plus, don’t forget to save our handy PDF guide for later.
These exercises can be performed as dynamic movements before commencing exercise – make sure to pause for a few seconds at the end of each movement (as Matt has demonstrated), and repeat 8-10 reps.
If you’re performing this to warm down after exercise, or in the evening to wind down, each movement should be held for 30-60 seconds, and repeated for two or three rounds.
1. Neck motion exercises
• These exercises are great to stretch out tense neck muscles and help with good posture. • Stand or sit up straight and start with neck rotations. Gently look left and right over your shoulder and pause for a few seconds at the end of each movement. • For some extra motions, you can also incorporate head tilts - in the same position as the first neck exercise, keep a steady frame and slowly tilt your head from side to side, bringing your ear in towards your shoulder. Repeat this movement on the other side. Continue this controlled motion but this time looking up and down, slowly lifting your head towards the ceiling then down towards the floor, bringing your chin in towards your chest. Hold each movement for a few seconds.
2. Thoracic stretches
• These target the thoracic spine (mid-back), which is an area that often gets tight and holds increased tension.
• Open book stretch - lie on one side with your hips and knees bent, your hands out in front of you and your palms together. Take the top hand away in an arc motion to the other side so you open up your chest, mimicking the action of opening a book. Try and keep your hips and lower back still to focus the movement on the mid-back. Pause for a few seconds at the end of the movement and repeat 8-10 repetitions on each side. Alternatively, you can hold for a sustained stretch each side.
• For some extra motions, you can also incorporate kneeling rotations and extensions – begin on your hands and knees and lift one arm and place it on your head. Slowly rotate your body and bring your elbow in towards the opposite hand (the one on the ground holding you up) and then open up so your elbow is pointed towards the ceiling. Slowly return and repeat on the other side. For the thoracic extension, move from your kneeling position into child’s pose, sitting back into the heels of your feet. With your hands placed on the ground in front of you, reach forward until your torso is fully extended. You can use a foam roller (optional) to stretch out even further.
3. The “World’s Greatest Stretch”
• This is a great full body exercise that focuses on the hips, lower and mid-back. • Move into a low lunge position like Matt demonstrates in the video, with hands on the floor, inside of your front leg. Pause here, keeping your back leg straight and ease your trunk towards the floor. Try and keep your chest up and straight, and not round your upper back and shoulders. Then, with the hand closest to the front leg, rotate your upper body and move your arm directly above you. Pause, and repeat to target those areas of tightness / restriction.
3. Downward dog series
• This is a great exercise that can be adapted to feel a stretch through your ankles, calves, hamstrings and lower back. • Get into a push up position with your hands on the ground. Slowly walk your feet forwards towards your hands, raising your hips in the air. Aim to keep your back straight and push your heels towards the ground. You can slowly transfer your weight side-to-side to alternate the stretch between the left and right legs.
4. Relax – and / or repeat the circuits as required
• If you’re performing these movements as stretches at the end of an exercise session, or in the evening to relax, hold each of these movements for 30-60 seconds, and complete two or three rounds. • At the end, take the time to make sure you relax and acknowledge that what you’ve just achieved is great work.
Disclaimer: This training plan has been designed by The Blues. You should always consider seeking professional medical advice before commencing any training plan. This plan is a guide only and you may need to adjust to suit your personal fitness level.