When you come to a class at Granite Bay Jiu-jitsu, you will start the class with a proper warm-up and stretching. Often, we encourage partner static stretches.
These stretches can provide your muscles and joints with that “loose feeling.” Ordinarily, you would pair up with someone and allow your partner to apply pressure against your hamstrings, hip abductors, and calves.
Passively stretching this way has its benefits — benefits you would want to experience outside the academy. However, what if you cannot find a partner to help you stretch at home?
This is where the stretch out strap comes in. This double-woven innovation is your best friend when it comes to developing flexibility, preventing injury, and improving your range of motion on the mats and in life.
Read on to learn more about the uses and benefits of the best piece of equipment you are probably not using.
How to Use a Stretch Out Strap: Top 3 Bang-For-Buck Stretch Out Strap Exercises
The stretch out strap allows trainees to passively stretch in the absence of a partner. Assisting a stretch out strap’s user are several loops through which the user can place the arms, feet, or legs. The strap allows the user to pull the leg to the desired angle of flexion or extension — things that a partner can do.
The simple design of the stretch out strap enables the user to apply it in various ways. Here are some exercises you can do with the stretch out strap:
Lying Calf Pulls
One of the most common areas that receive a lot of wear and tear on the mats and in daily life are the calves. The calves or the gastrocnemius muscles are key when performing plantar flexion. Plantar flexion is the position your feet take when you point your toes forward — like when locking your legs in to finish a triangle choke.
Stretching the gastrocnemius muscles are easy with a stretch out strap. All you need to do is place your foot in one of the loops and pull. Be sure to keep your leg straight when you pull.
Your feet will go into dorsiflexion, allowing the muscles in your calf to lengthen. This can improve muscle recovery and the flexibility of your ankle — both necessary on the mats.
Lying Glute Stretch
The glutes are some of the most important muscles in the body maintaining posture and power generation. Unfortunately, many trainees neglect this muscle group. While there are many ways to stretch the glutes, one that you will get the most bang for your buck from is the lying glute stretch.
Using the strap, place one foot into one of the loops. Once you have done this, use the hand on the opposite side to pull your heel as close to your belly or chest.
Doing this will stretch your gluteal muscles. There is a bonus — this way of stretching your glutes loosens up the hip abductors. The hip abductors allow your legs to move farther away from your body. Strong and mobile hip abductors will allow you to quickly sweep from the bottom or attempt armbars.
Prone Hip Flexor Stretch
Stretching the hip flexors is crucial for Jiu-jitsu performance and spinal health. For most people, the hip flexors are over-engaged from sitting all day. Yoga moves like the Sun Salutation can add to how the hips engage and move along their planes of motion.
Offsetting the chronic hip flexion dealt by sitting requires resistance. With the stretch out strap, you can apply passive resistance with the prone hip flexor stretch.
Lie down in a prone position as you place one foot into one of the loops of the strap. Grab the one end of the strap, and pull. As you pull, lie on your belly and continue to pull. Your feet should resemble the “Scorpion’s tail position.” If you feel too much discomfort, stop performing the stretch for a while, and resume according to your level of tolerance.
Perform this on both sides.
The prone hip flexor stretch is another bang-for-buck stretch due to its ability to improve range of motion and flexibility in two areas. Other than stretching the hip flexors, the prone position allows you to stretch out your quadriceps. The quadriceps are the large muscles in front of and beside your leg.
Fully recovered and loosened quads and relaxed hip flexors will enable you to assume a more upright position when you attempt takedowns. In addition to this, your lower back will remain pain-free with relaxed hip flexors.
The Benefits of Performing Stretch Out Strap Exercises
If the exercises mentioned earlier did not entice you into trying a stretch out strap, perhaps these benefits will. The benefits of using the stretch out strap include:
- Better flexibility
- Improved range of motion
- Injury prevention
Let’s go into these benefits in greater detail.
One of the limiting factors for many athletes and people is poor flexibility. Poor flexibility is the result of muscles being contracted for too long. The chronic contraction or shortening of muscles becomes apparent as soon as a person experiences pain or discomfort with certain movements.
The best way to improve flexibility is by performing assisted stretches. The stretch out strap allows access to assisted stretching movements even in the absence of a partner.
Improved Range of Motion
Flexibility is a prerequisite of mobility. Mobility refers to the free and active movement of your joints along their natural axis of rotation. Since mobility or your ability to move your joints freely depends on flexibility, you need frequent and effective stretching.
The stretch out strap allows you to stretch fully unassisted. By performing the stretch out strap exercises mentioned earlier, you will be able to move better and free from pain and discomfort.
Joint injuries occur due to poor joint flexibility and improper joint articulation. Muscle tears are the result of chronic tension without lengthening.
You can prevent both by adding stretches to your training and recovery plan. Assisted stretches are the best since they permit bending against your muscle’s resistance. In the absence of a partner, you can still do this with the stretch out strap.
Stretching is a Key Part of Jiu-Jitsu Recovery and Longevity
There is a reason we are particular about stretching. More than safety, the benefits of stretching contribute to making you the best athlete on the mats and in life. The stretch out strap can help you achieve better flexibility, mobility, and training longevity.
Do you feel like testing out your newly acquired level of flexibility and mobility? Visit us at Granite Bay Jiu-jitsu and try out a week of our training for free.