back to HEALTH and FITNESS


from US Navy Seal Workout Program

DO NOT GO RIGHT INTO NAVY SEAL's STRETCHING COLD. It is not only painful but can be injurious too. Warm up before you start to stretch. You might take an easy run, try a 10-15-minute fast walk, do jumping jacks, or perform any other calisthenics that get the blood pumping.


Sitting on the floor, form a 90º angle with your legs as shown. Relax. Feel the weight go down into your leg muscles and then gently lean forward without bouncing. A little bit of pulsing is OK just to increase that stretch.Reach out and grab the palm of your foot. Relax everything a little more and just pull into it - not so it causes pain, but it should feel good. Keep your back straight. Eventually lie down on the leg. It takes a while - weeks and months of stretching - before you attain maximum flexibility.

The second part of the Hurdler Stretch is to lie back and stretch out as in the second photo. It's important to let your body go into a natural position, where everything is relaxed and you can concentrate on the muscle that needs to be stretched. Hold for 30 seconds, then lean over.


In the Modified Hurdler, bring your foot in as the photo shows. This stretch is easier on the back than the regular Hurdler, and it also helps streth out the lower back. It's just as much of a lower back stretch as it is a hamstring stretch. Stretching out the lower back is important and becomes even more important as a person ages.


The Sitting Head to Knee is a double hamstring stretch. Put both legs staight out. Grab the toes. This is another full back-of-the-leg stretch, from calves to the buttocks. Hold and pull down gradually - not causing pain - and you might want to rock gently from side to side a little bit just to feel the stretch go around the sides of your legs.


The Back Roller is a really good back and hamstring stretch. Relax and just let gravity pull you down. Then you can let go with one leg and cock your hips so that the hip that's connected to the stretched leg helps stretch the back muscles down the length of your spine. Repeate the stretch on the other side.


The Butterfly is a favorite. It's very relaxing. Just put both soles of your feet together and bring them in close. The point is to stretch the tendons and the ligaments in the groin. Get your feet in as close as you can, flat together, and then push down on your shins and calves with your elbows. Stretch with your neck and head down. You can also rock back and forth gently. This increases flexibility all the way around.


Stand with legs a little wider than shoulder apart. The goal is to stretch your tendons from the inside of your thigh down to your knee. You might want to put a hand on your heel as shown. It provides support and it keeps your othe leg down flat. Relax your body and lean into the stretch. Repeat on the other side.


To start, put your right leg out flat and cross your left leg over so that the outside of the heel is by the knee. THe effective part of this stretch is putting your elbow on the outside of your crossed-over knee, pushing on it, and turning so you can feel the stretch all the way through the upper hamstrings, through the gluteal region, and into the lower back. Turn your head as you stretch. Repeat on the other side.


Bend over as shown, grabbing a wrist with one hand or interlocking your fingers, and then pull it back and gently stretch out the lats and the frontal deltoids.


Put your right elbow up on the right side of the head, placing your right hand in the middle of your shoulder blades. Grab your right elbow with your other hand, and then pull it back, nice and easy, stretching your triceps. This can turn into a very good lat or side stretch if you bend to your left as shown. Reverse arm positions to stretch the other triceps and side.


Press-Press-Fling starts out with your arms straight out front, horizontal. Then bring them back in a butterfly-like chest movement with your elbows bent at 90º angle - snap it back to get the most range of motion. That's the Press. Do it twice. Press-Press. Be careful not to snap too hard. And avoid this stretch if you are recovering from a shoulder injury. The Fling is accomplished by opening your arms nice and wide and snapping back. At the same time, come up on your toes and arch your back. Press-Press-Fling. It's easier than it sounds.


Up, Back and Over starts with both arms at your side. Lift your arms straight up. That's the UP. Then fling them behind you, like in the Swimmer's Stretch. That's the BACK. Return to starting position and then do a big reverse arm circle. Stretch it all the way around back to the starting position. That's the OVER. Then Repeat.


Hands on your hips, feet about shoulder width apart. It should be a stable and comfortable stance. Starting off nice and slow, bend at your waist to the right side. Lean into it a bit. Return to the start position. Bend to the front. Return. Bend to the left. Return. Then bend to the back. And return. Half way through the desired number of repetitions, it is recommended that you reverse direction, starting to the left.


Trunk Bending Fore and Aft is very simple. Hands on your hips, feet about shoulder width apart. Bend to the Front. ONE. Return to the starting position. TWO. Bend to the Rear. THREE. Return. FOUR. As in all exercises, keep an even tempo as you count the repetitions.


back to HEALTH and FITNESS