Athletes who are considered flexible do not necessarily have more success playing their sport than others, but they certainly have an advantage. Players who stretch often are helping their muscles and joints move through their full range of motion efficiently and effectively and face less risk of getting injured. In a demanding sport such as wrestling, being flexible can help to bring success in matches and lengthen the careers of those athletes. Here are three simple and safe ways for wrestlers to develop flexibility.
3) Static Stretches
Before any workout, we have always been taught to warm-up and stretch so our bodies are ready for exercises. Stretching is also helpful when trying to “loosen up” muscles or joints and can assist in relieving pain. When stretching, it is important to remember to only stretch to where you are comfortable, as stretching should not cause pain. If you are about to begin practice for wrestling, or any sport for that matter, make sure to get your body as loose as possible to prepare the muscles for the forces that will be placed on them.
Wrestlers should stretch many parts of their body because of how physical the sport can get at times. It is important to stretch parts of the body like the shoulders, neck, lower back, thighs and calves to ensure you feel ready for the match. These simple stretches should take roughly 10-15 minutes and will help any athlete to feel comfortable mentally and physically before a wrestling match.
Each stretch can be held for about 20-30 seconds to loosen that particular muscle or muscle group and get rid of the soreness that could be the result of prior workouts. As we get older, that can be increased to 30-60 seconds to ensure less pain and more flexibility.
2) Dynamic Stretches/Workouts
Now that the static portion of stretching is completed, the dynamic portion of the workout is about to begin. Many dynamic workouts are available to help athletes not only stay in shape, but become more flexible. Walking and running can be great workouts in general for personal health. They can also help to make joints and leg muscles more flexible. Both can also be great warm-up activities leading into tougher workouts that could be ahead of you, especially if they involve the legs. A quick walk or running exercise can loosen and warm up the muscles before and cool them down after a tough workout too.
Many other simple workouts are available for wrestlers and anyone who wants to improve their flexibility. Stationary or mobile knee hugs are a great way to keep your joints healthy and strong while improving their flexibility. This exercise can be beneficial to do while walking because it can really work those tighter muscles. Another is quadriceps stretches, which one could do while walking or in place. Others include side-to-side lunges, lateral lunges, leg swings, open hips and numerous arm exercises, all which can help improve flexibility while lessening the body’s risk of injury.
The key to improving flexibility and health long-term is by repeating these exercises on a regular basis. If athletes can do these stretches prior to each workout session, results will come. It will also allow them to get into better shape by allowing them to progress to more demanding exercises. Wrestlers at every level of the game have to balance their workout schedule with many things like schoolwork, jobs and other activities. Stretching and exercising can relieve the stress that comes with managing it all. Not only can wrestlers improve their flexibility for matches, they can be more physically and emotionally relaxed.
Wrestling is one of the most demanding sports in the world and it can really take a toll on the body. As with most other sports, the longer athletes participate in wrestling they can increase their chances of being injured. This is why it is important to stretch and warm-up parts of the body that are sore. Preparing the body for the stressors that will be placed on it daily will aid wrestlers in their bouts to stay healthy on and off the mat, so they can continue to participate in the sport they love longer. The best part about these methods is that they can be beneficial for anyone. If you need help learning the right stretches to prevent injury, check out the JAG-ONE Physical Therapy Prevention of Injury service.