Stretches Gaelic Games
Gaelic football, hurling and camogie place unique demands on the musculature of the body, requiring dynamic upper and lower body range of movement. It is therefore important to maintain total body flexibility to maximise performance and reduce risk of injury. The following recommended stretches focus on all muscle groups, with a particular emphasis on leg and shoulder mobility.
Kneeling Hamstring Stretch
Kneel on your right knee and extend your left leg forward, resting on the heel. Place the hands on the upper left leg and, keeping the leg straight, begin to tilt the torso forward from the hips, keeping the back straight. You should feel the stretch on the back of your upper left leg. Repeat for the right leg.
Standing Hip Flexor Stretch
Take a large step forward with your left foot and, extending the right leg back, slowly lower your hips towards the floor until you feel the stretch. To develop the stretch, push your hips forward and straighten the upper body, resting the hands on the left thigh. To exit, drop your hands to the floor either side of the left foot and bring the right leg slowly forward. Repeat on the left leg.
Calf Stretch Inverted
Stand with feet hip distance apart. Bend forward from your hips to bring your hands to the ground, forming an inverted V shape with your body. Press your heels towards the ground, keeping both legs straight. You should feel the stretch on the back of your lower legs. To progress the stretch, increase the distance between your hands and feet but ensure to maintain straight legs.
Lying Quad Stretch
Lie face down on the floor with both legs straight behind and the knees close together. Resting your chin on the back of your left hand, curl your right heel towards your bottom and grab the foot with the right hand. Maintaining a straight body alignment, pull the heel closer to your bottom until you feel the stretch on the front of your right thigh. To progress the stretch further, firstly elevate the right knee slightly by placing a folded towel underneath and then repeat the above process. Fully straighten the right leg before repeating on the left leg.
Kneeling Lat Stretch
Starting on your knees, sit back onto your heels and bring your torso onto your thighs. Extend both arms forward, keeping the hands on the floor. You should feel the stretch on both sides of the upper back.
Kneeling Mid-Back Stretch
On your hands and knees, lift your spine upwards by pulling the stomach in, creating a curvature in the mid-back.
Lie face down on the floor with both legs extended behind and your hands planted on the floor next to the ribs. Slowly push up with your arms to lift the torso off the floor, extending your lower back. Keeping your hips on the floor, straighten the arms enough to feel the stretch along the front of the stomach.
Seated Adductor Stretch
Sit upright and place the soles of your feet together. Place your hands around both ankles and bring your heels close to your body. Keeping your back straight, apply downward pressure to the inside of the knees using the elbows, sufficient to develop the stretch on the inner thighs.
Lying Glute Stretch
Lie flat on your back and bend both legs at the hips and knees, crossing the feet as you do so. Place both hands just below the knees and pull both knees toward your chest. You should feel the stretch on your glutes and hip area.
Lying Glute Stretch Single Leg
Lie flat on your back and bend your left leg at the hip and knee. Place your right ankle on your left leg, just above the knee. Grip the right leg above the ankle and place the right elbow on the inside of the right knee. To progress the stretch, bring the right leg closer to the torso, maintaining outward pressure against the inside of the knee with the elbow. You should feel the stretch on your right glute and hip area. To exit the stretch, release the right leg by straightening the left. Repeat on the left leg.
Lying Hip and Lower Back Stretch
Lie flat on your back with your arms out-stretched at shoulder level. Bend your right leg at the hip and knee and place the right foot over the ankle left knee. Using the left hand, grip the right leg behind the knee and slowly twist to the left, keeping the right arm extended to the side. Progress the stretch by pulling the right leg back and down, thereby increasing the degree of rotation in the lower back. You should feel the stretch on your right hip and lower back area. To exit the stretch, release the right leg slowly and return the back and legs to full floor contact. Repeat on the left leg.
Standing Chest Stretch
Stand tall with your head up and looking forward and your feet hip-distance apart. Gently clasp the hands behind your back and push the shoulders back and the chest out. Focus on bringing the shoulder blades close together and rounding the chest.
Standing Shoulder Stretch
Stand tall with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Bring your right arm across the chest, keeping it straight. Hook the left arm underneath the right and use it to pull the upper right arm closer to the chest. You should feel the stretch across the outside of the right shoulder. Release both arms slowly and repeat the stretch on the left arm.
Standing Tricep Stretch
Stand tall with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Raise your right arm and reach down your spine with the palm of the right hand against your back. Progress the stretch by gently pulling the right elbow downwards and inwards with the left hand. You should feel the stretch down the back of the right arm. Release both arms slowly and repeat the stretch on the left arm.
Standing Neck Stretch
Stand tall with your head up and looking forward and your feet hip-distance apart. Slowly rotate your head to the right until you feel the stretch along the left hand side of the neck. Return slowly to looking forward and then rotate to the left.