STRETCHING Don't OVER DO IT! Harder and faster will not get the results you want. The goal is to gain flexibility without causing injury. The correct way to stretch is in small increments. Be sure your leg muscles are warmed up before stretching. If you push yourself too far too fast, you risk serious injury. THE PASSIVE, STATIC STRETCH Lie flat on the floor. With one knee bent, lift the other leg and put the stretcher in position. Straighten the leg first and then pull it towards the torso, gently and slowly. When you feen the hamstring tighten, or when you reach your current range of motion, stop and hold this position for 10 to 30 seconds. Switch from one leg to the other 3 to 5 times. THE ISOMETRIC STRETCH The three basic steps to isometric stretching are: • actively lengthen the target muscle • isometrically contract the target muscle • actively lengthen the target muscle again. A muscle is more relaxed and able to lengthen after a strong isometric contraction. This readiness to lengthen is the result of the inverse stretch reflex. When one muscle contracts, the opposing muscle relaxes because of neurological inhibition, thereby allowing movement to occur around a joint.