Friday, October 31, 2008

Stand or Sit?

A lot of folks ask me if its better to stand or sit when stretching. Well, it depends. Lets look at stretching the hamstrings and low back. If you sit, your upper body can be more relaxed, but at the same time, if you are really tight, you won't stretch much. In the lower photo with my back straight, you will probably improve your stretch more if you stay seated on the ground. If your back is curved, as in the upper photo, you may help the stretch more if you stand with your feet together, and let your body hang. Using your body weight to help you stretch is fine provided you don't have any back pain. Why? If you have back pain, it may help to hang over your legs, but when you contract your back muscles to stand up, you may further injure yourself.

So, assess whether you are stretching to alleviate tight muscles or back pain. If tight muscles, really, either way is fine, standing might help you more. If you have back pain, sit and stretch only. The increased feeling of stretch you get will not outweigh any exacerbation of your pain.

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