The Pros' Secret to Long-Lasting, Successful Careers

Regular active resistance stretching is one of the best ways to keep the legs healthy and prevent injury. Learn the drills from STACK Expert Brent Rogers.

One thing I've witnessed first hand during my career working with professional athletes: the ones who have the longest, most successful careers take care of their bodies. They use the foam roller, get in the ice baths, eat healthy and stretch regularly, including resistance band stretching.

Regular active resistance stretching is one of the best ways to keep your legs healthy and prevent injury. Plus, it doesn't take much time and doesn't cost much. The unfortunate truth is that when left to do any form of stretching on their own, most athletes choose not to—which is why I make sure to incorporate resistance band stretching at the end of my clients' conditioning and lifting workouts.

Resistance Bands

I recommend the purple colored "Light Band." In my opinion, it provides the best resistance while also allowing good pliability and movement. Smaller resistance bands will work, but to reduce the possibility of injury while resistance stretching, I do not use any band thicker or stronger than the purple "Light Band."

Total Cost: Purple "Light Band' is around $20, and the entire routine takes only five to 10 minutes of your time, a few times a week.

Value: PRICELESS! You will keep sore and tired muscles fresh while improving range of motion and maintaining strength.

The Resistance Band Stretching Routine

Hamstrings

  • While seated on floor, wrap band twice around your right foot
  • Grab band in each hand and pull back until you feel a good amount of tension
  • Maintain the tension throughout entire routine unless otherwise instructed
  • Keep left leg straight on floor throughout
  • Lie back on floor and extend right leg straight up toward ceiling, while maintaining balanced tension in each hand
  • Hold for 15 seconds
  • Drop straight leg down to floor so heel touches, then return leg to straight up position
  • Repeat leg drop five times per leg
  • Bend knee and bring knee down towards chest, then press leg straight up to original position. Repeat this leg press five times per leg

Hip and Piriformis

  • Lie back on floor
  • Raise left leg, bending knee
  • Cross right foot over left leg above left knee
  • Pull on band with left hand towards left shoulder
  • Push on right knee with right hand to feel stretch throughout entire right hip area
  • Hold for 15 seconds

Quadriceps

Quadriceps Band Stretch

  • Turn on to your left side
  • Bend your right knee and bring your heel up toward your butt
  • Pull band up behind your back and hold with both hands
  • Hold for 15 seconds
  • Drive knee forward against resistance and return to start position
  • Repeat five times per leg

Ankle

  • Lean forward and grip the band in each hand closer to right foot
  • Pull back on band while maintaining good balanced tension
  • Plantar flex foot against resistance of band and dorsiflex foot back to start position
  • Repeat ten times
  • Regrip and pull hard with your right hand (right side of foot); all the tension should be on right side
  • Turn your foot to the left against resistance of band
  • Repeat ten times
  • Regrip and pull hard with your left hand (left side of foot); all the tension should be on left side side of foot.
  • Turn your foot to the right against the resistance of band
  • Repeat ten times
  • Remove band from right foot, wrap it twice around left foot and repeat entire routine with left foot

Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: STRETCHING | PRESS | INJURY | RESISTANCE BANDS