General guidelines: To re-educate chronically tight muscles it is imperative that while stretching there is adequate blood flow going to the deep part of the muscle which is generally where the worst part of the strain is. Ideally, THE STRETCH SHOULD BE DONE WITHIN 5 MINUTES AFTER EXERCISE OR ACTIVITY. Even 5-10 minutes of steady activity around the house or office will help warm up the muscle so that you can get the maximum benefit of the stretch to the deep part of the muscle before it has a chance to cool down. This will insure that as the muscle cools down it doesn’t keep returning to the same set point over and over. It is ok to stretch before getting out of bed in the morning. This is a great way to loosen up and get the day started but it is not as effective for re-educating muscles as doing it after activity.
FREQUENCY : THE FIRST 2 WEEKS DO EACH SIDE FOR 10 SECONDS AND THEN REPEAT ONCE.
It’s important to get your body used to the feeling of the stretches and to get into the habit of doing it daily. As you get more comfortable with it, I would encourage you to stretch it longer (up to 30 seconds) if you have the time and/or it feels helpful. Most people won’t stretch indefinitely twice daily so after two weeks going to once daily is common.
Directions: KNEELING: make sure your front foot is far enough forward to get a good lunge and the key is to keep your low back straight while bending the left knee forward. The stretch is in the right mid/upper thigh and groin area. Remember to DO THIS STRETCH GENTLY AT FIRST as this is one of the biggest muscle groups in your body and make sure you’ve been doing activity before doing this one because it’s easy to over stretch it and aggravate it until your body is used to the stretch. IF YOU HAVE ONGOING KNEE PROBLEMS THE STANDING VERSION IS BETTER. STANDING: If balance is an issue for you make sure you are holding one hand on the wall or railing if doing it on the stairs. Make sure the standing leg is far enough back to feel an adequate stretch in right hip flexor area when you go to lunge forward with the left knee. The standing version is good to do at work or even off of a park bench if stopping for a break on a walk. The added advantage is that this version will also stretch your calf muscle.