Mid summer’s approaching and it’s Wimbledon season again. Many will be inspired to pick up a racket, blow off the cobwebs and call a mate to hit the courts. If it’s been a while since you played then it’s a good idea to take it easy in the first game to reduce the risk of injury. You’re muscles may not be ready for the sudden increased demand.
Do a proper warm up by gently hitting a few balls against a wall before you play. Follow this with a few gentle pectoral stretches and forearm stretches. If it has been a while since your last visit, it may be worth having an assessment by your Osteopath before hand.
To stretch the pectoral muscles stand within a doorframe or side-on to the end of a wall. Place the hand and elbow on the side that you are stretching onto the flat surface of the wall or doorframe with the elbow bent to 90 degrees directly underneath the hand. Your body should be in line with the wall/doorframe. Take a step forwards with the inside foot keeping the hand and elbow fixed to the structure. Shift your weight onto the front foot so that the shoulder moves forward past the elbow. You should feel a stretch across the chest. Now gently twist your body away to enhance the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds, release for 2 seconds and repeat 3 -5 times. Swap over and stretch the other side.
To stretch the forearm, stand side on to a wall, arm length away from it. Place your hand flat against the surface of the wall with your fingers pointing backwards and your wrist facing forwards with your arm straight. Keeping your hand fixed to the wall, twist your body away from the wall so that your wrist bends backwards. You should feel the stretch down the front of the forearm and possibly into the upper arm and chest also. Hold for 30 seconds, release for 2 seconds and repeat 3 – 5 times. Swap over and stretch the other side.
Remember, stretches should not be painful. You should only feel that tight stretching feeling. If any stretch is painful during or afterwards, try to stretch more gently. If the stretch is still painful then stop doing it until you have either spoken to or been assessed by your Osteopath.
Have fun and stay injury free!
Geoffrey Hogan (M.Ost)