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The Skinny on Stretching

Loosen up! It’s key to get bendy before exercise. But stretching is way more than tugging on your hamstrings or touchin’ those toes. Gold’s Gym trainer Ramona Braganza spills on dynamic stretching, which’ll prep you for  tough workouts.

Get Warm
“Before you begin, it’s good to do about three minutes going easy on a treadmill or bike just to get the blood flowing,” Ramona tells us. Don’t have any equipment? Go for a slow jog instead.

Stretch Away
Static stretching—when you reach for a pose and hold it—isn’t your best option before a big workout. Instead, try out these dynamic stretches. They’ll get your bod ready for action by mimicking what you might experience on the field. Plus, they’ve been proven to give you more power during exercise.

Knee Hugs
Step forward with your left leg. Bend your right knee up and toward your body, keeping your back straight. Hug your knee and balance for a sec. Alternate and repeat a few times. “This is good for your hamstrings, the back of your legs and hip flexors,” Ramona says.

Torso Rotations
Stand with your feet wider than your hips. Bend at your waist, and move your body in a giant circle. Repeat three to four times in one direction and then change directions.

Leg Swings
Hold onto a nearby park bench. Swing one leg freely forward and back, being careful not to go too high in either direction. Repeat a few times and then loosen up the other leg.

BY KATIE ABBONDANZA ON 10/16/2010 1:12:00 PM


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