In the introduction post to this series, we reviewed and answered some common questions regarding stretching, including why, when, how, etc. Click here to review it.
In this post we will be talking about how to stretch out the forearm. This area includes the wrist flexors and extensors which are the common culprits behind lateral and medial epicondylitis (aka tennis and golfers elbow).
1) Stretching should NEVER hurt. The goal is to only go until you feel a pull in the muscle. It should not be to go until it hurts in one of those “no pain, no gain” efforts. It should be comfortable and repeatable, allowing you to move a little further with each repetition.2) Perform stretches when the muscles are warmed up. This can be following a workout or following work with the foam roller. Click here to review the self massage post for the forearm (this includes pictures and video using a foam roller and tennis ball to review 3 self muscle release techniques).
2) Hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat 3-4 times. You can hold longer than the 20 seconds, but the reps are key. You will always get more out of stretching frequently versus one killer session a week.
3) If hurt- be sure to stretch out the surrounding muscle groups first. For the forearm, this means stretching out the elbow and upper arm where the biceps and triceps are. As the injury allows, work you’re way up to stretching the injured muscle out.
#1 Wrist Extensors
This stretch can be performed while sitting down. Start with the elbow straight and arm at shoulder height. If this is too much or uncomfortable for the shoulder, drop the arm down and bend the elbow to make it easier. From here, use your free arm to pull your hand and fingers down towards the floor like the picture above. You should feel a pull along the top of your forearm (between your elbow and wrist). Hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat 4 times.
#2 Wrist Flexors
This stretch is exactly the same as above except for one difference. Instead of pulling your hand and fingers down towards the floor, you are going to pull them up towards the ceiling. Should feel a pull along the bottom of your forearm as you do so. If the straight arm at shoulder height is too much, you can lower the arm or bend and bend the elbow to make it easier. Again, we’re looking for 20-30 second holds for 4 reps.