I just wrote an article on some simple stretches you can do before engaging in physical activity. Since Achilles, Groin, Calves are prevalent injuries for individuals 40+, I thought I would write an article addressing that part of the body. What do you suggest? Here is the link to my article: http://kisardhillon.com/?p=1040
I only see the article on New Year’s Resolutions which is good, but nothing on flexibility. I think the main thing is to make sure that body is warm. I always try to start with movements similar to yoga sun salutations, tai chi and qi gong so the client is actively engaging their muscles and then help them sink deeper in the posture to increase ROM.
A good movement (especially for women with pevic floor issues) is flowing through lateral lunges to wide-legged squats to the other side in a lateral lunge and then back to center squat and up. This helps open the hips, but can also really strengthen the pelvic floor.
The main thing is to make sure the muscles are warm and movements are controlled. This can help any client see major gains in strength AND flexibility.
There is little research to show that stretching actually prevents injury. In fact, most studies show that stretching before physical activity can lead to decreased performance. This is because stretching lengthens the muscle, and a lengthened muscle is a weaker muscle. To prevent injury your clients should be doing an active warmup; mimic the movements the workout or sport will do, but do so in a less intense, gradual way. If your goal is flexibility stretching should be done once warm. A good way to sneak in stretching for those who do not like to stretch is to work the opposite muscle group. For instance, to stretch the hamstrings, work the quads. This forces the opposite muscle group to relax.
The “decrease in performance” is extremely minute and it is eradicated after he completes a few sets. Its not like you can be benching 185 one day but after you stretch it will drop to 135 pounds. Unless your client is a football player and he is extremely picky about every small decrement in weight then I would say that you should not be using static stretches before the workout. I would like to further state that the decrease in performance after static stretching is still being debated. But to answer your question static stretching is very simple.