World’s Greatest Stretch – All You Need to Know About It
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If there was only one stretch that you needed to do before or after a workout, it would be the world’s greatest stretch (WSG). Learn about its effectiveness and how you can incorporate it into your fitness routine.
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If you are a fitness enthusiast or an athletic trainer, you would know about “The World’s Greatest Stretch," or WGS. After all, it is one of the legendary stretches in the field of sports performance and fitness. But if you are not aware of it, this post is for you. Below you will find out all you need to know about WGS, from learning the technique to knowing more about its benefits and effectiveness. So let’s get started.
World’s Greatest Stretch – Overview
Stretching is considered to be an integral part of your workout routine. While it does not play any role in improving your cardio or building muscles, it is still critical. Stretching enhances muscle strength and the joint’s range of motion; two essential features that reduce the risk of injury. Therefore, stretching has to be an important part of your pre and post-workout routine. If you are looking for a single stretch that you can incorporate in your pre- and post-workout routine that should be WGS. Before we get into the details of how to perform this stretch, it is important to know about the benefits of the World’s Greatest Stretch.
Benefits of the World’s Greatest Stretch
When it comes to fitness, the World’s Greatest Stretch is considered to be a legendary stretch and there are good reasons for it. Some of the benefits of WGS that make it an ideal stretch include:
Targets Every Major Muscle Group
WGS targets every major muscle group in the body. It works on your hamstrings, glutes, calves, adductors, hip flexors, thoracic spine, quads, lower back, chest, oblique and shoulders. This is particularly important because some of the muscle groups that are overused due to prolonged sitting get moving during this stretch.
Takes Less Amount of Time
WGS takes less than five minutes to complete so it is a quick way to warm up and cool down before and after a workout session.
Activates the Central Nervous System
There are components of static and dynamic stretching which bring benefits of both these types of stretching. A combination of static and dynamic stretching activates the central nervous system and mimics the link between the body and the brain that is essential for an effective workout session. When this connection is established, muscles work more effectively and there are fewer risks of injury. Moreover, it also brings in the typical benefit of increasing your range of motion so that you can complete your workout in a better way.
The Technique – How to Go About it?
Now that you are aware of all the reasons why WGS is an ideal stretch for your pre and post-workout routine, it’s time to learn the technique.
To begin with, get into a balanced half-kneeling position. Step your left leg forward and stretch your right leg behind. Make sure your right knee is well above the ground and your leg is supported by your toes. Moreover, your hands should be placed right below the shoulders such that they are supporting your upper body.
Now move your left arm to the front such that your left forearm is resting on the ground. Square your hips so you feel a stretch in your hamstring and groin. Hold this position for up to 10 seconds before you move on to the next step.
With your right hand supporting your entire body, stretch your left arm and extend it towards the ceiling as you twist your body to reach for the sky. This step works on your t-spine and shoulders along with your arm muscles. Your fingertips should be reaching as far away from your shoulder as possible and neck should be twisted such that your eyes are focused at the ceiling, giving enough stretch to your neck and shoulder muscles.
Hold the stretch for 10 seconds and bring your left arm back to the ground. However, this time, you will not rest your forearm on the floor. Instead, you will swing it under your right arm and again aim to reach the ceiling with your fingers fully stretched. Aim for at least 10 reps before you are move on to the final step of the stretch.
Once you have finished at least 10 reps of step 3, now your body weight should be resting on the heel of your left foot (instead of the entire foot) and on the toes of your right foot that is stretched behind your body. Hold this position for about 10 seconds and you will feel a deep stretch not just in your hamstrings but also in your calves. Once you have counted till 10, now is the time to step forward and return to the normal standing position.
You will have to repeat the entire set of steps for your other leg. This ensures that all the major muscle groups in your entire body are ready for a workout.
Over time, the world’s greatest stretch has earned its reputation and there are genuine reasons for it. It targets all major muscle groups, is quick and easy to perform, incorporates both static and dynamic stretches, and activates the central nervous system. All these reasons make it an ideal stretch as a part of your warm-up and cool-down stretching. The repeated set of stretching motion improves the circulation of blood, increases your range of motion, and reduces your risk of injury as you work out.
So the next time, you hit the gym, make sure you incorporate the world’s greatest stretch in your workout and notice the difference in your performance.