pike stretch outdoor

What is a Pike Stretch? and How Does it Improve Muscle Flexibility?

A pike stretch is like many other stretches that focus and work on multiple muscle groups simultaneously. If we put it simply, it is bringing your upper body close to your lower body — one of the basic motions that are often found in yoga postures and routine exercises. Gymnastics and dancers are more aware of these movements since it is a part of their routine regimen. 

man pike stretch

How Does a Pike Stretch Work? 

When you bring your upper body close to your lower body, you feel a stretch at your back. It works the muscles at your posterior side. It pulls and stretches the muscles for better flexibility and balance during vigorous physical activities. It starts with your posterior fascial tissues and then works the upper and lower back, hamstrings, and calves, giving this powerful muscle group a full stretch. 

How is Pike Stretching Beneficial for us?

Stretching and exercising go hand in hand. It is like one follows the other. It is a natural phenomenon. Now, if you look at the pike stretch, it can serve as a tremendous pre-workout stretch, or you may incorporate it as a whole exercise. There are many benefits of pike stretch. Here are some of them:

Balance and Coordination

The most significant benefit of pike stretch is that it helps you maintain a clean balance and coordination. It brings all your core body parts in the center of your gravity – both of the upper and lower body parts work in sync. Plus, the stretch is particularly a great way to keep you still on the ground for a long time. 

Flexible Movements

A pike stretch is indeed a gateway for flexible and smooth movements, which is why it is a part of a gymnast’s routine exercise. When you bend down, whether as an active or passive pike, it works your hamstrings, glutes, lower back, and calves. If you are trying to perfect your kicks or jumps, you should know that these muscles are essential for improving flexibility. 

Tension Reducer

Often, continuously facing the screen or working in the office causes your muscles to tighten. There may be some knot formation or general stiffness after prolonged sitting or working. In those cases, a pike stretch helps in reducing the strain on the muscles and releasing the overall stress. Moreover, it relaxes your muscles and reduces the chance of inflammation and spasms. 

Pain Reliever

If you often have achy lower back and hamstrings, this exercise will work like a magic trick for you. The stretch improves muscle activity and relieves the pain. Honestly, you won’t need to depend on some painkillers or analgesics after pike stretches. Also, the blood circulation gets better all over the body. 

Injury Prevention

Pike stretches keep your muscles in a dynamic movement. Performing one before beginning a complex exercise will prevent you from potential muscle pulling or strains due to tight or stiff muscles. It prepares your body for a fool-proof workout. Furthermore, if you wish to have some post-workout pike stretches, it will save you from muscle soreness. 

How Do you Perform a Great Pike Stretch?

The best thing about pike stretches is that they don’t require equipment. You can easily perform it anywhere on an exercise mat. Here is a step-by-step guide to performing a great pike stretch:

Warm-up

Always start with a brief warm-up activity. You don’t want to lock your un-prepared cold muscles with aggressive exercises. Refrain from directly jumping into pike stretches. Build stamina and prepare your body with a good 5 mins of the warm-up session. Pre-workout exercises help you to stimulate your cardio and raise energy levels.

Hamstrings Stretch While Sitting

  • Sit on the mat and spread your legs straight over it. Put your legs together, and your toes are pointing away from your body.
  • Keep your back straight. Raise your arms straight up above your head.
  • Start bending at your waist slowly until your arms touch the toes, and your knees are close to your nose. 
  • Grab your toes until you feel a gentle pull at y 
  • our back.
  • Hold the position for 10 to 20 seconds. 
  • Return to your original position. Take a deep breath and repeat. 

This exercise stretches your lower back, hamstrings, calves. Don’t force your body since it can cause severe damage (muscle pull). 

Passive Pike Stretch While Standing

You will thank us for this incredible exercise. It is the best for your constant backaches and impaired flexibility. Some people will tell you not to try this since the stretch is really dangerous. But let us tell you the secret: IT IS NOT TRUE! It does wonders with your spinal vertebra, which gives you excellent mobility in the long run.

  • Stand straight on some stairs or a step above the ground and grab some weight. A 10kg would be fine or some barbell.
  • Keep your spine erect and your legs shoulder-width apart.
  • Start bending slowly and flex your hips. You will feel all your vertebrae in a dynamic motion.
  • Once you are completely down, hold the position for 5 to 10 seconds. 
  • Return and take a deep breath. Repeat 2-3 times. 

What Are The Points To Avoid During Pike Stretch?

  • Refrain from rounding or twisting your lower back when training for the stretch since it violates the principles of having a good pike. 
  • Now, it is a tricky and challenging exercise. Begin with slow movement. Take it very easy and smooth. I’d suggest lifting some weight and doing simple stretches before diving in.
  • Note this: You cannot perform pike stretches sitting in front of your screens having a sweet Me Time. It is not that sort of quick exercise. It would be best if you had a perfect routine. Otherwise, you will have belts around your back in two days. 

Summary

So we’ve answered one of our FAQs – What is a pike stretch? Pike stretches are a great way to train your lower body, especially your lower back, hamstrings, calves, and glutes. It keeps you active, improves your mobility, and relaxes the rigid muscles. However, you need to follow this best practice guide before you begin this exercise. Many physiotherapists have reported better mobility among gymnastics and athletes after this. After a few stretches, you will feel improved flexibility and more ease in your body. 

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