West Virginia Assistive Technology System

Stretch Band Exercises

Prelude to Stretch Band section of Exercise Cards

How Much, How Often?

Stretching
For stretching only:

  1. Do stretching exercises at least three times a week, for at least 20 minutes.
  2. Do each stretch 3-5 times at each session.
  3. Stretch slowly into the desired position, as far as possible without pain, and hold the stretch for 10-30 seconds.  Relax, then repeat, trying to stretch further.

Strength
For increasing strength:

  1. Do exercises for each major muscle group at least once a week.
  2. Do not do exercises for the same muscle groups on any two days in a row.  For example do not do leg exercises two days in a row.
  3. Do 8-15 pulses of each exercise.  Wait a minute and then do another set of 8-15 pulses in a row of the same exercise.  Tip: While you are waiting, you might want to stretch the muscle you just worked or do a different exercise that uses a different set of muscles.

Safety

  1. If you have had a hip replacement, check with your surgeon before doing lower body exercises.
  2. If you have had a hip replacement, do not cross your legs, and do not bend your hips farther than a 90-degree angle.
  3. Always warm up before doing stretch band exercises.  Do a little bit of easy walking and arm pumping first.  Stretching your muscles before they are warmed up may result in injury.
  4. Work muscles throughout full range of motion.  None of the exercises you do should cause pain.  The range within which you move your arms and legs should never hurt.  Reduce how far you are stretching if you feel pain so it doesn't hurt.
  5. Breathe evenly.  Exhale during first or most difficult phase.  Do not hold your breathe.
  6. Control your movements.  Do not lock joints.  Do not allow limbs to move freely or loosely.  Resist the band.
  7. When standing, body alignment is critical.  Square the shoulders, contract abdomen muscles and relax the knees.
  8. Men in particular should wear long socks to help keep the band from pulling leg hair.

Progressing

You can progress by:

  • stretching further, but no so far that it hurts
  • increase the number of repetitions you do for each exercise
  • increase the number of times per week you exercise with the stretch band