Many people incorporate stretching exercises into regular workout routines. Stretching is the deliberate act of lengthening the muscles, and it helps increase muscular flexibility, improve overall mobility and prevent exercise injuries. Stretching machines are sometimes used to facilitate these types of movements, and they can be found in home gyms and professional workout centers. There are several different types of stretching machines, including back stretchers, leg stretchers and stretching chairs.
Back stretchers often are portable, and they offer a compact stretching solution. These types of stretching machines typically are placed in a chair, and they feature contoured feet supports and hand levers. The user sits down on them and pushes his or her hands on the levers to provide a deep stretch for the back. Other benefits from this type of stretcher include spine realignment, relaxation, improved posture and increased joint flexibility.
Leg stretching machines, or splits machines, are often found in gyms. They have foam-pad thigh and leg supports, waist straps and turn-handle hand levers to enable users to reach stretch positions slowly. These types of machines are beneficial for leg and groin stretches. They help users stretch their legs out to 180 degrees and keep the leg muscles loose and flexible while complete splits stretches are performed. Professional athletes, such as hockey goalies and football players, commonly use them.
Stretching chairs help to improve muscle coordination and posture. They are popular in physical therapy offices because they allow individuals with limited capabilities to move around freely. These stretching machines work to balance the body’s alignment without injury by utilizing the majority of the main muscle groups. Many yoga and Pilates practitioners use these chairs to improve their flexibility and muscular flexibility.
Most stretching machines are expensive, and there are other types of stretching accessories available for lower budgets. These types of stretching equipment include exercise mats, yoga straps and fitness balls. Exercise mats are beneficial because they allow the person to do his or her stretching exercises on the floor, and they provide padding to prevent injuries.
Yoga straps often are helpful stretching tools for difficult leg stretches. They are looped around the balls of the feet and held in the hands. This allows a person who cannot reach his or her feet or toes to gently pull into a deeper stretch with the strap. Exercise balls work with gravity and support the body while in a deep stretch. They help to release tension in the muscles and elongate them in order to achieve the maximum benefits of a stretch.