Workout routines are not a do-it-and-smash-it routine. Going right into the routine will only make your muscles have a higher chance of being injured during the process. The body need warm ups, stretching and cooling down period in order to fully adjust to the workout pace at hand. Stretching is therefore an important step that should not be left out in the daily workout routine.
How to do a ‘Stretch’
Stretching is an important part of a workout, in which you will need to gradually stretch the muscles before working on it intensely afterwards. Doing this can increase flexibility, increase your range of motion, increase your workout performance, increase blood flow to your muscles, improve posture and decrease tension headaches.
There are two ways to hold your stretches which is the static and dynamic stretch. Static stretch is ideal after exercise, where you seek to end your workouts and reduce your injury. You can do this by holding the stretch for 10 to 30 seconds and having slow, regular breath.
Dynamic stretching is when poses are done actively to get the muscles ready for exercise. These types of stretches lengthen and warms up the muscle to get it ready for exercise. Poses are done continuously at medium speed while the breath is kept constant.
Here are the basic, simple stretches that you can do:
- You can either kneel, sit or stand tall with feet set hip-width apart.
- Extend your hands overhead.
- Bend your right elbow and reach for your neck.
- Your left hand should be raised overhead and grasping your right elbow.
- Pull your right elbow down, toward your head.
- Switch arms and repeat.
For: stretching neck, shoulders, back, triceps
Seated Shoulder Squeeze
- Sit on the floor, bend your knees and have your feet flat on the floor.
- Bring your hands behind your and clasp it behind your back.
- Now straighten and extend your arms, at the same time squeezing your shoulder blades together.
- Keep in position for 3 seconds, afterwards releasing. Repeat for 5 to 10 times.
For: relieving poor posture and relieve tension in the upper back
Lying Pectoral Stretch
- Lie face down with both arms extended to side your body is lying in a T shape.
- Push off the ground with your left hand and try to balance your body movement by bending your left knee. As you slowly roll off the side, you should start to feel the stretch on your right side pectoral muscles.
- You will be able to move and roll your body further as soon as your mobility increases.
- Repeat on the other side.
For: stretching chest, shoulders
Knee to Chest Stretch
- Lie on your back with your limbs in the shape of a starfish.
- Pull you right knee to your chest, keeping your left leg straight and you back pressed to the floor.
- Hold the position for approximately 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
- Repeat on the other leg.
For: stretching lower back, hips, hamstrings
Standing Hamstring Stretch
- Keep back straight with feet hip-width apart, knees bent slightly and arms by your side.
- Slowly exhale as you bend forward at the hips, lowering your head towards the floor, while keeping head, neck and shoulders relaxed.
- Start to wrap your arms around the back of the legs and hold for approximately about 45 seconds to two minutes.
- Bend your knees and roll up when you’re done.
For: stretching neck, back, glutes, hamstrings, calves
Side Bend Stretch
- Kneel both your legs on the floor with back straight and core tight.
- Stretch your left straight out to the side. Keep it perpendicular to the body.
- Pull your right hand over your head while extending your left arm to your left leg. Now, bend your torso and your right arm to the side.
- Try to maintain this posture with hips facing forward for about 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
- Repeat on the other side.
For: stretching groin, hips, inner thigh, obliques
Lunge With Spinal Twist
This stretch is considered to be one of the best, dubbed the ‘World’s Greatest Stretch’ (WGS) among fitness enthusiasts. Many people can perform and feel its benefits because it solves some of our greatest woes; helping with painful postures and for people who sit for longer periods of time.
- Stand straight with your feet joined together.
- Move your left foot forward, then bend the other knee to drop into a lunge.
- Your right leg should be behind you with toes on the ground. Feel the stretch of the muscles on the front of your right thigh.
- Balance your posture by placing your right hand on the floor.
- Put your left hand upwards towards the ceiling, essentially twisting your upper part of the body.
- Hold the position for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
- Repeat on the other side.
For: stretching hip flexors, quads, back
- Sit with straight backs, soles of the feet together and knees bent out to sides.
- You can either hold onto your ankles or feet while slowly bending your body towards the floor.
- The most ideal position is to have your body bend while engaging your abs. If you are still to tight for that, simply press your knees down.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
For: stretching hips, glutes, back, thighs
Instep Hamstring Stretch
Be sure to breathe and keep your upper body and core engaged so you don’t round your back forward.
- Stand straight with arms to the sides.
- Lift your right foot and step backwards to be put into lunge position.
- This position needs step by step process. First, place the right hand down on the floor. Put the left elbow to the inside of your left foot, hold position for about 15 to 30 seconds.
- For the next step, place your left hand back on the floor, hands on both sides of the left food.
- Press your back to straighten the front leg, allowing for a deep hamstring stretch. Breathe slowly and hold position for 15 to 30 seconds.
- This time, bend your left leg again into a lunge and twist your chest towards your left knee. Lift your left hand up to the ceiling to fully rotate your spine. Breathe and hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
- Keep the energy at your upper body and core so your back stays in position.
- Get up, return to starting position and repeat on the other side.
For: stretching hamstrings, inner thigh, core
Simple Seated Twist
- Sit on the floor with straight backs and cross legged positions. You can even sit on a folded blanket in order to raise your hips and make the position more comfortable.
- Make sure to elongate your spine.
- Inhale, place your right hand on the floor behind you and your left hand on your right knee. Exhale while moving deeper into the twist, looking over your right shoulder.
- It doesn’t take long, but only five breaths to hold the position.
- Switch sides.
For: stretching spine, shoulders, neck, back
Doorway chest Stretch
- Find a wall that is perpendicular.
- Place bent arm on the wall, with elbows the same height as shoulders.
- Turn body away from bent arm.
- Hold stretch for a few seconds.
- Repeat with opposite arm.
For: stretching chest and arms
All of these stretches are already known to target a specific area of the body. Depending on what you are going to do afterwards, you can choose the body part that you want to stretch. Not only will your body be properly stretched, your flexibility and performance are also said to improve drastically with regular practice.
Which stretch is the most effective for your body part? Share your answer with us in the comments section below!