Doing flexibility work is just as important for a well-rounded fitness routine as strength and cardio work. Incorporating some stretching exercises into your workout schedule will help you improve flexibility, reduce tightness, and ultimately, make your workouts more efficient and safe.
Flexibility is the range of motion within a joint along the various planes of motion. Within each joint, there is an optimal range of motion that is essential for peak performance.
Stretching refers to the process of elongating the muscles to improve range of motion.
Luckily, improving your flexibility and mobility isn't hard. It just takes a little time. Try to include these 9 exercises before every workout.
1. Lunge Pose
Your feet should be forward in a wide stance with your legs straight.
Walk your hands slowly to the right foot while bending your right knee and rotating your left toes up the ceiling.
While doing all this, try to keep your right foot flat on the ground.
2. Hamstring Stretch
Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, arms by your sides.
Exhale as you bend forward at the hips, lowering your head toward the floor while keeping your head, neck and shoulders relaxed.
Wrap your arms around backs of your legs and hold anywhere from 45 seconds to two minutes.
Bend your knees and roll up when you're done.
3. Seated Back Twist
Sit on the floor with your legs straight.
Bend your right knee and step your right foot over your left leg. Put your right hand on the floor, fingers pointing outward, for support. Bend your left elbow and turn to the right, placing the back of your arm against your right knee. Inhale as you sit tall.
Breathe out as you twist, pressing your arm into your leg and looking over your right shoulder.
Hold for five breaths, then slowly return to the center. Switch sides.
4. Neck Rotation and Extension
Slowly rotate your neck while keeping your chin slightly elevated. Do it for at least 30 seconds.
When you're done, place your hands on your hips. Keep your spine long and start to tilt your head back.
Make sure you don’t collapse your cervical spine.
5. Shoulder Squeeze
Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
Clasp your hands behind your lower back.
Straighten and extend your arms and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
Do this for 3 seconds, and then release. Repeat 5 to 10 times.
6. The Forward Hang
Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and your knees slightly bent.
Interlace your fingers behind your back. (If your hands don’t touch, hold on to a dish towel.)
Breathe in and straighten your arms to expand your chest.
Exhale and bend at your waist, letting your hands stretch toward your head. Hold for five deep breaths.
7. Runner’s Stretch
Step your right foot forward and lower into a lunge, placing your fingertips on the floor or on two firm cushions if your hands don’t reach.
Breathe in, then, in one motion, exhale as you straighten your right leg. Slowly return to the lunge position. Repeat four times. Switch sides.
To succeed with this stretch it’s key to keep all your bits in place, starting with a sports bra.
8. Forearm Stretch
Pack your shoulder down and back.
Externally rotate the shoulder to stretch the forearm muscle.
Apply pressure to your opposing hand to begin stretching.
9. Child's Pose
Start on your hands and knees.
Bring your hips slowly back until your forehead Is on the floor.
Arch your upper back and rotate your shoulders externally to stretch your chest muscles and lats.