Bet you can’t touch your toes. You might not think it’s all that important, but it is.
Any sort of exercise should start or end with stretching. You’ll need a good stretch before cardio to get the blood flowin’. Bodybuilders should stretch their pumped muscles to stave off muscle fatigue. No matter what the exercise is, stretching before and after can only benefit your performance!
Here are five stretching exercises for flexibility training. Stay consistent with these and in time, you’ll be able to touch your toes.
1. Hamstring Stretch
This is a great one for before your bike ride or run. For those working out their calves in the gym, try this after your workout.
- Stand completely straight (stand tall) with your arms to your side.
- Bend over until you’re in a U-shape.
- Grab the back of your ankles.
- Hold for a minute or two.
After working out your arms, stretch them. Even if you’re just moving boxes, stretch them afterward. Be sure to stretch twice a week to improve flexibility and posture.
- You can sit or stand for this one.
- Hold your hands, shoulder-length apart, over your head.
- Try reaching the middle of your back.
- Use your other hand and grab your bent elbow. Push your bent arm down to deepen the stretch.
- Go until your elbow is nearly head-level.
- Switch between arms for equal stretching.
Lower back pain can often be a result of poor posture. Sitting with your legs crossed can tighten the hips. Try out the frog stretch.
We recommend it after a long day’s work in the office.
- Get on the palms of your hands and on your knees.
- Part your knees outward at a 45° degree angle or until they’re wider than shoulder-width.
- Rest your feet on their sides, so the soles of your feet are pointed southward.
- Lower your hips toward your feet.
- If you can manage it, switch from your hands to your forearms.
- Hold for at least one minute. If you can manage, hold for two.
4. Sitting Shoulder Stretch
This one attacks all of the tension in your upper back. It can also be a great way to relax after a stressful day. The shoulders and back are huge muscle groups, so this one will feel great.
- Sit with your butt on the ground and your heels planted.
- Put your hands together behind your head.
- Squeeze your shoulder blades together and lower your clasped hands as far down to your tush as possible.
- Hold it for 5 seconds. Let go!
- Repeat these steps a dozen times.
5. Lunge Stretching Exercises for Flexibility
Your quads and glutes are subject to a lot of knotting…they’re the biggest muscle group in the body. Don’t forget to stretch them after a run.
- Kneel on one of your knees. Plant the opposite leg’s foot in front of you.
- Lean forward. It’ll push your hips closer to the floor.
- Hold it for a minute.
- Switch knees and do the next leg.
Touch Those Toes!
Stretching is often overlooked as a necessary exercise. It’s also not taken as seriously as cardio or weightlifting, but it’s important for both.
A hamstring stretch and lunging stretches will stretch the legs. A frog stretch will alleviate back pain. Triceps and shoulder stretches will release tension in the upper half of the body.
Looking for a flexibility coach near you? Reach out to us if you have questions about stretching exercises for flexibility or other concerns. Or, schedule a stretch in Seattle or the Bellevue areas.