ULTIMATE GUIDE TO STRETCHING
This is Part of Our Larger Series on Fitness where we cover the Big Three. Cardio, Strength Training, and Stretching. Be sure to check out our other articles so you are using the best techniques and tips for your daily workouts.
So why is Stretching important? Simply, because the actual stretching of your muscles and joints…
- Increases Flexibility
- Your Range of Motion
- Prevents Injury
This is essential for your daily movements as you live your lives, and as you age.
Furthermore, this is often the most neglected part of a Fitness Regime. So many people rush to get a workout in and forget that stretching is a vital part of the Triad of Exercise. Without stretching you are risking injury and if you are injured then your stuck on the couch lol, and there is no fitness routine.
These are only a few of the numerous benefits that daily stretching can provide you for a more vital and healthier you!
Again, like most things on the internet you will find opinions on both sides of how to stretch, when to stretch, and so on. However, we are right so listen to us lol.
Some will say bouncing when stretching will not tear a muscle or lead to injury, but we have seen different, especially if the body part is not warmed up. We suggest to keep a static stretch for at least 15-30 seconds per body part.
In addition, we suggest to do this on each body part for 2-4 repetitions, or at least more than once. Most of us have seen the person who does a quick two second hamstring stretch bent over with hands to the floor, then jumps into a workout. This stretching really accomplishes nothing and as you age you are only increasing your risk of injury.
Sustaining the Stretch for 15-30 seconds will release the muscle, and in many cases you will feel it actually release or lengthen. What this does is increase blood flow into the muscle fibers and will decrease the likelihood of an injury when exercising.
Overall, stretching should be at least a good 5-10 minutes pre and post workout. It should not be painful, but you should feel tension. You might actually feel a little winded after a good stretch routine and relaxed. However, wake up! You still have to workout.
10 FLOOR STRETCHES
- Lie on the floor with legs straight and reach for your toes or ankles. Great for the hamstrings, lower back, and shoulders.
- Stay on the floor and bring one leg/foot into your other inner thigh and reach for your toes with the same arm that is bent. Great for the lower back, hamstrings, and side abs; then reverse legs.
- With your Back on the floor bring one leg at a time to your chest for your buttocks and lower back.
- Lay completely flat and spread out legs and arms, and cross one leg over your body so it is parallel to your outstretched arm, then reverse, great for back and side buttocks.
- Flip over and lay flat on your stomach, now pull up like doing a push up with your arms while legs remain flat, this stretches your core/abdominal muscles. A more intense way, like in yoga, you can raise your legs off the floor slightly.
- Sit up with your legs bent inward and the soles of your feet together and bend down grasping your toes and bring towards your chin. Groin/Back.
- More advanced stretch is to place feet and hands on floor like a grab walk and lift your core to the sky for your front shoulders/arms.
- With back on the floor and legs bent at about a 60 degree angle so your knees are the high point, cross one leg at the ankle and place on top of the opposite leg right above the knee, now bring the uncrossed leg towards your chest, great for groin and back. Reverse and repeat.
- Face the floor and bring knees to the chest like a downward fetal position and straighten your arms.
- Lay flat on back and bring one arm across your chest and hold at the elbow for your shoulders, reverse and repeat.
10 STANDING STRETCHES
- Hold onto a railing or wall and bend one leg back to your butt and grab at the ankle for your thighs. Reverse and Repeat.
- Feet together bend down and try to touch the floor or grab around your ankels or calves. The more you do it the further you will be able to reach; great for the hamstrings.
- Spread legs apart to form and upside down Y, then reach for and grab your ankle on one side then the other, good for hamstrings, groin, and lower back.
- If you have a small inclined surface or step, place the balls of your feet on it and then lean forward to stretch the calf muscles. Similarly, you can lean against a wall and keep feet flat against the floor. Great for calves, Achilles tendons.
- Cross one straightened arm across your upper chest, parallel to the floor, then grab that elbow with the other hand and pull towards your body. Great for the Deltoid Muscles/Shoulders.
- Grasp your hands behind your lower back like your getting arrested lol, and stretch. Great for the front of your shoulders, chest, and posture.
- Place one foot a few feet in front of the other and make a lunge motion so one knee is hitting the floor, and hold, then do the opposite. Great for thigh, hamstring, and groin.
- Standing straight, touch the sky with one hand while grabbing that wrist with your other hand, and bend to each side. Great for sides of the back muscles, arms, and obliques.
- Raise your right arm to the sky and bend at elbow so that palm of your hand is at the back of your head, then grab the elbow with your other hand and stretch towards the left. Reverse/Repeat. Your bicep should be close to your ear. Great for the triceps and sides of back.
- Place hands shoulder width apart, with extended arms in front of you and grab onto a counter top or railing then bend at the waist so your head is underneath your arms facing the floor. Great for the arms and chest.
Overall, Stretching is an often the most neglected part of a Fitness Regime. Nevertheless, it is one of the most important because if you tear or pull a muscle, then your routine stops altogether.
Moreover, stretching has numerous benefits, from a stress reducer to gaining more flexibility. So let’s try to make this a staple each time we go to exercise. 5-10 minutes before your workout and 5-10 minutes after.
Of course, if you are sore try some of our CBD ingestibles or topicals for recovery. NOW GET TO IT SON!