Stretching is often forgotten or excluded from workout routines. However, stretching should be a fundamental element of your workout, especially if you are lifting weights or doing a HIIT workout. By adding the top stretching exercises mentioned below to your weekly routine, you can improve your flexibility and reduce the chance of injury.
The neck is commonly forgotten even when people remember to stretch, but should be a crucial part of your stretching routine. Stretching your neck can help to relieve tension all throughout your shoulders and back. To stretch your neck correctly, sit or stand tall then drop your left ear to your left shoulder. Hold this position for a minimum of 30 seconds. Then switch and repeat on the right side. For a deeper stretch gently press down on your head using the same arm.
Stretching your triceps will help increase your range of motion while helping to prevent injuries. You can stretch your triceps by standing with your feet shoulder width apart and use your right hand to touch the base of your neck. Then take your left arm, grip your right elbow and pull towards your left side. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds then repeat on the other side.
This stretch can help improve poor posture and reduce built up tension. To start, sit on the floor, with bent knees and feet flat against the ground. Then clasp your hands together behind your lower back. Proceed to straighten your arms while squeezing your shoulder blades together. Hold for 3 seconds, then release. Repeat 5 – 10 times for best results.
Stretching your pectoral muscles before or after lifting can increase the range of movement and help ease muscle pain. To start, lie face down with your arms stretched out to either side. Push up using your left hand, and use your left knee for balance as you roll towards the right side. Hold for 10 seconds then switch sides.
This will stretch your obliques, groin and hips. Simply kneel on the ground, then stretch your left leg out to the side. Try to ensure the stretched leg is in line with your body, not in front or behind. Extend your right arm over your head, and rest your left hand on your left thigh. Then gently bend your body and right arm towards your left leg, without bending forward or backwards. Hold for a minimum of 30 seconds then switch sides.
This is often referred to as the world's greatest stretch within the fitness community. It can help to open up your hips, relieve back pain and improve posture. Start by standing with your feet together, then take a large step with your left foot. Once in a staggered stance, bend your left knee into a lunge position. Put your right hand on the ground and lift your left hand up towards the sky while twisting your upper body. Your arms should create a straight line from floor to ceiling. Hold this position for a minimum of 30 seconds then switch sides and repeat.
This simple stretch targets your lower back, hips and hamstrings. Simply lie on your back, with both legs flat on the floor. Then bring your left knee into your chest and hold while keeping your right leg straight. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds then repeat with the right knee. You can also stretch your glutes by bringing both knees to your chest at the same time and holding for 30 seconds.
If you have issues with your hip flexors, this stretch is key. It targets both internal and external rotation at the same time without adding extra pressure to your hips. Sit with your right leg out in front of you, bent at 90 degrees with the sole of your foot to the left. Then stretch your left leg out to the left, bend at the knee so your foot is facing behind you. Flex both feet and then gently press your left hip towards the ground without lifting your right side. Hold this for 15 seconds, then switch sides. Repeat 2 – 5 times for best results.
This stretch can be done lying or standing, however standing while stretching can also improve your balance. So, stand with your feet together, within touching distance of a wall or chair if needed. Then lift your left foot towards your butt while keeping your knees together. Use your left hand to hold your foot as close to your butt as possible while standing straight. Hold for 30 seconds then switch sides.
There you have it, the top stretching exercises you can use to increase your flexibility. Of course, there are many more stretches around, but the routine above will help stretch your entire body in under 8 minutes. So, start incorporating stretches into your daily workout and see the change in your flexibility and posture.