Stretching is not given as much credit as it deserves, after all, it is just as important as exercise is for your body—and your mind. Stretching plays a vital role in the strength, flexibility and health of each of your muscles. Take care of your body with these five stretches that are geared toward improving your overall health and well being.
If you are someone who has tight hips, quads, or lack flexibility in your back, this is one you’re going to want to try. Start in a full lunge position with your hands supported on a box or bench. Once in the lunge position, raise the hand opposite the extended leg and make a controlled articular rotation in the shape of a circle. Step back and repeat with the other side. If this is too hard, you can decrease the difficulty by not doing a full lunge, or you can heighten the support box. Five on each side is a good start for your first set.
Praying always feels good, and this is a way to incorporate the motion of praying with exercise. This stretch really opens you up, and all you need is a foam roller and a clear mind. To do the prayer stretch, first lie down on the foam roller long ways and ensure your neck is supported. Then put your hands together, reach above your head and make a snow angel motion until you return to the starting position. After ten reps, your shoulders and chest should feel the benefit.
The Frog Stretch
The frog stretch is one for the books. It helps make squatting easier, and sitting more comfortable position. To get into the frog stretch, first kneel on the ground supporting yourself with your arms, then spread your knees as wide as possible. Align your knees with your ankles and point your feet away from your body keeping them flush on the ground. Finally, while keeping your legs stationary, move your body backwards until you feel a deep stretch. Hold for two seconds and rock forward. For full effect, perform 10 reps.
Figure 4 Stretch
Now let’s attack those glutes, specifically with the figure 4 stretch (not to be confused with the fantastic 4 stretch, which is just as good). Start by lying on your back with both knees bent. Place your right ankle on top of your left knee. Reach forward, grab your right leg under the thigh pulling towards you as needed to acquire a deeper stretch. Hold for 20-30 seconds and then switch sides.
The Lovable Lat Stretch
If you’ve got tight shoulders, then you’re going to want to try this. While standing, grab ahold of the side of the rack or machine. Then sit back into your hips while holding on with one arm. Take five big breaths. The kind of breath that would blow down a house made of bricks! I call this hard breathing and it will help you feel a deeper stretch.
For more guidance on how to stretch properly, please contact your local Foothills Acceleration and Sports Training facility today.