Whether you’re sitting at a desk or constantly up on your feet, chances are at the end of the day your body is feeling stiff. While it’s important to stretch before a workout, anyone can benefit from stretching a couple of times a day. If your body goals for this season involve building strength and flexibility, your aim should be relieving tightness or soreness in your body. After all, having a greater range of motion while working out is essential, and it only takes a few minutes each day to start feeling a difference. Read on for our top moves for building flexibility, whether you prefer yoga or classic stretches.
This classic yoga pose is a calming hip opener. Simply lie on your back and extend your legs into the air above your hips. With your knees bent, flex your feet and grab onto the sides of each foot with your hands. Gently pull your feet toward the floor with each dropping to the outside of your rib cage. Relax your hips and release your tailbone into the floor. Since this is also a yoga position, remember to breathe deeply and slowly as you deepen into the stretch. This move will help open your hips and give them more mobility.
This stretch is exactly how it sounds. Start standing tall with your feet about hip width apart. With a slight bend in the knees, exhale and bend over at the hips. Lower your head toward the ground but keep your neck and shoulders relaxed. If accessible, wrap your arms around the backs of your legs and hold the stretch for at least 45 seconds. This move helps stretch the back of your body – neck, back, shoulders, glutes, calves and hamstrings.
After a long run or leg day, it’s important to stretch your legs. This quad stretch also doubles as a hip flexor stretch. Start by kneeling on the ground with your shins flat on the ground. Lunge forward with your right leg forward so that your knee is bent 90 degrees in front of you. With both hands on your knee and press your back hip forward. Lean into the stretch but keep your torso upright. Do a couple more reps then switch legs.
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This move can be done standing or sitting down. Extend your arms above your head. Bend your right elbow so that your right palm is touching your upper back. Using your left hand, grab just below your right elbow and gently pull your elbow back toward your head. Hold this stretch for 45 seconds before switching arms.
Front Torso Stretch
It’s important to remember to stretch out your ab muscles. You need to treat your core like any other muscle in your body. Lie on your stomach with your hands flat at your shoulders. Keep your legs and feet flat on the ground and use your hands to lift your torso off the ground. Keep your pelvis grounded and shoulders down. Draw your upper body away from the ground and reach out and up. Open your chest up by drawing your shoulders back. Try 5 reps for about 30-45 seconds each, releasing in between each rep to complete the stretch.