Did you know that taking just 10-15 minutes to stretch out your body properly has innumerable benefits? Some people tend to skip the stretching part before working out, but little did they know stretching allows your body to get stronger and you’ll feel healthier and fitter each day as a result.
Aforementioned above, stretching has countless benefits and that includes preventing injuries from working out. In this article, our fitness experts have revealed their favourite stretches and positions for taking care of muscles.
Stretching is really important because it gets your body flowing and prepares it for the work it’s about to do. It also increases your flexibility and your range of motion.
That means your joints and muscles are able to move more fluidly. Not only is this vital before working out or exercising, but it also helps to give your body a shake-up when you get out of bed in the morning.
Or even if you’ve been sat for a long period of time. But before heading to the gym or your workout spot at home and trying these stretches out, prepare your best jogger pants, athletic joggers, jogger sweatpants or flee joggers for a more convenient workout.
Stretching: 7 Essential Warm-Up Exercises
1. Calf Stretch
To do this warm-up, you need to stretch your calves out by facing a wall and propping your heel from your right leg on the ground with your toe on the wall. Push your body toward the wall to feel the stretch in your calf.
Hold on for ten seconds and then switch legs. You can follow the calf stretch tutorial below courtesy of Science Shoe on YouTube.
2. Sitting Hamstring Stretch
Stretch your hamstrings and lower back by sitting on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you, and then bend one leg in at the knee. Slowly bend forward from the hips towards the foot of your straight leg until you feel a slight stretch.
Hold for around 30 seconds, and then repeat on the other side. If you’re flexible, you may even be able to do this one with both legs straight.
Video courtesy of mahalodotcom on YouTube.
3. Lunge with Side Stretch
This is a great one for stretching your hip flexors and obliques. Assume a lunge position with your forward need bent over your foot and your back leg extended behind you.
Bring your opposite arm over your head and lean into a stretch, and then drop your knee to the ground for a deeper stretch.
Repeat on the opposite side to complete. You can follow the side lunge stretch guideline video below courtesy of Medibank on YouTube.
4. Sumo Squat Twist
This pose is great for wringing out the tension in your spine, specifically your upper-to mid-back, as well as your shoulders. Stand with your feet wide, with your toes pointed outward about 45 degrees.
Place your hands just above your knees, and lean forward as you bend your knees to form right angles, or as close to it as possible. Bring one shoulder towards the floor as you look over the opposite shoulder, but make sure to keep your hips aligned and arms as straight as possible as you twist further on each exhale.
Hold for eight seconds, and then switch sides. A sumo squat twist YouTube workout by Laurie A. Watkins is provided down below.
Start in a downward facing dog position with both your feet and hands on the ground. Step your left foot forward a few inches back from your hands, keeping your hips square, legs straight and feet firmly on the floor.
Raise your torso and stretch arms overhead, then fall forward so that your hands are back on the floor. Hold for six to eight breaths before repeating on the other side.
By straightening your back leg and dropping your torso, you’ll decompress your spine, opening all the smaller muscles in your back. Here’s a YouTube pyramid stretch exercises courtesy of HomeWODs on YouTube.
6. Child’s Pose
This stretch is one of the most calming postures and works well for recovery too. Get on all fours, and then from your hands and knees, push your hips back until your butt rests on your heels.
Note that your knees should be slightly wider than your hips. Keep your arms straight out in front of you and look at the floor to stretch the lower back, lats and shoulders.
Do the lower back a.k.a the child’s pose stretch with The Prehab Guys!
7. Twisted Arm Stretch
Bring your hands out in front and cross your arms, one over the other. Twist your hands so that the palms face into each other, trying to create contact with your fingers.
Hold for four counts and the unwind your arms and repeat on the other side. This will help stretch your lats, shoulders and triceps.
Here’s a quick YouTube tutorial from Clockwork via YouTube.
These stretches will help to wake up your muscles and relieve tensions throughout the body to make you feel energised and ready to take on the day or workout ahead.