Stretching after a workout is fundamental if you want to work on your flexibility and relax while your heart rate slows and your body cools down. Fitness experts say that stretching is often overlooked in exercise routines, but research shows that having a good stretch is just as important as strength training and cardio. It has been proven to relieve stiffness and tension in your muscles and ultimately increase your mobility.
These simple stretches make up what is known as ‘The World’s Greatest Stretch Exercise’ because they target all the major muscles of your body – your legs, hips, arms, back, shoulders, neck, and chest. Follow the steps below to incorporate this stretch routine into your workout plan. Your body will thank you later!
Calf Stretch Exercise
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and step your right leg forward, bending and leaning forwards from your hips. Keep your left leg straight and push the heel towards the ground. Hold for 10-15 seconds.
Repeat the calf stretch exercise with your opposite leg.
Standing upright with your feet hip-width apart, move your left foot forward and bend from your hips, pointing your toes upwards towards the ceiling. Keep your back flat as you bend forward and lower down to feel a stretch in the back of your outstretched leg. Rest your hands on your upper thighs while you stretch and hold for 10-15 seconds.
Then repeat with your opposite leg.
Quad Stretch Exercise
Standing upright, leaning against a wall or chair for support if required. With your feet apart at hip-width, use your left hand to reach back for your left foot, bending your knee straight at the floor as you do so. Squeeze your hips if you desire a deeper stretch down the front of the left thigh. Hold for 15-30 seconds, keeping your knees close together.
Then switch legs and repeat the stretch.
Standing with your shoulders and arms relaxed, reach your left arm across your chest and bring your right hand to your elbow. Stretch your left arm further to deepen the stretch, holding for 15-30 seconds.
Switch arms and repeat the shoulder stretch exercise.
Stand and bend your right elbow backward behind your head, bringing your left hand to the elbow to gently pull it further back. Relax your shoulders and reach your fingertips backwards down your spine to deepen the stretch of your triceps.
Hold here for 10-30 seconds and then switch to your left elbow and repeat.
Stand and clasp your hands together behind your back. Straighten your arms and exhale and look up as you lift your hands up towards the ceiling and your shoulders back. Lift as high as you comfortably can to feel the stretch in your shoulders and chest for 10-30 seconds.
Repeat the exercise.
Standing with your feet hip-width apart, clasp your hands above your head straight, with your palms together facing the ceiling. Stretch up and lean your arms to the right to feel a deep stretch down your left side.
Hold for 15-30 seconds and then repeat on the other side.
Neck Stretch Exercise
Relax your shoulders and move your right ear towards your right shoulder, using your left arm to guide yourself. Hold for 10-20 seconds and deepen the stretch if you comfortably can.
Repeat on your left side.
It’s worth noting that you should always stretch at your own pace and never overdo the routine to cause you pain. If you practice these stretches regularly, your body will naturally become more supple and the stretches more achievable.
If you’re incorporating stretching to relieve pain, a further option may be to look into osteopathy treatments that work with the musculoskeletal systems of your body.
Body Tonic Clinic has a wealth of information on its website should you wish to go down that route. Feel free to get in touch with them today to book a free clinic consultation, for which you’ll be assessed and receive a diagnosis on your condition, as well as a treatment plan if you choose to go ahead with the treatment.