Best stretching exercises
Feeling tightness in your body? Facing difficulty in doing simple daily activities? Have limited shoulder mobility and tight hamstrings? Then you have come to the right place.
Your body can become extremely inflexible due to various factors like poor posture, sedentary lifestyle, etc. Here are the “7 BEST STRETCHING EXERCISES” which you can do to make yourself amazingly flexible. Check this Top 5 Amazing Benefits of Stretching if you want to know in detail about stretching.
6 Best Stretching Exercises To Increase Flexibility
1) Shoulder Dislocate Exercise
This exercise is the “KING OF ALL SHOULDER MOBILITY EXERCISES”, that is why it is the most effective and therefore utmost care has to be taken while performing this, otherwise it can lead to injury. Not to worry! All the necessary details will be provided here so that you can perform it safely and progress easily. Following are the steps involved:
STEP-1:- Stand straight and take a stick/rod/bar and grab it with both of your hands and place your hands extremely wide-apart initially (Very wider than your shoulder-width distance).
STEP-2:- Keep your elbows completely locked out/straight and squeeze your glutes (Posterior Pelvic Tilt) which will automatically bring your spine in a straight and neutral position.
STEP-3:- Now slowly start lifting your hands overhead and once your hands reach the overhead position, elevate your scapula/shoulder, allowing the hands to totally go behind your body slowly and come back, repeating the same line of motion.
Points to Remember
1. Always keep the elbows straight and in a locked position throughout the movement.
2. Do not arch the lower back or round your upper back. Always keep the body in a straight line(Posterior Pelvic Tilt).
3. Elevate your shoulders when you reach an overhead position.
4. Always start with a very wide grip on the rod when you are trying to learn the movement and gradually decrease the space between your hands. If you still feel uncomfortable on the wide grip, use a light weight resistance band for the time being.
5. You should never feel any sort of pain in your shoulders while doing this movement, if you are feeling so, then use a wider grip.
2) Back Bridge
This is also an extremely beneficial exercise when it comes to stretching your anterior chain (Chest, biceps, abs, etc.) while giving additional strength benefits. Following are the steps:
STEP-1:- Lay yourself on the ground and bend your knees so that your feet are near your hips.
STEP-2:- Place your hands overhead, above your shoulders and exert force so that your body is lifted upwards.
STEP-3:- Once you reach as high as possible, slowly come back down.
3) Butchers Block
This is one of the excellent stretching exercises which you can do to stretch your thoracic spine, triceps, chest and lats, opens up your entire upper body and works greatly to improve your posture as well. All you have to do is:
STEP-1:- Get on your knees and place your elbows on a higher surface like a box, sofa, etc., whose height touches your lower chest line.
STEP-2:- Now, drive down your chest as low as possible while maintaining a neutral spine and fully bending your arms to maximally stretch your triceps.
STEP-3:- You can either hold that stretch or perform dynamic reps.
[NOTE- You can perform this stretch with feet on the ground and keeping your body in a plank position to increase the difficulty and the stretch. Always ensure to keep a posterior pelvic tilt (squeeze your glutes and engage the abs) to this correctly.]
4) Seated Spinal Twist
This is the easiest yet the most effective passive form of stretching and one of the best stretching exercises because it is stretching the often overlooked muscles and joints of the body. Following are the steps to execute this stretch properly:
STEP-1:- Sit on the ground and keep both your legs straight and in front of your body.
STEP-2:- Now bend either of the legs (For e.g., right) and place the foot of that leg on the other side of the leg (On the left side).
STEP-3:- Place the arm of one side (In this case right) on the top of your knee and twist your body as sidewards as possible. Repeat the same thing on the other side.
5) Good Mornings
After shoulders, the most tightness is found in the hamstrings. Due to limited hamstring flexibility, many of the daily functions of the general lifestyle also suffer. To stretch the hamstrings properly, Good Mornings is one of the best stretching exercises to do. How?
STEP-1:- Stand straight or sit on the ground with feet together.
STEP-2:- Start bending your body forward while keeping the spine as neutral and chest as open as possible.
STEP-3:- Go as low as possible, hold it for a second or two and come back up, nice and slow.
6) Pancake Stretch
This stretch is extremely great to open up the hamstrings, adductors and even strengthens the lower back. All you have to do is:
STEP-1:- Sit on the ground and spread your legs as wide apart as possible.
STEP-2:- Now start bending forward while keeping your chest as open as possible and try to maintain a neutral spine.
STEP-3:- Once you reach the lowest position possible, come back up to the initial position.
7) Leg Lift
This is a kind of active mobility work which increases both strength and flexibility of the often forgotten muscles, hip flexors and legs (Rectus femoris). This is one of the most difficult and one of the best stretching exercises. You can train through these simple steps:
STEP-1:- Sit on the floor ground and keep your legs straight together in front of you and your spine is neutral or a bit rounded.
STEP-2:- Place the hands just beside your knees with straight elbows and keep your toes pointed.
STEP-3:- Lift your legs by generating force, pushing the hands on the ground and slowly bringing the legs down.
Points to Remember
1. Do not move your body backwards throughout the exercise.
2. Do not lift your hands off the ground throughout the exercise.
3. You will surely experience a lot of leg cramps while doing this. Do not worry, just stop for a little time whenever you get the cramp and start again.
Full Body Stretching Routine
The routine will be very simple and short, it will hardly take 15 minutes while covering all the above mentioned stretches. You can structure the routine like this:-
1) Shoulder Dislocate–3 sets of 8-15 reps
2) Back Bridge–3 sets of 6-15 reps
3) Butchers Block–3 sets of 60 seconds hold
4) Seated Spinal Twist–2 times both sides with 10 seconds of hold each.
5) Good Mornings–3 sets of 8-15 reps
6) Pancake Stretch–3 sets of 6-15 reps with 5 seconds hold on each rep.
7) Leg Lifts–3 sets of 6-15 reps
You can do these best stretches for the body 2-3 times a week or even regularly. Take a rest of 30 seconds to 1 minute in between sets and a gap of 1 minute when you shift from one exercise to another.
Stretching on a daily basis is extremely beneficial (Top 5 Amazing Benefits of Stretching) and it opens up the entire body, making it more agile and flexible. Just spending 10-15 minutes on a regular basis on the above mentioned one of the best stretching exercises will definitely do wonders.
A normal individual should have a decent amount of flexibility to hail himself healthy and to maintain longevity in life and training.