Many people don’t understand that their mobility and flexibility go away over time. If you’re not using your muscles, then you’re losing them. Furthermore, that can lead to many problems later on in life when you get older. However, knowing what exercises will keep your muscles limber can be challenging, especially if you don’t know which muscles, they’re taking care of. Stretches are essential for both pre- and post-workout so that you don’t experience spasms or sore muscles later on.
Well, wonder no more. These forty exercises will help you to keep every muscle in your body limber and flexible so that you’re less prone to muscles aches in the future. It’s also important to stay flexible because that puts less strain on your bones, weakening when you get older. So without further ado, here are the top stretching exercises you should add to your daily exercise routine to give them the “lubing up” they need.
40. Lying Pectoral Stretch
The lying pectoral stretch is great to use before and after you do pushups. Pushups can be a strenuous exercise on your shoulders and back, so you can help warm them up or cool them down so that they’re not in agonizing pain. First, lie on your stomach with your arms extended to the sides, and your body should make the shape of the letter T. Push off the ground with your left hand and bend your left knee to provide you with some balance as you roll onto your right side. Repeat on the other side. As you do this more and more, you’ll increase your mobility and be able to stretch your body further and further each time.
Your back is probably the most used part of your body throughout your day without realizing it. All of your muscles and the joints between your vertebrae are at work to keep you upright. So why not treat your back to a little TLC with spine twists, so it doesn’t have to work so hard in the future? Start off lying on your back with your legs straight. While keeping your shoulders flat on the ground, lift your knees and bend them at a 90-degree angle. Twist them to the right side of your body as far as you’re comfortable. Hold that for a few seconds, then switch to the other side. This stretch will limber up your back muscles and help them to relax.
Have you been sitting in a chair all day doing work? Maybe you need some relief from all of that tension. You are not alone! That is why this flexibility stretch is so popular. The standing lat stretch is a great stretching exercise that you can do anywhere with a wall or a table. Place your hands flat against the wall, shoulder-width apart, and keep your back flat. While keeping your arms straight, hinge yourself forward at the hips and allow your chin to drop to your chest. Lower yourself until you feel your upper and mid-back muscles stretching. Keep reading for more flexibility techniques and floor stretches.
Sitting or standing all day can put a lot of pressure on your back muscles. For just a few minutes, you can take some time away from work to help your back feel limber again so that you’re not going to bed with aching back muscles with this back stretch. Sit on the ground with your legs crossed and your back straight. Place your hands flat on the floor and gradually walk your hands forward until you feel some “mild discomfort.” Hold this position for a few seconds, and don’t bounce. Then walk your hands back up until you’re sitting upright.
Have you ever tried this pose before? The tree pose is an exercise straight out of yoga that will take a few tries to get right. The best thing is that once you learn, it’s easy to do, and you can increase the difficulty by raising your hands in the air. Stand with your feet together and lift your left leg to place it on your right thigh, just above your knee. Find your center of balance and hold your hands clasped together in front of your chest. Hold this pose for two minutes, then switch to the opposite side.
Here is another pose that delivers amazing stretching. This stretch is for you if you look for superior relief for your back muscles. The double-V pose takes care of your shoulder, neck, trapezius, the muscles on your scapulae, and the muscles along the sides of your back. Lie on your stomach with a pillow or cushion to support your head. Prop yourself up on your forearms, crossed over your sternum so that your fingers are pointing in opposite directions. Hold this for about eight breaths and release. Go as far as you’re comfortable with, but increase the stretch distance each time.
This kneeling hip and adductor stretch is excellent for working those tight hip muscles at the end of a long and hard day. Whether you’ve been sitting, standing, or walking for long periods, it will take a toll on your hips, and you’ll feel much better afterward. Start in a kneeling position on a cushioned surface with your right foot forward. Lean forward as far as you can until you feel your hip muscles stretch. Then move your right foot to the side, keeping your knee pointed in the same direction as your toes. Then lean towards your knee.
Nothing feels better than getting the tension out of your spine and buttocks. Sometimes they just need to be treated right, so why not try this stretch? You can do it for a few minutes out of the day, and your body will feel even more refreshed after doing so. Lie on your back and hug both of your knees to your chest as tight as possible. This stretch can be painful for those who aren’t very flexible, so only go as far as possible. Hold your knees for a few seconds, and slowly lower your legs back to the ground.
The cow face pose is a strange name for a stretch, but it’s guaranteed to leave your spine feeling much better and more flexible at the end of the day. Your hips will feel less tense, allowing you to bend, walk, and do all of the other things you enjoy doing. Lie on your back with your legs bent and feet on the floor. Cross your right leg over your right thigh and, if you’re able, grab your shins and pull them up towards your chest. Hold for at least a minute or two, and then repeat with your other leg on top. Keep reading for more flexibility techniques and floor stretches.
The overhead stretch is simple enough to do, and you’ve probably already done it a few times just getting out of bed. This version is a little different. It’s crucial that you incorporate this stretch into the rest of your day, especially before and after exercise, so that you’re not feeling too sore the next day. Start in the kneeling position with your back straight. Reach both arms over your head and lock your fingers together. Press your hands straight up towards the ceiling as if you’re trying to make yourself taller, and maintain it for a few seconds. Move the stretch to your right, hold, and then to your left.
Your shoulder joints go through a lot of work in a given day and are actually very prone to injury. Moreover, if your arm joints are sore, the pain will also travel to your back. If you take the time to warm them up before your exercise routine and cool them down afterward, you’re less likely to experience pain. Stand with your feet together and focus on your shoulders. Rotate your shoulders backward until your palm is facing forward. Reach as far back as possible. Circle your arms overhead until they are straight out in front of you. Do five more times and then reverse directions.
Have you ever heard of this flexibility stretch? The cross-body shoulder stretch is another excellent exercise that pulls all of the tension out of your shoulder muscles. You can do this stretch sitting down in your chair and help alleviate any pain you may have in your back. Stand or sit with a straight back. Grab your left arm with your right hand about your elbow and pull it across the front of your chest until you feel a stretch in your shoulder. Keep your left arm straight, about at shoulder height. Hold for about 30 seconds and then switch sides.
The seated pretzel stretch will work out your sore glutes and upper thighs, and it can also relieve any tension you may have in your back to move around more easily throughout the day. You’ll be surprised at how much better you’ll feel after doing this stretch. Sit on the floor with your legs crossed in front of you. Raise your right knee and place your right foot by your left knee. Place your left elbow on your right thigh and pull the thigh towards your torso. Put your right hand on the floor behind you and twist your torso towards it. Hold for a few seconds and then switch sides.
This revolved abdomen stretching pose will feel strange at first, and you may not be able to get it perfectly the first time, but the more you practice, the easier it will get for you. You’ll notice your increased range in motion over time, so stick with it. Lie on your back with your knees bent to your chest. Stretch your arms out to your sides, at shoulder level, and with your palms turned up. Lean your knees to the right. Keep most of your torso flat on the ground by twisting your torso in the opposite direction. Hold for a few seconds and then switch sides.
With all of the work that your neck does on a given day, it’s no wonder that you’re constantly experiencing pain. In fact, it’s one of the most common areas to experience pain for most people. With the seated neck release, your neck muscles will feel better. Sit on the ground with your legs crossed. Extend your right arm towards your right knee, place your left hand on your head and slowly tilt it to the left. Hold for about 30 seconds, slowly lift your head, and repeat on the other side.
A torso stretch works on your shoulders and all the muscles in your back. It’s a great way to take some of the tension and weight off of your vertebrae, allowing you to feel more flexible throughout the rest of your day. This stretch only takes a few minutes too. Stand tall with your back straight. Clasp your hands together and slowly raise them above your head towards the ceiling. Stretch as far as you can reach while inhaling, and hold the pose for about 30 seconds. As you lower your hands, exhale slowly.
Marching and toe taps will help maintain the health and flexibility of your hips and spine. It can strengthen the muscles necessary to stabilize your pelvis, improve your balance, and engage your abdominals for a stronger core. Lie on your back and lift your knees to a 90-degree angle. Keep your hands beside you for added balance. First, lower your right foot to the ground, keeping your knee bent, and gently tap the floor with your toe. Then raise it back to starting position. Alternate with the other foot. Do a few more times on each side, between seven and ten.
An easy way to work out your stiff hips is to do the butterfly stretch. It’s gentle, effective, and doesn’t strain your already-sore muscles. Don’t feel like you have to push yourself too far the first time; don’t force your knees to touch the ground if it hurts. Sit on the ground with a straight back. Bend your knees so that the soles of your feet are touching and hold onto your ankles. Press your knees to the floor as far as possible and keep it for a few minutes. Keep reading for more flexibility techniques and floor stretches.
The downward dog pose is a great way to open up the hips, stretch out your back, and work out the kinks in your shoulders. It does involve your entire body and some floor space that’s big enough for you to stretch in. Start on your hands and feet on the floor. Spread your fingers for extra balance. Lift your hips back and up until your body creates an upside-down V pose. Your arms and legs should be straight. Hold for about five seconds and then relax back to the ground again.
Your hips and muscles in your legs can get extremely tight throughout the day from repetitive motion. Your hamstrings can start to ache, making it very difficult to walk. Nevertheless, you can get them to loosen up with heels slides so that they’re not as tight anymore. Lie on your back with your hands on your hips. Slowly extend one leg straight out without your heel touching the floor. Imagine your hip bones being pulled together to tense up your abs. Bend your leg back in, and then repeat on the other side.
Wall angels are a great way to stretch your spine and upper back muscles, and it increases flexibility and helps alleviate sore and tight muscles in your neck as well. It’s a great warmup exercise if you’re training other parts of your back and neck. Stand with your back to the wall, and your feet are should-width apart. Walk your feet out a few steps and bend slightly to your knees. Raise your hands to your ears with your elbows bent and arms flat against the wall. Slide your arms up the wall until they’re above your head without losing contact. Lower your arms and repeat ten more times.
Have you ever heard of this fitness stretch? You can do shoulder rolls while sitting in your chair at home or the office. A few minutes of this stretch will help you improve your posture so that you’ll refrain from slouching at your desk. Sit with your back straight, and pull your shoulders back and down. Shrug your shoulders up towards your ears without hunching your back. Squeeze your shoulder blades together to stretch your arms. Pull your shoulders down and then roll them forward again. Imagine you’re drawing circles on the walls with your shoulders. Keep reading for more flexibility techniques and floor stretches.
You’re going to need a resistance band for this one, and it provides you with that bit of oomph you need to make your stretches work for you. The banded calf stretch should be done with caution so that you don’t accidentally snap yourself in the face with the band. Sit with your legs straight out in front of you. Loop the resistance band behind the ball of your right foot. Pull on the band as your toes flex back towards you. Press your heel away from you to increase the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds and then switch to the other leg.
The camel pose can open up the muscles in the groin, thighs, and your whole back, helping you release whatever tension is bound up in all of those muscles. It also opens up the muscles in the chest and shoulders, allowing you to breathe more easily and improve your posture. Kneel on the ground with your toes tucked underneath. Arch your back as you exhale slowly and then grab hold of your ankles. Try to arch as far back as you can reach and extend your neck to look at the wall behind you. Hold this pose for a few seconds. Inhale slowly as you straighten back up.
The bird dog pose is great for warming up your abs and stretching your lower back muscles. You’ll strengthen your core and improve your balance over time, allowing you to engage in other exercises you might not have thought possible before. Your glutes and hips will also benefit from this stretch. Get on all fours on the ground and tighten up your abs. Keeping your back straight, extend your right arm straight in front of you and your left leg straight behind you. Hold for a few seconds and return to starting position. Repeat with the opposite arm and leg. Remember to keep your back straight.
The pigeon pose is great for opening up your hips and increasing flexibility. Holding the pose for a few minutes can provide you with the peace of mind you’ve been looking for so that you can reflect inwardly on your thoughts. Start in a kneeling position and extend your right leg forward. Turn your ankle so that your leg is on its side. Bend your leg at a right angle for balance. Extend your left leg behind you and lean forward until your elbows are on the ground. Lean forward as far as you can, hold for a few seconds, and then switch legs.
You can complete this deep squat while holding onto a chair, your counter in the kitchen, or just on your own if you want the stretch to be more difficult. It will stretch out your back and release tension from your hips and glutes. Place your feet flat on the ground, wider than your hips. Drops your hips as low as you can comfortably go. Try to keep your feet as flat on the ground as possible. Hold for a count of twenty and return to a standing position. Repeat about seven or eight more times.
Yoga is a great way to get your muscles and joints moving again while minimizing the pain you might be experiencing. This stretch exercise is perfect for your hips and straightening out your back. Keep in mind that this pose requires some flexibility, so don’t feel bad if you can’t get this pose on your first try. Stand with your feet wide apart and place your hands on your hips. Inhale and bend forward at the waist; place your hands flat on the ground if you can reach. If your hamstrings feel right, feel free to bend your knees slightly.
Hamstrings are the vital part of your legs that help you move your ankle around when walking. However, if they’re tight and sore, it can be challenging to move around. This modified hamstring stretch can help them to limber so that you’re not in so much pain the next day. Stand with your back straight and your legs a hip-width apart. Bend the right knee slightly and extend your left leg in front of you a few inches. Resting your weight on your left heel, hinge forward, and you should feel the straight along the back of your leg.
The tricep stretch is suitable for your triceps and your neck, shoulders, and back. This upper body stretch is excellent as part of a warmup routine. However, you can also do it if you’re sitting in a chair too long and need to get your body moving. You can do this stretch while kneeling, sitting, or standing. Bend your right elbow and reach your right hand behind you so that you’re touching the middle of your back. Grab your right elbow and gently pull it towards your head with your left hand. Hold it for a few seconds, and then switch arms. Keep reading for more flexibility techniques and floor stretches.
The supine pelvic floor stretch may look a little silly, but it will work wonders for your back and your tailbone. It also exercises your pelvic floor muscles, which support the bowel and bladder. This stretch is particularly important to prevent future conditions like incontinence. Lie on your back with your knees bent at a right angle. Slowly lift your legs and grab the balls of your feet with your hands. Pull your knees towards your armpits and hold for a few seconds, focusing on breathing. Then slowly return to the starting position. Repeat a few more times.
This hip stretch will help your hips feel a lot better after going through a lot. Providing them with some TLC with a few stretches each day will allow them to move more fluidly and are less prone to injury. Lie on your back with your knees bent and place your right foot on your left knee. Lift your bottom leg and hold its thigh with your hands, pulling it towards your chest. Hold for 30 seconds. Lower your legs back to the ground, switch legs, and repeat.
Back muscles can feel out of whack from doing too much strenuous exercise to sleeping in the wrong position. Provide it with a bit more flexibility by trying this lunge with spinal twist stretch to help the muscles relax and become more limber. Stand with your feet together, then take a big step forward with your left foot into a lunge. Place your right hand on the floor for balance, and twist your upper body to extend your left arm up to the ceiling. Hold for about a minute or two, then repeat on the other side.
The windmill stretch is good for opening up your chest muscles as well as working out any kinks you may have in your back. It’s easy to do so that even beginners can try it out when they start their stretching regimen. Lie on your right side with your knees together and bent at 90 degrees. Your arms should be resting on top of one another on the ground straight out in front of you. Slowly twist your body to the left as you lift your left arm while keeping it straight. Place it on the ground on your left side until you form a “T” with your body while still keeping your knees together on the floor. Do at least five, then switch sides.
Lunges are good at working out your thighs and glutes, but they can also stretch out your hips. You can start with small baby steps and then increase the difficulty by extending the range of your lunges. Just be sure not to bend too far, or you could injure your knee muscles. Stand with your hands on your hips and feet together. Step forward with your right foot and lower your hips until your right knee is at a 90-degree angle. Your left leg should be straight. Hold it for about 30 seconds, and then switch legs. Keep reading for more flexibility techniques and floor stretches.
Need to stretch both your shoulders and your hamstrings at the same time? The tip-over tuck hamstring stretch can take care of both of them for you in one (not-so-easy) exercise. This exercise is another one that only takes a few minutes out of your busy schedule, and it will leave you feeling a little more energized. Stand with your feet apart, no wider than your hips. Interlace your fingers behind your back. Keep your back straight, bend forward at the hips, and bring your arms back above the level of your head. Hold for about 30 seconds, and then slowly roll yourself back up to standing.
You’ll require a bit of room for the side lunge and knee-up twist and stretching beforehand. It gets your knees, hips, and back muscles moving, giving you a full range of flexibility and stretching that you can’t get with many other stretches. Stand with your feet together and fold your hands in front of your chest. Extend your right foot to the side and sit back, bending your left knee into a side lunge. In one motion, raise your right knee while you stand, twisting to the side until your left elbow touches your right knee. Return to the start and then repeat on the other side.
The 90/90 stretch is another form of the pigeon pose and helps your hip flexors to stay engaged and ready for any work you put them through. You’re hitting both movement regions of the hips simultaneously, making it an excellent exercise for increased flexibility as well. Sit on the ground with your right leg bent at 90 degrees in front of you and your left leg bent 90 degrees behind you. Allow your legs to rest flat on the floor. Try to keep both of your butt cheeks on the floor to add extra tension to the stretch. Hold for a minute or two, and then switch sides.
The child pose is in every yoga class, and that’s because it’s one of the easiest yoga stretches to do. Though simple, it elongates your back to relieve all the tensions and aches stored up in it after a long day of hard work. Kneel and sit back on your heels; your legs should be together. Fold your upper body forward until your chest is on your knees. Extend your hands onto the floor in front of you, palms down. Hold this pose for a few seconds while you focus on your breathing.
A scapular floss doesn’t involve any kind of dental hygiene at all. However, it does involve getting your scapulae (also known as your shoulder blades) to become more flexible. However, if you have recently suffered from a shoulder injury, avoid this stretch. Why? Because the scapular floss puts a lot of strain on your shoulders. Get into the plank position with your hands under your shoulders. Press your hips to the ground and arch your back so that your pelvis and legs are against the floor. Draw clockwise circles with your shoulders a few times, then reverse the direction. Do five repetitions in each direction.