Exercises Ideas,  Health and Fitness,  Weight loss

The Art of Stretching: Lower Your Risk of Pain and Injury with These 30 Stretching Exercises

It is not very important if you like to exercise daily or you just want to sit most of the time. In any case, stretching is very important. It sends blood flow to the muscles and it helps the joints to move. Moreover, it improves the athletic performance and posture while it lowers the risk of injury and pain.

So, when you stretch, are you aware which muscles you are stretching? How do you know you are doing it correctly?

This brings us to the reason for writing today’s article. We will show you the best stretches, which need to be felt in the belly of the muscles. If you feel pressure on the joints, it means you are pushing too much. Try to focus on the breathing and move naturally when you stretch.

Do not be preoccupied with how long you are doing it. Just focus on feeling the muscles relax and going back to the natural, resting lengths, which take 5 to 30 seconds for a muscle.

Vicky Timon, an exercise expert and James Kilgallon, CSCS, creator of Mazlo’s Body Maintenance Program, have created these amazing stretching images and explanations which we simply call “The Art of Stretching”. Let’s check them out!

The Best Stretching Exercises

1. Camel Pose

Muscles Highlighted: Rectus Abdominus and External Obliques

This one is for people that are already flexible. Just sit on your feels and place the hands behind. Then, push the hips up and forward. Make sure you do not put too much pressure on the lumbar spine.

2. Wide Forward Fold

Muscles highlighted: Adductors

This one will help with opening the hips and stretching the hamstring and adductors. Just start with the knees bent and spine straight. Try to straighten the legs slowly and round out the back and reach the feet. Then, lightly pull on the bottom of the balls of your feet to release the calf muscles.

3. Frog Pose

Muscles Highlighted: Adductors

Just rest on your hands and knees. Then, bring the knees slowly wider until you feel the stretch in the groin muscles.

4. Wide Side Lunge Pose

Muscles Highlighted: Adductors

Place your feet forward in a wide stance with the legs straight. Then, walk the hands slowly to the right foot while you are bending the right knee and rotating the left toes up the ceiling. At the same time, try to keep the right foot flat on the ground.

5. Butterfly Stretch

Muscles Highlighted: Adductors

Sit and bring the soles of the feet together. Then, put some pressure on the knees with the hands. Get your feet closer to the body so that you can stretch the groin muscles.

6. Forearm Extensor Stretch

Muscles Highlighted: Forearm Extensor

Pack the shoulder down and rotate it so that you can stretch the forearm muscle. Then, apply some pressure to the opposing hand to start the stretch.

7. Lateral Side Flexion of the Neck

Muscles Highlighted: Sternocleidomastoid “SCM”

Keep your neck as long as you can while you are dropping the ear to the shoulder slowly. Just make sure you are not collapsing your cervical spine.

8. Neck Rotation Stretch

Muscles Highlighted: Sternocleidomastoid “SCM”

Rotate your neck slowly while you are keeping your chin a bit elevated.

9. Neck Extension Stretch

Muscles Highlighted: Sternocleidomastoid “SCM”

Place your hands on the hips and keep the spine long while you start to tilt the head back. Make sure you do not collapse your cervical spine.

10. Lateral Side Flexion of the Neck with Hand Assistance

Muscles Highlighted: Sternocleidomastoid “SCM” and Upper Trapezius

Keep your neck long and start to drop your ear to your shoulder. Be careful not to collapse your cervical spine.

11. Half Kneeling Quad/ Hip Flexor Stretch

Muscles Highlighted: Psoas and Quadracep

Start in a half-kneeling position. Then bring your right hip forward. Make sure you grab the back foot and squeeze the back glute.

12. Forearm Extensor Stretch

Muscles Highlighted: Forearm Extensor

Pack your shoulder down and back. Then, rotate the shoulder externally to stretch the forearm muscle. Apply some pressure to the opposing hand to start the stretch.

13. Lateral Shoulder Stretch

Muscles Highlighted: Side Deltoid

Place the arm across the body. Then, apply some pressure to the arm to increase the stretch to your shoulder.

14. Standing Assisted Neck Flexion Stretch

Muscles Highlighted: Trapezius Muscle

Stand with your feet together while you are keeping the spine long. Then, sit the hips back slowly and round the upper back. Make sure you tuck your chin into your chest simultaneously.

15. Lat Stretch with Spinal Traction

Muscles Highlighted: Latissimus Dorsi

Grab the bar firmly and lift the feet slowly off the ground. You need to feel a stretch in the lats and chest.

16. Lat Stretch at the Wall

Muscles Highlighted: Latissimus Dorsi

Place your hands on the corner of a wall. Make sure you keep your spine long and you push the hips out to the side.

17. Child’s Pose

Muscles Highlighted: Latissimus Dorsi

Begin on your hands and knees. Bring your hips slowly back until your forehead is on the floor. Then, arch your upper back and rotate your shoulders externally to stretch your chest muscles and lats.

18. Standing Calf Stretch

Muscles Highlighted: Soleus and Gastrocnemius

You can try doing this on the edge of a stair step or a rock. Just rotate your ankles, slowly, internally and externally to stretch the calf muscles.

19. Front Split

Muscles Highlighted: Psoas and Hamstring

Start this one in a kneeling lunge position.

20. Seated Forward Fold/ Seated Toe Touch

Muscles Highlighted: Hamstrings and Calfs

Sit and bend the knees if you have to. As you become more flexible, your legs will start to strengthen naturally.

21. Single Leg Forward Bend

Muscles Highlighted: Hamstrings

Being with one foot in front of the other. Then, bring your hands to your hips and bend from the hips while you keep the back straight.

22. Deep Squat

Muscles Highlighted: Glutes

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Then, lower yourself bit by bit in a deep squat. Once you are in this position, bring your arms inside the legs and apply a bit of pressure inside the knees.

23. Seated Half King Pigeon Pose

Muscles Highlighted: Glutes

Sit and start to pull your legs slowly to the chest. Then, rotate your hip externally while you keep your spine straight.

24. Standing Calf Stretch at the Wall

Muscles Highlighted: Soleus and Gastrocnemius

Start in a lunge position with the back foot a bit turned out. Then, bring your back heel slowly to the ground.

25. Lateral Flexion at the Wall

Muscles Highlighted: External Obliques

Push your hips out the side while you keep your spine long.

26. Supine Twist

Muscles Highlighted: Glutes and External Obliques

Lay flat on your back. Then, bring one leg across the body and slowly rotate your gaze and upper body in the opposite direction.

27. Lateral Flexion with a Dowel

Muscles Highlighted: External Obliques and Latissimus Dorsi

Just keep your spine long and then push your hips a bit to the side. Make sure you keep your shoulders externally rotated.

28. Triangle Pose

Muscles Highlighted: External Obliques

Start with a wide stance with the foot stragith ahead and the back one at 90 degrees. Then, sit back into the front hip and place the hand on your front leg. Make sure you keep your back straight. Keep your gaze on the hand that is in the air while you are rotating away from your front leg.

29. Chest Stretch at the Wall

Muscles Highlighted: Pectorals

Face the wall with the thumbs up. Then, rotate away from the wall a bit so that you can stretch the chest muscle.

30. Assisted Chest Stretch

Muscles Highlighted: Chest and Latissimus Dorsi

Start lying on the floor with the palms facing up. While your partner sits in a deep squat, you will feel a stretch in the lat and chest.

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