Regular stretching helps improve flexibility, increases range of motion and reduces the risk of injury caused by lesions of the connective tissue. Plus, stretching is even great for stress relief. So after your next workout, take a few minutes to rid the lactic acid and stretch.
Try these 16 static stretches that will keep your body healthy and performing strong.
Stretching Basics1 of 17
Frequency: Stretch daily, especially after a tough workout.
Length: Hold each stretch for a minimum of 15 to 20 seconds for 1 to 2 rounds. As you gain flexibility, you can hold each stretch longer for a deeper stretch. And remember to stretch both sides equally.
Should You Feel Pain: No, stretching should never be painful. If the stretch hurts then you have gone too far. Reduce the range and build up slowly. Ideally, stretch to the point where you can feel a light stretch that you can hold for 15 to 20 seconds without extreme pain.
Remember to Breathe: NEVER hold your breath. Breathing will help you relax and deepen the stretch.
Hamstring Stretch2 of 17
Sit on the ground and extend your right leg straight in front of you. Touch your left foot to your right knee. Bend forward and hold your toes with your right hand to stretch your hamstring.
If you can't touch your toes, then hold your shin. Each time you do this stretch, try to reach a little further. Eventually you will be able to reach your foot. Repeat on the opposite side.
Glutes Stretch3 of 17
Sit on the floor or a mat. Bend your left leg and keep your right foot flat on the floor. Cross your left leg over the right thigh. Hold this position. Pull both legs toward your torso for a deeper stretch. Repeat on the opposite side.
Quadriceps Stretch4 of 17
Hold onto a pole, door, wall or chair for balance, or practice looking at one spot on the floor. Using your left hand, grab your left foot and pull your heel in toward your buttocks. Keep your knees close together during this stretch. Repeat on the opposite side.
Groin Stretch5 of 17
Sit on the floor with the soles of your feet touching. While holding your toes, lean your upper body forward, bending from the hips.
Low-Back Stretch6 of 17
Lie on your back with your knees bent. Hug your shins and slowly pull your knees up to the chest until you feel a gentle stretch in your lower back.
Abdominal Stretch7 of 17
Lie on your stomach with hands underneath your shoulders. Gently push your upper body off the ground while keeping your pelvis on the ground. You should feel slight stretching in the front of your stomach.
Arm and Shoulder Stretch8 of 17
Gently stretch your right arm out and across your body. Using your left arm, tuck the elbow of your right arm in and pull towards your body. Repeat on the opposite side.
Chest and Front Shoulder Stretch9 of 17
Lay your hand flat along a door or wall at shoulder height with the right arm straight. Turn to your left side to feel the stretch. Make sure not to lose contact with the wall. Repeat on the opposite side.
Triceps Stretch10 of 17
With your arms overhead, use your left hand to pull your right elbow behind your head. You should feel the stretch in your right triceps. Repeat on the opposite side.
Wrist Stretch11 of 17
Extend both arms out in front of you. Take your left hand to bend your right wrist backwards as far as you can until you feel a stretch in your wrist and forearm. Repeat with the other hand.
Calf Stretch12 of 17
Put your right foot out straight. Slowly pull the toes backward till you feel a stretch in the calf muscles. If you cannot reach your toes, then use a towel to pull your foot back.
Side Stretch13 of 17
Stand with your feet hip-distance apart. Take one arm and reach it over your head and to the opposite side. Feel the stretch along the side of your body. Repeat on the opposite side.
Hip Flexor Stretch14 of 17
Step your right foot out and sink into a semi-lunge position with your hands on your hips. Make sure not to let your right knee hover past your right toe. Repeat on the opposite side.
Neck Stretch15 of 17
While standing, take your right arm and gently place it on the left side of your head. Pull slowly until you feel a stretch on the left side of your neck. Repeat on the opposite side.
Back Twist Stretch16 of 17
While seated, place your right leg over your left, with your right foot on the ground. Twist your body so that your left elbow makes contact with your right knee. Repeat on the opposite side.
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