Besides all the exercises that we do in our life, either while visiting the gym or performing the same at home, should be incorporated with pre-workout stretching. Stretching does great to offer flexibility and tuning our muscles for the required exercise that we will be going to perform. With the help of this article, we will try to figure out some of the best stretching exercises that you can incorporate into your workout regime.
Flexibility plays a more important role in our daily workout well-being. Having good flexibility helps to achieve better results in your training, increases mobility and muscle coordination, reduces muscle pain, and prevents injuries. Good flexibility also improves blood circulation and it may play an important role in preventing some serious illnesses, like arthritis, diabetes, and kidney problems.
When Should You Stretch
Typically stretching should be done before a workout. Dynamic stretching, which involves movement, prepares your body for a workout. These stretches before a workout include movement-oriented moves like cat-cow, down dog to runner’s lunge, or thread the needle. On the other hand, static stretching helps your body calm down after a workout, which helps jumpstart the recovery process. Ending your workout with static stretches can help your mind relax and signal an endpoint to your workout.
Benefits of Stretching Exercises
Flexibility is not just for gymnasts, but rather for everyone. Along with the better range of motion, it decreases risks of injuries, increases blood supply and nutrients to joints, reduces muscular tension and so on. It is a crucial part of a regular workout regimen because stretching after a workout routine relaxes tightened muscles. You can improve the flexibility of specific muscles as well as the entire body with some of the exercises that we will be enlisting below.
- Improves Flexibility – Stretching can help increase your range of motion both temporarily and in the long term. The temporary gains may be the result of your nervous system becoming more tolerant to a stretch position. These gains often disappear within a day or even a few hours. To actually lengthen the muscle and thus improve your range of motion long-term, you need to stretch diligently about five to six days a week.
- Improves your Posture – Muscle imbalances are common and can lead to poor posture. Studies have found that a combination of strengthening and stretching specific muscle groups can reduce musculoskeletal pain and encourage proper alignment. That, in turn, may help improve your posture.
- Prevents Back Pain – Tight muscles can lead to a decrease in your range of motion. When this happens, you increase the likelihood of straining the muscles in your back. Stretching can help heal an existing back injury by stretching the muscles. A regular stretching routine can also help prevent future back pain by strengthening your back muscles and reducing your risk for muscle strain.
- Prepares You for Workout – Experts typically recommend dynamic stretches before a workout. That’s because pre-workout dynamic stretches are certainly a way of moving slowly before you move fast. By doing dynamic stretches, you are preparing your body to work efficiently in order to both produce and absorb high forces during exercise.
- Prevents Injury – Warming up before a workout can help reduce your risk of injury, and dynamic stretching is one component of a good warm-up. Dynamic stretching helps warm up your muscles, joints, and tendons, and temporarily increases your range of motion. This, in turn, can help you perform the moves in your workout with the ideal body positioning.
Top 10 Stretching Exercises Before Every Workout
1.) Side Lunge Stretch – Side Lunge Stretch is one of the best stretching exercises that you can perform. Keep your upper body straight and legs apart. Then shift your weight in a slow lunge to the side over a bent knee. You should feel a stretch along the inner thigh of the opposite leg, which should be straight as you push your weight to the bent-knee side. Try to hold it for 20 to 30 seconds on each side.
2.) Calf Stretch – Calf stretch is one of the best stretching exercises that you can perform. Stand facing a wall a bit more than arm’s length away. Put one foot forward with a bent knee, and the other one back with a straight knee. The feet should point directly forward. Using your arms to brace yourself against the wall, keep your belly firm and lean until you feel the stretch in the calf muscle of your back leg. Try to keep both feet flat. Hold it for 20 to 30 seconds on each side.
3.) Chest and Shoulder Stretch – Chest and Shoulder Stretch is one of the best stretching exercises that you can perform. You can do this sitting or standing. Interlace your fingers with bent elbows and put your hands behind your head. Move your elbows gently backwards and squeeze your shoulder blades together. You can move your hands to the top of your head or a few inches above your head to affect different parts of your shoulders and chest.
4.) Glute Bridge – Glute Bridge is one of the best stretching exercises that you can perform. This one stretches your hip flexors. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor about hip-width apart. Gently tighten your stomach muscles to help flatten your back and prevent overstretching. Then tighten your butt i.e., glute muscles as you push your hips up toward the ceiling. Hold for a few seconds and repeat.
5.) Standing Quad Stretch – Standing Quad Stretch is one of the best stretching exercises that you can perform. Stand behind a chair with your legs about shoulder-width apart. Put one hand on the chair for balance. On the opposite side, lift your foot behind you and grab it with your free hand, keeping your bent knee pointing straight to the floor. Avoid bending forward, and try not to lock the knee of your standing leg. Pull gently on the leg until you feel the thigh stretch. Hold it for 10 to 30 seconds.
6.) Cobra Stretch – Cobra Stretch is one of the best stretching exercises that you can perform. It stretches your stomach and back muscles. Lie on your belly with your hands facing forward flat on the floor, directly under your shoulders. Stretch your legs out behind you and point your toes. As you exhale, lift your chest up and push your hips into the floor. Take care not to extend your arms so far that you lift your hips up. Hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds.
7.) Standing Hip Flexor Stretch – Standing Hip Flexor Stretch is one of the best stretching exercises that you can perform. Your hip flexors muscles that help you lift your knees and bend your waist can get tight if you are a runner or you sit for long periods. Drop one leg back, keeping it straight or slightly bent. Try to keep your torso upright and your spine straight. Drop your tailbone down toward the floor and tuck your butt forward until you feel the stretch on the inside thigh of your rear leg. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds and then switch legs.
8.) Butterfly Stretch – Butterfly Stretch is one of the best stretching exercises that you can perform. This one loosens up your inner thighs, groin, hips, and knees. Sit on the floor or a mat and bring your feet together so that your soles touch and your knees bend to opposite sides. With a straight spine, grasp your feet, then lean slowly forward and gently push your thighs down with your elbows until you feel the stretch along your inner thighs. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
9.) Standing Hamstring Stretch – Standing Hamstring Stretch is one of the best stretching exercises that you can perform. In a standing position, find something to hold for balance. Put one straightened leg up on a step or a block. Bend slightly with the opposite knee until you feel a gentle stretch at the back of the thigh of the raised leg. Bend slightly forward from your hips if you need more stretch. Move slowly and evenly, without bouncing. Hold it for 20 to 30 seconds and switch legs.
10.) Sideways Neck Stretch – Sideways Neck Stretch is one of the best stretching exercises that you can perform. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Tighten your belly and pull your shoulders back. With your head slightly forward, slowly tilt your ear toward the shoulder on the same side until you feel a stretch. Hold it for about 10 seconds, and slowly bring your head back up and do the other side. You can increase the stretch by using the hand on the tilting side to gently pull your head down.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as a health advice. We would ask you to consult a qualified professional or medical expert to gain additional knowledge before you choose to consume any product or perform any exercise.