5 Go-to Stretches for every day!
It’s hard to pick the best stretches to do and everyone has different tight spots, but these are the ones I find most people benefit from, if you can do them on a daily basis (even twice a day?) You will start to notice a difference in your range of motion.
We’re going to start with the legs and work our way up. You need a wall, a bit of floor space and some kind of strap, (a belt or towel will do). Make sure you hold each stretch for 30 seconds. The stretch ref;ex kicks in about the 20 second mark so if you make sure you stay in the stretch you will feel that you can push a little further in that last 10 seconds.
Photos come courtesy of my 6 year-old daughter –
Press your hands agains the wall. Place one leg out behind and press the heel towards the floor. If the heel touches easily then move it away from the wall further until it’s uncomfortable. Bring your your elbows to the wall to increase the stretch. Second stretch, bring your back foot in a little closer and bend the knee as much as you can – this hits more the lower calf and achilles
By far my favourite hamstring stretch is lying down. Grab your towel or strap, lie down, wrap the strap around one foot, straighten your leg out and gently pull it back towards you. For best results use the PNF stretching method. Stands for Proproceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation. Basically stretch to the point of discomfort, then resist against (a partner or) your band, ie. contract the muscle for 6 seconds and then stretch again for another 20 seconds, you should be able to stretch past your normal range. If you want to know more, read about PNF Stretching.
Start with your feet parallel then take a big step back. Keep the back foot in line with the hip, (you’re NOT on a tightrope, feet should stay hip width apart) keep the hips square to the front, and try and bend the front knee so that the front thigh is as close as you can get to parallel to the floor. Extend the stretch by twisting around the front leg with arms at shoulder height.
Chest and Upper Back
This one is a great tension releaser and easy to do anywhere. Put your hand agains the wall about shoulder height then step back away from the wall so that your feet are under your hips. Release the chest down towards the floor. NB You shouldn’t feel this in your lower back – althught you might feel it a little in your hamstrings. You can adjest by moving the hands a little higher up the wall if you need to.
Last one! Stand tall press one hand towards the fall then use the other hand to gently pull your ear towards your shoulder. Do both sides, if time permits experiment with looking down towards your armpit/floor and up towards the ceiling.