Stretching is important

 

It’s super helpful to include stretching in any lifestyle or exercise regimen.

Stretching can increase flexibility and improve your joints’ range of motion which will help you move more freely.  Stretching will also ensure that you have equal flexibility on both sides which may help protect you from injury.

>  Keep stretches gentle and slow
>  Don’t bounce or pulse
>  Breathe through your stretches
>  If you feel pain, you’ve stretched too far
>  Hold a stretch for about 15 to 30 seconds to the point of a slight pull.
>  Stretching is recommended 2 to 3 days a week.

If you have health conditions or injuries always talk to your doctor, physical therapist or preferred health professional about which stretches are right for you.

Common stretches & how to do them

StretchMovement Description What it Looks Like
Seated Hip Stretch (Figure 4 stretch)
    • Sit on a chair with your back straight
    • Place your right ankle on your left knee
    • Fold your torso forward until you feel a gentle stretch
    • Hold for up to 60 seconds
    • Repeat on the other side
hip stretch 2024
Bicep
  • Take your arms out to the sides, slightly behind you, with your thumbs up  (like a hitchhiker)
  • Rotate your thumbs down and back until they are pointing to the back wall to stretch the biceps
  • Hold for 15 to 30 seconds
  • Repeat one to three times.
thumbs up bicept stretch
Calf
  • Stand at arm’s length from a wall or a piece of sturdy exercise equipment
  • Place your right foot behind your left foot
  • Slowly bend your left leg forward, keeping your right knee straight and your right heel on the floor
  • Hold your back straight and your hips forward. Don’t rotate your feet inward or outward.
  • Hold for about 30 seconds
  • Switch legs and repeat
  • To deepen the stretch, slightly bend your right knee as you bend your left leg forward
calf stretch
Chest
  • Sit or stand and clasp your hands together behind your back, arms straight
  • Lift your hands towards the ceiling, going only as high as is comfortable
  • You should feel a stretch in your shoulders and chest
  • Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, repeating one to three times
chest stretch
Hamstring (laying / supine)
  • You will need a strap or belt for this exercise
  • You may need a low pillow or cushion underneath your head for support
  • Place a belt or strap around your foot, and lie down on your back
  • Pull the strap/belt so that your leg comes up, keeping the knee straight throughout the movement
  • You can keep the knee slightly bent throughout the movement if needed
  • Lower the leg back down and repeat, making sure you keep your back flat on the floor
  • You should feel a stretch down the back of your thigh as you raise the leg up
  • Hold for a count of 10, then release down to the floor & stretch the other side
  • Repeat 3 times each side
hamstring stretch
Hamstring (seated)
  • Sitting in a chair with your butt towards the front of the chair
  • Extend one leg out until straight
  • Keept the straight leg toes pointing UP
  • Hold for a count of 10-15  then release
  •  Stretch the other side
  • Repeat 3 times each side
seated hamstring
Hip Flexor (kneeling)

Your hip flexors allow you to lift your knees and flex at the waist & are located on your upper thighs just below your hip bones
  • Kneel on your right knee, cushioning your kneecap with a folded towel or cushion
  • Place your left foot in front of you, bending your knee and placing your left hand on your left leg for stability
  • Place your right hand on your right hip to avoid bending at the waist
  • Keep your back straight and abdominal muscles tight
  • Lean forward, shifting more body weight onto your front leg
  • You’ll feel a stretch in your right thigh
  • Hold for 15-30 seconds
hip flexor kneeling
Hip Flexor  (laying / supine)
  • Lying on your back, hug one knee to your chest while gently letting the other leg lower over the side of the bed to the ground
  • Make sure you don’t feel any tension in your lower back (and if you do, stop the stretch)
  • You should feel a gentle stretch in the front of your hip and thigh
  • Hold this position for at the minimum of 20 seconds
  • Repeat other side
hip flexor supine
Iliotibial Band ITB (standing)
  • Stand near a wall or a piece of sturdy exercise equipment for support
  • Cross your left leg over your right leg at the ankle
  • Extend your left arm overhead, reaching toward your right side. You’ll feel a stretch along your left hip
  • Hold for about 30 seconds
  • Switch sides and repeat
itb standing
Iliotibial Band ITB (laying / supine)
  • Begin laying on your back
  • Lift one leg and place it on the outside of your opposite leg
  • Gently pull that leg downward until you feel a stretch on the outside of your thigh
  • Hold for 15-30 seconds
  • Be sure to keep your hips and shoulders on the ground
  • Switch sides and repeat
itb supine

Quad (quadriceps)

Your quadriceps muscle runs along the front of your thigh

  • Stand near a wall or a piece of sturdy exercise equipment for support
  • Grasp your ankle and gently pull your heel up and back until you feel a stretch in the front of your thigh
  • Tighten your stomach muscles to prevent your stomach from sagging outward, and keep your knees close together
  • Hold for about 30 seconds
  • Switch legs and repeat
quad

Shoulder stretch

If the back of your shoulder is tight you may be more likely to develop rotator cuff problems, especially if you golf or participate in overhead racket or throwing sports such as tennis

  • Bring your left arm across your body and hold it with your right arm, either above or below the elbow
  • Hold for about 30 seconds
  • Switch arms and repeat
shoulder stretch
Side Stretch (Standing)
  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and clasp your hands above your head
  • Gently lean your body to one side feeling a deep stretch along the side of your body
  • Hold for 15 seconds
  • Return to standing straight
  • Repeat other side
side stretch standing
Upper Back Stretch
  • Clasp your hands together in front of you and round your back, pressing your arms away from your body to feel a stretch in your upper back
  • Contract the abs to get the most out of this stretch
  • Hold for 15 to 30 seconds
  • Repeat one to three times
upper back stretch

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