How to Perform Muscle Stretching Exercises
It’s necessary to do stretching exercises for increasing the flexibility of your joints. It can be done before your main workout, after it, or separately. When performing exercises, pay attention to the muscles you are working out. It’s important to stretch responsibly to achieve the best results. And don’t forget to keep safety in mind — you’re not supposed to feel pain in your joints. Instead, it’s supposed to feel more like straining and tension.
5-Minute Crafts prepared a small bundle of exercises to help warm up your muscles and increase their elasticity. Stay in each of these positions for at least 15 seconds. You should feel the tension of your muscle fibers as you do them.
Bends to the sides: Keep your shoulders down, and stretch the neck. Slowly bend your head to the right side, then to the left. Try to reach your ear to the shoulder. You can use your hand to help pull it a bit.
Turns: Turn your head to the right and then to the left. Your chin should be a bit up. Help yourself with your hand by slightly pressing the jaw.
Bend forward: Stand straight. Round your neck and slightly bend the knees. Bend your head forward, reaching out your chin to the chest. Slightly press the back of your head with your arms.
Bend backward: Place your hands on the backside of your waist. Bend your head back, leaning on the palms. Don’t let the back of your head freely drop down to the spine, and make sure you keep the neck muscles tense.
2. Shoulders and forearms
Stretching the shoulders: Move your hand to the side opposite from the shoulder, placing it in front of you. Slightly press it with the other hand, securing the working position. Do the same by changing hands.
Tricep stretches: Lift your arm up, bend it at the elbow, and reach for your upper back. Place the palm on the spine. Press the elbow with your other hand, creating tension. Alternate the arms.
Stretching the forearms: Stretch your arm forward, keeping the hand down. Press the outer side of the palm with the second hand. You will feel the tension in the extensor muscles. Alternate the arms and repeat the exercise.
3. Torso: chest, sides, and back
Stretching the chest muscles: Stand with your face overlooking the wall. Stretch the right arm in front of you. Place the palm on the wall so that the thumb is located on top. Turn in the opposite direction from the arm, creating tension in the pectoral muscles. Then repeat everything on the other side.
Bends to the sides: Spread your legs wide with your feet straight out. Bend over to the right side with your foot looking outward. Lean on it with your right arm and move the left arm up. If you can’t reach the foot, grab your ankle. Direct your gaze to the left hand. Change the position.
The camel pose: Kneel down and sit on your heels. Place your hands on the waist and push your torso up. You’ll feel the tension in the abdominal cavity. You can bend the head backward. If you feel discomfort in the neck, slightly lift the back of your head up.
Back stretching: Get on all fours. Slowly start moving your hips back. The arms should remain in an extended position in front of you. As a result, you should place your buttocks on your heels. Your nose should be touching the floor.
4. Legs: thighs, buttocks, and lower legs
1. The frog pose: Get on all fours. Start to move your knees to the sides, and do it neatly. Note that several points will feel the pressure simultaneously, like the palms, knees, and feet. Don’t bend your waist too much. You should be feeling slight tension in the adductor magnus muscles.
2.The butterfly pose: It can be a good alternative for those who find the frog pose difficult to perform. For others, it will be a good additional exercise. Sit down on the floor, bend your legs at the knees, and drag the feet toward you, placing them together. The closer the feet are, the stronger the stretch will be. Straighten your back. Put down the knees to the floor by slightly pressing them with your hands. Try to relax the muscles — you’ll notice how much easier performing this exercise will become.
3. Stretching the back of the thighs: Get in a seated position and stretch the legs out in front of you. They should be touching each other. Direct your toes at yourself. Try to grab them with your hands. If you fail to do so, secure your hands at the lower legs or shins. Stretch your torso down, creating tension in the thigh muscles.
4. Pulling the legs: It’s one of the variations of the pigeon pose. Pull your right foot to your body as you sit, bend at the knee, and press it to your chest. Secure the position with the help of your hands. Direct the left foot to yourself. Feel how your buttock muscles are stretching. Alternate the leg. You can also perform this exercise while lying on your back. In this case, it will be possible to hold the working leg with the help of the knee of the other leg pressed against your chest. Your hands should be leaning on your hips in this position.
5. Piriformis stretch: This exercise looks like the previous one. However, in this exercise, you don’t need to pull a leg bent to your chest. All you need to do is simply place it on the opposite thigh. You can lean on your hand placed at the back and wrap your ankle with the second one. The foot of the free leg should be placed parallel to the floor. Don’t forget to alternate legs.
6. Calf workouts: Stand with the toes placed at the edge of a stair, and your heels should be located on the floor. If there are no stairs, use a roll or any other thing that you will be able to lean your feet on — even a wall will be suitable for this. Once you get in the necessary position, you’ll feel the stretching of the soleus and calf muscles.
7. Stretching the thighs: Stand straight. Bend your right leg at the knee and touch your buttock with the heel. Secure the position with your hand. If the tension is not enough for you, you can slightly pull the leg back. Repeat the same thing with the other leg.
If you do stretching exercises regularly, you will see progress over time and can significantly improve joint flexibility.