A Simple, No Frills Stretching Routine
Here is a quick little stretching routine with descriptions that will touch on the whole body. You can do 30 seconds or so of each, do the stretch until you feel the muscles relaxing into it, or treat it like a circuit and do multiple times through. As long as you are getting things opened up a bit, I’m happy!
1. Arm circles
Make sure you have plenty of room then circle your arms forward and backward in the biggest range you can. Really open up the shoulder girdle.
2. Leg swings
Using a wall or other study object to put your hands on, stand tall and swing one leg side to side in front of your body. Leave a little bend in the knee so you don’t scrape the ground and really try to raise the leg fluidly as high as you can.
Next, turn to the side and swing your leg forward and backward. Your torso will try to fall toward the ground but stay tall and let the hip get opened up instead of hinging to cheat the range of motion. The forward swing will be a good dynamic hamstring stretch while the back swing will stretch the hip flexors and activate the glutes.
3. Standing extensions
Now we are going to open up the spine a bit. Notice that when you have bad posture while sitting or standing, you tend to round over into what is called spinal flexion. So we are going to go the opposite way. While standing, reach back and place your hands on your lower back just above your hips with your fingers pointed downward. From here, lean back, push your hips forward and gently shove with your hands. Try to really open up your chest and tilt your head back. Don’t hang out in the extended position long and return to standing tall. Repeat this for reps.
4. Standing hip flexor stretch
Facing a wall, place your hands gently against the wallet about shoulder height. Step one foot back so you are in a more elongated lunge. Turn the toes of the back foot slightly inward. Now, make sure your hips are under your shoulders and not lagging behind. Then bend your front knee slightly more to further stretch the back leg. You should feel the stretch on the front side of the leg extending out the back. You can also get a calve stretch by leaving the entire back foot on the ground. Play around with this to get the right sensation. This one is huge to have in the arsenal, so take your time to feel out the best position for you to really open up and feel a good stretch.
5. Standing quad stretch
Standing with your right hand on a balance point, take your left hand and grab your left ankle. Standing tall, pull your left heel as close to your left glute as possible. You should get a stretch in the front of your thigh. It is likely your knee will try to sneak forward, lessening the stretch at the hip. To counteract this, make sure the upper leg is more or less pointed toward the ground while not arching your back.
6. Doorway pec stretch with lower arm position for biceps and shoulders
Next, find a doorway. Hook your hands on either side of the doorway at shoulder height and walk forward to lock out your arms. With your hands pulled behind you, it will stretch out your chest and shoulders. Move your hands lower in the doorway to hit a little more shoulder and bicep.
7. Standing tricep stretch
Reach one arm overhead then bend the elbow like you are trying to scratch your other shoulder. Then take your other hand and grab the elbow of the stretching arm. Gently pull this closer to your head to stretch the triceps.
8. Child’s pose
On your hands and knees on a soft surface, sit back so your butt sits back onto your calves. Let your torso sit on top of your thighs and lengthen your arms. Once here, chill the heck out.
To wrap up, go ahead and play with these stretches. The activity itself will be beneficial but improving your ability to quickly stretch an area of the body will pay large dividends down the road. Enjoy!