The best part of working out is how it makes you feel mentally and physically, right? Fun fact for you: A boost of feel-good endorphins, reduced stress, and increased strength and mobility are all common benefits of a stretching workout, too.
You read that right — no, you don’t need to exhaust yourself in HIIT classes to reap the benefits of exercise. Far from it – low-impact sessions that prioritize things like mobility and flexibility may actually be better for you in the long run.
While research still cannot find a conclusive answer as to whether stretching actually reduces delayed onset muscle soreness (opens in new tab) After a workout or performance improvement, it Is Stretching has been proven to promote both flexibility and range of motion in your joints, which in turn helps with injury prevention. (opens in new tab) (aka reducing your risk of injury).
The personal trainer shares, “Stretching should be the main event rather than an adjunct to exercise.” jessica stevens, “Studies have shown that stretching can reduce the risk of muscle strains and other injuries by 45-72% – devoting more time to stretching can help you avoid future pain.”
Keep reading as to Core Balance (opens in new tab) Fitness experts highlight the best stretching workouts to try tonight. workout recovery (opens in new tab) Never looked so hot…
Stretching Workouts: So, Are They Really Worth Your Time?
Well, according to Stevens, yes they are.
You may already have a roster of the best warm-up exercises (opens in new tab) and cool-down exercises (opens in new tab) is at your disposal, but a stretching workout is ideal for days where you’re overworked and need to relieve built-up tension, or where you haven’t been working out at all but want to show your body some love. are (rest days are) important).
What are the benefits of stretching workout?
“A simple, daily, whole-body stretch has many health benefits, including improved posture and increased blood flow to the muscles,” she shares.
The instructor continues that adding stretching to your weekly workout routine can lead to the following results:
- better posture
- increased blood flow
- Stress Relief
- increased mobility
- greater flexibility
Add up all these benefits and they will enhance your well-being day to day – not to mention potentially reducing your risk of injury as mentioned above.
Ready to create your own stretching workout? Here, PT shares her go-to eight moves that equal her go-to stretching workout.
his advice? “Breathe, try not to bounce too much, and remember you’re aiming for tension, not pain,” she advises.
1. 3 Point Neck Stretch
This stretch releases accumulated tension or any aches and pains in the neck, experts share.
How to do: Begin by slowly moving your chin towards your chest, then slowly move your head from left to right.
how long: Hold for 15 seconds, and repeat until you feel the release. Remember not to stretch to the point of pain – only do what is comfortable.
2. Lean forward for a back stretch
PT calls this move the “ultimate full body stretch”—ideal for office workers who spend a lot of time sitting at a computer all day. It promises to stretch the legs and hamstrings and is also a chest and shoulder opening exercise.
How to do: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, toes pointing forward. Reach your hands to meet behind your glutes and interlock your fingers, if possible.
Keeping a flat back, bend at the waist, drive your hips back and keep your weight in your heels until you feel a stretch in the backs of your legs. As you lean forward, allow gravity to pull your arms up over your head, keeping your arms straight.
Lean forward only as far as your shoulder flexion will allow.
how long: Maintain this position for 30 seconds and repeat.
3. Seated Back Twist
“Spinal twists are a great release exercise. They can help improve back pain and increase mobility,” explains Stevens. This move promises to relieve tension in the back muscles, glutes, and lower back.
How to do: Begin sitting with your legs crossed and your left leg up.
Cross your left leg forward over the right, and place the foot on the ground with your right knee. Keeping your left knee pointing up, slowly roll your shoulders to the left, pushing against your left leg for leverage.
how long: Hold the position for 30 seconds, aiming to repeat on both sides.
4. Tricep Arm Stretch
Triceps often get left behind when it comes to stretching, but they need some love too.
How to do: Keeping the elbow near the head, raise the left hand, then leave the left hand behind the neck, bending at the elbow. Use right hand to grab your left arm behind the elbow and slowly press down, taking left arm down behind you. (Press down only when comfortable and to the point of relaxation and release.)
how long: Hold for 10 seconds – repeat twice on the other side.
5. Cross-Body Tricep Stretch
How to do?
1. Start Standing
2. Take the left arm in front of the body, and extend it past the right shoulder
3. Bend right arm to grasp left arm to bring left arm toward chest. Make sure to hold the hand and not the elbow joint
4. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat with right arm
5. Repeat three times
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6. Kneeling Flexor Stretch
According to Stevens, this stretch targets the hamstrings, hip flexors, lower back, and calves. “This stretch is great for the lower body, especially the hamstrings and hip flexors. Tight hamstrings are often the culprit of low back pain,” she continues.
How to do: Begin by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Keeping both your hands on the ground on either side of your right leg, step the left leg back simultaneously.
Lower your hips to just above the ground, or until you feel a stretch in the front of your left hip and leg. Pause here, then slowly straighten your front leg while keeping your hands on the floor.
how long: Hold for 30 seconds per leg.
7. Standing hamstring stretch
Another great one for runners
How to do: Start in standing position. Keeping the right foot flat on the floor, bend the right knee slightly and step the left leg forward while flexing the left leg. Keeping the heel on the ground and toes pointing up, lean forward slightly, placing your right hand on your thigh for stability. Raise your toes on your left leg.
how long: Hold 20 seconds, then rest 10 seconds. Repeat with opposite leg. Change and repeat three times.
8. Child’s pose stretch
Lastly, this is one of Steven’s favorite yoga poses and a great stretch to add to any workout. “It’s a super relaxing way to end a stretching routine or any session,” she elaborates.
How to do? Begin in a kneeling position, feet lying flat on the ground and toes pointing back. Sliding the arms forward, sit under the heels and chest.
how long: hold the stretch for 30 seconds, repeat 3 times and relax,
Is 20 minutes of stretching enough?
Although this will depend on what other exercises you do, as well as how stiff your legs are and what pre-existing conditions you have, yes, stretching for 20 minutes a day is enough to reap the benefits on offer. Should be enough, experts believe.
Need more inspiration? World-renowned PT Joe Wicks raves about the benefits of stretching and mobility on his own Instagram page, saying that it has greatly improved his overall well-being. You heard it here first…
How do I make sure I’m stretching effectively?
Stevens recommends warming up before you stretch—this will prepare your muscles for stretching and reduce your risk of injury.
Be sure to hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds to allow your muscles to relax and lengthen, and likewise, be sure to stretch gently — “avoid jumping or forcing the stretch,” recommends PT. Is.
Next, be sure to remember that stretching shouldn’t be painful — “If it hurts, rest or stop.”
Finally, if you have any questions, seek professional advice. “Remember, stretching is not always appropriate for everyone and in some cases, it may be contraindicated. Always check with a medical professional before beginning a stretching routine.”