Stretching Techniques To Prepare Your Body For Exercise
If you’re planning on working out, stretching is vital – it prepares your body for exercise and improves flexibility. Your muscles will feel relaxed and warmed-up once you’ve stretched properly, and this will help you to avoid any injuries. You should take at least five to ten minutes to stretch before and after a workout, so that your muscles have chance to warm up and cool down effectively. Here are some stretching techniques for your upper, middle and lower body.
Your chest is often overlooked in terms of stretching, but it is the core of so many exercises. Begin by standing straight, with your knees slightly bent. Place your feet hip distance apart, making sure that your toes are pointing forward. Keep your shoulders even and place your arms behind your back. Clasp your hands together, extend your arms behind your back and hold this position. You’ll feel the stretch in your chest – inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds then release.
For your triceps, begin standing up straight with your knees slightly bent. Keep your toes pointing forward and your shoulders even as you complete this stretch. Bend your right arm at elbow joint and lift your arm next to your head – position your right fingers so they touch your shoulder blade area. Place your left arm across the top of your head, and then place your left hand on the right elbow joint to support your arm. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, then repeat on the opposite side.
To stretch your upper back area, begin in the same standing position as previously used, and extend both of your arms, forming a 90-degree angle between your arms and body. Clasp your hands together, palms facing forward, and extend your arms in front of your body – hold this position. You should feel the stretch in the upper back – inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth, holding for 30 seconds. You can also complete this in a sitting position.
To stretch the abdominal area, lie on your back with your head flat against the floor. Bend your knees and place both feet on the floor, then extend your arms to the left side of the body, keeping your arms in line with your shoulders. Drop both knees to the right side of your body, so that your body forms a Z shape. Hold this for 30 seconds.
To warm up your back, stand straight with your knees slightly bent. Place your feet hip distance apart, and keep your toes pointing forward. Place your hands on your thighs and slowly arch your back, rolling your shoulders and leaning forward. Hold this C shape position for around 30 seconds. Then slowly uncurl yourself and feel the stretch in your spine.
Lie on your back with your head flat against the floor. Bend your knees and place both feet on the floor, then straighten your right leg and point your toes – your leg should extend about two inches from the floor. Slowly raise your right leg towards the ceiling, keeping the leg straight, until your feel the stretch in your hamstring. Hold this for 30 seconds, then repeat with your left leg.
Standing up straight, place your feet hip distance apart. With your right foot, take a large step backwards to create a lunge position. Your entire body should be in a proper alignment with your shoulders, ears and hips to form a straight line. You’ll feel a stretch in your right upper calf and lower calf. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, then repeat on the opposite side.