Full Body Stretch Routine

Full Body Stretch Routine to increase flexibility, improve recovery, prevent injury

As I sit here dripping sweat from my early morning Mega Strong Fitness session, I think to myself ‘do I really need to stretch?

Have you ever done an intense workout, and then forgot to do stretching exercises afterwards?

After every workout it is so important to stretch. I myself brushed this aside for many years, but now that I have gained a couple decades, I find it vital. I was starting to get so stiff and sore. My knees and shoulders were hurting me more and more. I used to do gymnastics when I was younger, so I was shocked when I started becoming more and more inflexible. Age, babies, working at a computer, all the things have decreased my flexibility and increased my pain. Stretching allows your muscles to recover and repair and may help decrease soreness.

Not sure how long to stretch? What stretches to do?

In this post I have put together a stretching routine that you can do after your workout or anytime.

Lying hamstring stretch

  1. Lay on your back with one leg extended on the floor.
  2. Extend other leg straight up above the hip joint, foot flexed.
  3. Grab your raised thigh with your hands and pull it towards your chest.
  4. Keep your hips on the floor.
  5. Engage your core and breathe slowly.

15-30 sec per leg.

Targets: hamstrings, hips, glutes

Downward Facing Dog

  1. Start in a high plank, hands directly under shoulders, legs out straight behind you, feet hip-width apart.
  2. Lift your butt toward the ceiling and press through your palms.
  3. Try to straighten your legs completely and lower your heels to the floor.
  4. Relax your head between your arms, and direct your gaze through your legs and toward your feet.

Hold 20-30 secs.

Targets: hamstrings, calves, back, shoulders, groin, lower back

 

figure 4 stretch

  1. Lay on your back, bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Place the ankle of one foot on the opposite knee, foot flexed.
  3. Grab the back of the thigh on the leg with the foot on the floor and pull it towards your chest.
  4. Push the knee of your bent leg out to extend the stretch.

15-30 sec per leg.

Targets: hamstrings, hips, glutes

Pretzel Stretch

  1. Lie on your left side with your head resting on your arm.
  2. Bend your right hip and knee up toward your chest as far as you can, and then let it drop to the floor.
  3. Bend your left knee and grab your left foot (use a strap if you can’t reach it) with your right hand.
  4. Make sure your leg and torso remain in a straight line as you gently bring your top shoulder blade toward the floor.
  5. For more of a spinal twist, turn your head to look over your right shoulder.

15-30 sec per side.

Targets: hips, groin, lower back

 

Runner’s lunge

  1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Step forward with one leg and bend your knee 90°.
  3. Lower your body until the rear knee is close to the floor and front knee is directly above the ankle.
  4. Tilt your pelvis forward and squeeze your glutes.

15-30 per leg.

Targets: adductors, glutes, hip flexors

 

Cobra

  1. Lie face down with your hands under your shoulders.
  2. Point your feet downwards to lengthen your spine.
  3. Slowly push your torso up as far as you comfortably can – try to get your hips to rise off the floor slightly.

Hold 20-30 secs.

Targets: abs, lower back

 

Pigeon Pose

  1. Sit with your right knee bent and open to the side and left leg extended straight behind body.
  2. Keep your left hip pointing down toward mat.  If it begins to open up toward ceiling, draw right foot back in toward body.
  3. Walk your hands out in front of your body, allowing your chest to rest over right knee.

15-30 secs per leg.

Targets: hips, glutes

 

Shoulder stretch

  1. Stand tall and bring your right arm across your upper body, holding it with your left arm just below or above the elbow.

Hold 15-30 secs per arm.

Targets: shoulders, upper back

Triceps stretch

  1. Start in a seated position with a straight spine or standing if you prefer.
  2. Lift both arms straight up overhead.
  3. Bend both arms, grabbing your right elbow with your left hand.
  4. Begin to gently pull your right arm towards your left until you feel a stretch.

Hold for 15 secs per arm.

Targets:  Deltoids, triceps

Neck stretch

  1. Start in a comfortable seated or standing position, sitting tall with a straight spine.
  2. Take your right hand and grasp the left side of your head (by your ear).
  3. Gently begin to pull your head toward you with your right hand to feel a stretch.

Hold 10 secs per side.

Targets: neck, traps

Ragdoll Pose

  1. Start in an upright standing position, or Mountain Pose.
  2. Place your hands on your hips or lift your arms up overhead and swan dive them as you hinge at your hips and slowly bend forward over yourself.
  3. Once you are folded, grab opposite elbows with both hands.
  4. Put a slight bend in your knees and slowly rock your upper body from side to side.

Hold 30 secs.

Targets: shoulders, neck, spine

 

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