The Art of Stretching : Lower Your Risk of Pain and Injury with These 30 Stretching Exercises

You may be a regular exerciser or you may lead a sedentary life but either way you’re aware of how important stretching is for your overall health and appearance. When you stretch you boost blood flow to the muscles and improve your joints flexibility. Stretching also improves your posture and athletic performance and lowers your risk of injury.

Do you know the right way to stretch? Do you know which muscles you’re targeting with your stretches and if you’re doing it correctly?

In this article we’ll show you how to correctly stretch your muscles and avoid injury and reduce your pain. When you stretch you should know which muscles you’re targeting and you should feel the stretch in the core muscle you’re targeting.  If you feel a pressure in your joints you’re probably pushing it too hard and you need to relax. Remember to always mind your breathing and relax your muscles in between.

The creators of Mazlo Body Maintenance program, James Kilgallon and Vicky Timon, created an amazing set of stretching exercises called The Art of Stretching which focus on every muscles and are simple excellent. Below you’ll find the stretches and their explanation on how to perform them.

  1. Camel Pose

Targets your external obliques and the rectus abdominus

You can do this stretch if you’re already flexible, people who’re not in good shape will have difficulties performing it. Sit on the heels and place both hands behind you. With your hips push forward and up and make sure you’re not putting a lot of pressure on the spine.

  1. Wide Forward Fold

Targets the adductors

Your spine should be straight and your knees bent. Start straightening your legs slowly, round your back out and try to touch your feet. Pull the balls of your feet lightly and release the calves.

  1. Frog Pose

Targets the adductors

Get down on your knees and hands and slowly start widening your knees until your groin muscles stretch.

  1. Wide Side Lunge Pose

Targets the adductors

Position your feet forward while your body is in a wide stance and your legs are straight. Bring your hands to your right foot slowly, bend the right knee as you rotate the left toes up. During the stretch you should try and keep your right foot on the ground.

  1. Butterfly Stretch

Targets the adductors

Sit down on the floor and bring your feet’s soles against each other. Push your knees slightly with your hands until you feel a light stretch.

  1. Forearm Extensor Stretch

Targets the forearm extensor

You should pack the shoulder back and simply rotate it a bit s that you can stretch the muscle in the forearm. Apply a bit of pressure to the other hand so that you can start the stretch.

  1. Lateral Side Flexion of the Neck

Targets the SCM (Sternocleidomastoid) muscle

Elongate your neck as much as you can and bring your ear close to the shoulder. Don’t collapse the cervical spine.

  1. Neck Rotation Stretch

Targets the SCM (Sternocleidomastoid) muscle

Rotate the neck slowly and make sure the chin is elevated a bit.

  1. Neck Extension Stretch

Targets the SCM (Sternocleidomastoid) muscle

Your hands should be placed on the hips and your spine long and straight. Start tilting your head a bit back and mind the cervical spine.

  1. Lateral Neck Flexion with Assistance

Targets the SCM (Sternocleidomastoid) muscle and trapezoid

Your neck should be elongated

Elongate your neck as much as you can and bring your ear close to the shoulder, use your hand for a bigger stretch. Don’t collapse the cervical spine.

  1. Hip Flexor Stretch

Targets the psoas and quadracep muscle

Get down in a half-kneeling pose and start bringing your left hip forward slowly. Reach for your back foot, grab it and squeeze the glute.

  1. Forearm Extensor Stretch

Targets the forearm extensor

Extend your arm in front of you, pack the shoulder back and rotate it to stretch your forearm muscle.

  1. Side Shoulder Stretch

Targets the side deltoid

Position one arm across the body and apply some pressure to make the shoulder stretch.

  1. Standing Neck Flexion Stretch

Targets the trapezoid muscle

In standing position bring your feet together and elongate the spine. Round the upper back and sit the hips back while you tuck in the chin.

  1. Side Stretch with Spinal Traction

Targets the latissimus dorsi

Grab the bar firmly and start slowly lifting your feet up until you feel a stretch in your chest and lateral muscles.

  1. Side Stretch at the Wall

Targets the latissimus dorsi

Put your hands on the wall corner, keep the spine long and start pushing the hips laterally.

  1. Child’s Pose

Targets the latissimus dorsi

Get down on your knees and hands and start bringing your hips back until your head touches the floor. Rotate the shoulders out and arch your upper back so that you feel a stretch in your laterals and your chest.

  1. Standing Calf Stretch

Targets the soleus and gastrocnemius

Do this stretch on a stair step’s edge or a rack. You should start rotating your ankles slowly externally and internally to stretch the calves.

  1. Front Split

Targets the hamstring and psoas

Get in a kneeling lunge pose and split your legs as shown on the picture.

  1. Seated Toe Touch

Targets the calves and the hamstrings

Get down on the ground sitting and extend your legs in front of you. Try to touch your toes and bend the knees a bit if you have to. As you perform it more often your legs will become straighter.

  1. Single Leg Forward Bend

Targets the hamstrings

Place one foot in front of your other and place your hands on your hips. Keep your back straight as you bend from the hips.

  1. Deep Squat

Targets the glutes

Stand up and place your feet at shoulder width. Start lowering your body into a squat position and once you reach it place your arms on the inside of your legs and slightly press them outwards.

  1. Seated Half Pigeon King Pose

Targets the glutes

Sit down on the ground and pull your legs towards the chest. Rotate the hip outwards and make sure the spine is straight.

  1. Wall Assisted Standing Calf Stretch

Targets the gastrocnemius and soleus

Get in a lunge pose and turn your back foot slightly outwards. Slowly start bringing the heel to the ground.

  1. Wall Assisted Lateral Flexion

Targets the external obliques

Elongate your spine as you push your hips to the side.

  1. Supine Twist

Targets the external oblique and glutes

Lay down on your back and place one leg across your body. Start rotating your upper body in the other direction.

  1. Assisted Lateral Flexion

Targets the latissimus dorsi and external oblique

Elongate the spine as you push your hips to the side slowly. Your shoulders should be rotated externally.

  1. Triangle Pose

Targets the external obliques

Get in a wide stance and place one foot straight in front of you while your back foot is at a 90 degree angle. Start lowering down your body to touch the front leg with your hand while your other hand is straight up in the air. Gaze your eyes to the arm in the air while you stretch. Keep the back straight

  1. Wall Assisted Chest Stretch

Targets the pectorals

Stand in front of the wall with the thumbs up and start rotating away from it to stretch the chest muscles.

  1. Assisted Chest Stretch

Targets the latissimus dorsi and chest muscles

Get down on the floor and place your palms facing upwards. Get your partner to sit in a deep squat and feel the stretch in the chest and laterals.


Article and image source : http://www.womendailymagazine.com/art-stretching-lower-risk-pain-injury-30-stretching-exercises/


Most Popular

To Top