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Fit Tip: 6 Stretches Your Muscles Need

Posted on August 5, 2013 at 6:30 am

Monday Morning Fit Tip:

GET THE RESULTS THAT YOU WANT

BY STRETCHING!

If you’re not getting the results that you expect from your exercise routine, tight muscles may be to blame!  When one muscle group (such as your quads) is tight, that prevents others (like your hamstrings) from working correctly.  This can lead to a less-efficient workout and an increased risk of injury.  What can you do to prevent this?  Stretch!

The 6 Stretches Your Muscles Need:

(hold each stretch at least 30 seconds)

Gentle Neck Stretch – Sitting tall, slowly bring your chin down towards your chest, allowing the weight of your head to increase the stretch.  With your head still down, slowly rotate your head to the right.  On the next breath, repeat left, then back to the middle before moving back into a starting position.  Repeat slowly a few times until neck and shoulder tension releases.

Chest Stretch – This is great for the chest and shoulders, especially if you spend a lot of time in a hunched position (such as driving or in front of the computer).  To do this stretch, sit or stand and hold a resistance band in a wide grip.  Take the band straight up overhead with arms in a V-shape.  There should be some tension in the band, so adjust your hands as needed.  Pull the arms slightly back and until you feel a gentle stretch.

  • Don’t have a resistance band?  Use a doorway!
  • Have shoulder problems?  This stretch may not be for you!  Listen to your body.

Calf Stretch - Stand in a staggered lunge with toes pointing straight ahead.  Bend your front knee so it’s in line with the ankle; keeping the back foot flat.  Press hips gently forward, feeling stretch in back calf.  Release, then bend the back knee to stretch the underside of the calf muscle.  Repeat, then switch legs.  Confused?  Check out this video.

Knee to Chest… with a Twist - lie on your back like you’re about to do crunches.  Bring one bent knee towards your chest, and use the hands on the shin to hug the leg towards you.  Hold for a 3-5 slow deep breaths to allow your muscles time to relax.  Bonus stretch: now guide the knee across your body, just a few inches, while keeping your hips flat on the floor.  Enjoy that back  and hip stretch!  Release and then repeat on the opposite leg.

Figure 4 Hip Stretch (this can be done with or without the ball).  If using the ball, hold for 30 seconds and then slowly bend and straighten the right leg.  If you feel tension in any spot, stop and hold for 30 seconds, then begin bending and straightening again.  For a deeper stretch, skip the ball and lace your hands behind the right leg.  Just be sure not to tense your upper body as you stretch the lower body!

Quad Stretch.   This can be done standing up to practice your balance, or while lying down.  Either way, this stretch is great for the front of the thighs and hip flexors!

 

 

Get more information:

Take a flexibility test and find more stretches on our Pinterest page!

Hip stretches can help increase power and decrease risk or injury!

Share your favorite stretches below OR ask your Fitness Questions:

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