My top 6 stretches
We constantly see people with poor posture, niggling injuries and aches and pains that can normally be treated through stretching.
Here are my top six easy to do at home top 6 stretches. Aim to hold each stretch for 20-30-60 seconds resting for 5 seconds and repeating 3 times each and 3 times a week or every second day.
1) Elevated heels stretch
With the balls of your feet elevated on a small step or wedge and you heels on the group, slowly slid your hands down your legs keeping your knees locked out and aiming to touch your toes. Targeting the calves, hamstring, gluts and lower back.
2) Hip flexor stretch
At the bottom of a lung position push your hip and front knee forward keeping your chest up until you feel a stretch in the front of the hip of your back leg. Targeting the hip flexors (Iliacus, Psoas major) and quadriceps.
Intensify this stretch by reaching back and pulling your back foot up of the ground balancing on your back knee, this gives a deeper stretch to the quadriceps. If you are unable to do this a standard standing quad stretch will do the trick.
3) Lower back crossover stretch
This is a great one for people who have lower back issues. Start slow with this one and you may only feel a stretch in your gluts the first few times, as they are so tight.
Lay flat on your back and slid your right foot up so it is inline with your left knee, take your right arm out to 90 degrees from your side and with your left arm pull your right knee over to the floor on the left side of your body keeping your right shoulder on the ground. Target muscles Erector spinae, Quadratus lumborum, Gluts.
Change the angle of the knee from lower to higher to stretch different areas of the lower back and gluts.
The next two stretches are great to relieve upper back pain and reduce the risk of shoulder injury when exercising by relieving rounded shoulders (common for people sitting at a desk all day).
4) Pec stretch
Hitting all the different angles of this stretch will give you the most benefit as some people will be tighter in different areas. 20 seconds on each stretch 3 times through. Target muscles Pectorals and Internal rotators of the rotator cuff.
5) Upper trap stretch
Start seated and with you right hand holding onto the bottom of your seat, then look down and slightly to the left, aim to point your chin to your arm pit, if you don’t feel a stretch take your left arm and light pull down on the top of your head until you feel the stretch. Target muscles Upper trapezius and Levator scapulae.
6) Thoracic stretch
This stretch can be done best with a foam roller or rolled up towel. Place the roller just bellow your shoulder blades, lift your hips up and lower your head to the ground, now slowly lower your hips to the ground and lay back. Don’t be concerned if you hear your back "crack", try and relaxed here for 30 to 60 seconds.
Running through these stretch after a long day at the office and also after a hard training session will reduce your risk of chronic injuries and help keep you moving freely.
To healthy Living