Stretches For General Flexibility
The home environment is ideal for stretching – warm, comfortable, and your own space. Find a time that works for you, and try to develop a routine of dedicated stretching most days of the week. Try rising 10 minutes earlier in the morning, or giving up 10 minutes of evening television to allow for devoted stretching time. These stretches target the entire body and are perfect for developing and maintaining good general flexibility.
Standing Hamstring Stretch - Wall supported
Stand upright against a wall with your feet together. Lean forward from the hips and bring your chest slowly towards your legs until you feel the stretch on the back of the thighs. Clasp your hands behind your legs and pull against to maintain the stretch. The closer your feet are to the wall and the straighter your legs, the more difficult it is to get the torso towards the thighs, and the greater the stretch. Release the hands and raise the torso slowly to exit.
Standing Quad Stretch
Stand upright with both feet close together. Pick a point in the fore distance to focus on and then bring your right foot towards your bottom. Keep the knees close together, hips square, and stand tall. You should feel the stretch along the front of your right thigh. Progress the stretch by pulling the foot closer to the body. Repeat on the left leg.
Standing Hip Flexor Stretch
Take a large step forward with your left foot and, extending the right leg back, slowly lower your hips towards the floor until you feel the stretch. To develop the stretch, push your hips forward and straighten the upper body, resting the hands on the left thigh. To exit, drop your hands to the floor either side of the left foot and bring the right leg slowly forward. Repeat on the left leg.
Standing Calf Stretch - Wall assisted
Stand close to a wall and take a large step backwards with your left foot, keeping the leg perfectly straight. Bend the right knee and rest folded arms against the wall at shoulder height, maintaining a straight back. Push the left heel firmly down towards the ground against the resistance of the wall. You should feel the stretch on the back of your lower left leg. To progress the stretch, take a bigger initial step. Repeat on the right leg.
Seated Tibialis Anterior Stretch
Adopt a sitting position by resting on the front of your lower legs with your knees and feet close together. You should feel the stretch along your shinbone and into thighs to a lesser degree. Initially, you may need to support your weight with your hands on the floor to reduce the extent of the stretch, depending on your flexibility in this muscle group.
Seated Abductor Stretch
Sit upright with your left leg extended in front. Bend the right knee and cross over the left leg, placing the foot outside the left knee. Use the left arm to pull the right knee further across and towards the torso to increase the stretch on the hip. The right arm acts as a support behind, keeping the torso upright. Repeat on the left leg.
Seated Adductor Stretch
Sit upright and place the soles of your feet together. Place your hands around both ankles and bring your heels close to your body. Keeping your back straight, apply downward pressure to the inside of the knees using the elbows, sufficient to develop the stretch on the inner thighs.
Lying Hip and Lower Back Stretch
Lie flat on your back with your arms out-stretched at shoulder level. Bend your right leg at the hip and knee and place the right foot over the ankle left knee. Using the left hand, grip the right leg behind the knee and slowly twist to the left, keeping the right arm extended to the side. Progress the stretch by pulling the right leg back and down, thereby increasing the degree of rotation in the lower back. You should feel the stretch on your right hip and lower back area. To exit the stretch, release the right leg slowly and return the back and legs to full floor contact. Repeat on the left leg.
Lying Glute Stretch
Lie flat on your back and bend both legs at the hips and knees, crossing the feet as you do so. Place both hands just below the knees and pull both knees toward your chest. You should feel the stretch on your glutes and hip area.
Standing Mid-Back Stretch
With both feet close together and toes pointing forward, bend at the knees slightly. Bend the torso forward and down and interlock the fingers of both hands behind the knees. Push your spine upwards by pulling the stomach in, creating a curvature along the entire spine. To progress the stretch, pull against the legs, thereby widening the back, and push the spine further upwards.
Standing Chest Stretch
Stand tall with your head up and looking forward and your feet hip-distance apart. Gently clasp the hands behind your back and push the shoulders back and the chest out. Focus on bringing the shoulder blades close together and rounding the chest.
Standing Shoulder Stretch
Stand tall with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Bring your right arm across the chest, keeping it straight. Hook the left arm underneath the right and use it to pull the upper right arm closer to the chest. You should feel the stretch across the outside of the right shoulder. Release both arms slowly and repeat the stretch on the left arm.
Standing Tricep Stretch
Stand tall with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Raise your right arm and reach down your spine with the palm of the right hand against your back. Progress the stretch by gently pulling the right elbow downwards and inwards with the left hand. You should feel the stretch down the back of the right arm. Release both arms slowly and repeat the stretch on the left arm.
Standing Neck Stretch
Stand tall with your head up and looking forward and your feet hip-distance apart. Slowly rotate your head to the right until you feel the stretch along the left hand side of the neck. Return slowly to looking forward and then rotate to the left.