Perhaps the biggest way to treat your muscles kindly is to stretch. Your friends here at Kewlioo compiled some excellent stretching exercises for you to try (and perhaps incorporate into your fitness routine) so you can improve your flexibility, increase your range of motion, and relieve any tension or tightness you may be feeling across your body.
By the way, don’t forget that you can stretch while wearing our activewear, which includes our heat-trapping saunawear, which provides exceptional comfort and durability. Be sure to browse our high-quality and affordable selection so you can get the most out of your fitness routine.
Ten Amazing Stretching Exercises
Please note that many of these stretches also happen to be common yoga poses that you may encounter if you are enrolled—or plan to enroll—in a yoga class! Also, keep in mind that it’s important to hold each stretch for as long as it is comfortable for you (anywhere from 10 seconds to 3 minutes). Modify each stretch as necessary; remember, stretching should be relaxing—not painful—and you should feel only a mild tightness when you perform each stretch.
And whatever you do, don’t forget to breathe; inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth sends a clear signal to your brain, reminding it to relax as you concentrate on the stretch and how fantastic it feels.
Get on all fours or into plank pose (hands underneath your shoulders and the entire front of your body lifted off the ground). Lift your knees and tuck your toes, pushing your pelvis toward the ceiling as you extend and lengthen your spine. Keep your back straight and press through the palms of your hands and balls of your feet. Your body should look as if it’s an upside-down “V.” When you’re ready to come out of this stretch, you can either walk your feet forward and then slowly come into a standing position, or gently return your knees to the floor.
Seated Forward Bend:
Sit on the floor. Extend both legs out in front of you, keeping them together and straight. Lean forward slowly, creasing your hips but not rounding your back. Walk your hands along the outside of each leg or, if you can, hold the sides of your feet with your hands.
Standing Forward Bend (with Clasped Hands):
Stand upright with your feet slightly apart. Interlace your fingers and clasp your hands behind your back, and then tuck your chin as you bend at the hips. Keep your spine long as you raise your clasped hands over your head. The crown of your head should be tilted toward the ground. To come out of this stretch, bend your knees, return to a standing position, and unclasp your hands.
Get on all fours, keeping your wrists positioned underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips. Start with “cow” by arching your lower back, lifting your head, and tilting your pelvis. Gaze toward the ceiling as you hold the stretch. For “cat,” round your spine, lift your abdomen, and tuck your tailbone. Gaze toward the ceiling as you hold the stretch. Move from cat to cow repeatedly until you’re ready to return to a neutral spine position.
Seated Heart Opener:
Begin this stretch by sitting on your heels. When you’re ready, lean back and place your palms flat on the floor with your fingers pointing away. Lift your chest high as you arch your back, push your hips into your heels, and press your hands to the ground. Allow your chest to open as fully as possible.
Lie on your back and extend your arms out to your sides. Bend your knees and then cross your left leg over your right leg. When you’re ready, rotate your knees to the left, bringing them to the floor. Hold this stretch for up to 30 seconds before repeating on the other side.
Overhead Triceps Stretch:
Begin in a standing position, with your feet slightly apart. Reach your left arm overhead and bend your elbow. Allow your hand to drop to the middle of your upper back with your palm facing your back. Reach your right hand overhead and place your fingers on your left elbow to apply light pressure and, therefore, deepen the stretch.
Begin in the standing position, and then step your right foot backward to come into a lunge. Place your hands near your left knee as you reach through the right heel and hold the stretch. Repeat on the other side.
Lie on your back and scoot your hips as close to the wall as possible. Place your legs flat up against the wall. Lower your legs into a straddle position and, if you’d like, place your hands on your inner thighs for support. To come out of this stretch, slide your legs together, bring your knees to your chest, and roll to one side in the fetal position before returning to a seated position.
Lie on your stomach. Place your palms flat on the ground and position your hands underneath your shoulder blades. Lift your upper body off the floor by pressing through the hands and engaging the lower back muscles. Lift as high as you can, roll your shoulders back, keep your ribs low to the floor, and allow your elbows to hug your sides as you settle into this deep backbend. To come out of this stretch, gently lower yourself back to the floor.
Stretching releases endorphins, increases blood flow to your muscles, and even helps prevent workout-related injuries. Since stretching is so good for you, feel free to stretch every day!