Mentalize yourself. The stretches are part of the training and must itself perform them before and after exercise. Don’t skip them due to lack of time and start putting into practice the most complete stretching routine. Keep reading!
There are different exercises whose purpose is to get the muscles to stretch smoothly with a double objective: to prepare them for the effort they are going to make during the training and to promote their recovery once it is finished. Stretching is also the best way to prevent injuries such as pulls, muscle contractures or stiffness and, also, the best measure to avoid (or minimize) stiffness, especially in the first days of training.
A good series of stretches must be as complete as possible, that is, it must affect the whole of the muscles while focusing on those muscles that have intervened more intensely in the exercise. Lower body, arms, back … spending a few minutes stretching allows the elongation of all your muscles, making you gain flexibility and take care of your joints.
Basic exercises in a complete stretching routine
Stretching will take you little time and will bring you significant benefits. Remember to make gentle movements, without straining the muscles and without the stretching being painful at any time. When you stretch, don’t bounce. Let the muscle relax and hold each pose for a few seconds. By muscle groups, among the best stretches with which to design your own routine are:
How to stretch the lower body
Legs and buttocks work hard in the gym and also when you do sports such as running or cycling. To prepare and recover the muscles in the area, you can do these stretches.
- Heel to glute. Standing, hold the instep of your right leg with your right hand. Bend your knee back to bring your heel to your glute. This way, you will be perfectly stretching your quadriceps. Repeat with the opposite leg and, to maintain balance, you can rest your free hand on a wall.
- Knee to chest. It is about relaxing the glutes and stretching the muscles of the back of your thighs doing the reverse movement to the previous exercise. Standing, grab the arch of your right knee (same hand) and raise it towards the chest trying not to bend the trunk. Same with the opposite leg.
- Full leg stretch. Avoid calf discomfort with these calf relaxation stretches. Sitting, with your legs straight, raise your insteps (toes up), hold for a few seconds and return to the starting position. Complete the exercise by bending your trunk forward to try to grasp the soles of your feet while keeping your legs straight. You will clearly notice the muscle elongation in the area.
How to stretch your upper body
Arms, neck, back, intercostal muscles… A complete stretching routine must include specific movements to avoid muscular discomfort or painful contractures that can appear especially in the upper back area. Of course, do not make the typical mistakes when stretching that can put your muscles at risk. Take note of these exercises:
- Global stretch (arms, chest and back). This simple movement is most effective for stretching shoulders, biceps, and triceps. Standing, extend your arms forward at chest level with your palms facing up (as if you were pushing a wall). Roll your shoulders forward, hold for a few seconds, and bring them back. Next, do a second stretch, bringing your extended arms back with your palms facing up. Raise your arms as far as you can without feeling pain, just noticing how you stretch your muscles.
- Neck and nape. It is about moving your neck slowly, holding the posture in all possible directions. To the right and left (ear to shoulder), forward (chin to chest) and back.
- Hips, waist and intercostal muscles. Standing, stretch your arms over your head and clasp your hands. Now, bend your torso to the right and hold the stretch for a few seconds. Repeat on the opposite side. Another exercise, with the same effects, that you can include in your stretching routine, especially at the end of the training session, consists of lying on your back with your legs bent and your back pressed to the ground while bringing your knees to the right first and, after seconds to the left.
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