Stretch Those Muscles: 6 Pre-Workout Stretching Exercises

Everybody always says that you need to stretch before you start a workout. But how important is it, really? The answer: VERY!

A good stretch will warm your muscles and body up and prepare them for the rigorous strain you are about to put them through. Stretching also helps to avoid cramps and injuries like torn muscles. Yes, exercises can be dangerous if not done right. One important thing to keep in mind also is to invest in good gymwear like trainers, sports bras and comfortable yoga pants. Here are a few simple stretches for different parts of your body.

1. Neck
Neck muscles are used the most as the neck bears the strain for every exercise we do. It is also the most neglected part while we focus on stretching other parts of our body. Hence, don’t skip out on this one. This stretching exercise is good for relaxing stiff and sore muscles. You can do this stretch for as long as you want.

stretching exercises

How To Do It
-Tilt your head to one side. Gently push your head down by placing your hand on the head.
-Repeat on the other side.
-This will stretch not only your neck, but also the area between your shoulder blades.

2. Quadriceps
This exercise is good before a run as it will stretch the ankle and muscles of your thighs. It’s very helpful for people with knee pain as it helps in strengthening the knee muscles as well. Do this stretch for 20 to 30 seconds before your workout. You can repeat the process 3-5 times per leg.

stretching exercises

How To Do It
-Stand straight while holding onto a wall or a solid object with one hand.
-Lift one heel towards your buttocks and grasp your foot with the other hand.
-Inhale, while slowly pushing the heel towards your buttocks.
-Repeat with the other heel.

3. Spine
It is good when you have backaches and are about to do some heavy lifting. The exercise helps in elongating the spine and relieving back pain. Hold for 10 seconds, relax and repeat 5-10 times.

stretching exercises

How To Do It
-Lie on your stomach with your hands close to your chest and fingers pointing outwards.
-Push yourself up while keeping your feet firmly in place.
-Look up towards the ceiling, while stretching as far as possible, curving and elongating the spine.

4. Lower Back
This is a good one to loosen up those tight knots in the lower part of your body. Hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds, then switch and repeat five times for each leg.

stretching exercises

How To Do It
-Lie flat on your back.
-Lift one leg up to your chest.
-Place both hands on your knee and push the lifted leg down gently towards the chest. Repeat with the other leg.

5. Shoulders
This stretch helps in stretching those tight shoulder muscles, thus preventing injuries to the shoulder joint that can result after a hard workout. Do this stretch for 10 seconds and five times for each arm. Keep inhaling and exhaling, slowly.

stretching exercises

How To Do It
-Cross one arm horizontally across your chest while grasping it with your other hand just below or at the elbow joint.
-Exhale slowly, while pulling your outstretched arm in towards your chest. Repeat with the other arm.

6. Hamstring
This is another important exercise to do before and after a run or climb. It loosens the calf, ankle and hamstring muscles that are prone to cramping. Do this stretch for 10 seconds and gradually you can increase upto 30 seconds. Repeat this exercise 3-5 times for each leg.

 

stretching exercises

How To Do It
-Sit on the floor with both your legs stretched out in front of you.
-Bend one leg at the knee in towards the other leg (as shown in the picture).
-Stretch out by bending at the waist.
-Reach for the outstretched leg with both hands. Repeat with the other leg.

 

What did you think about our picks for stretching exercises? Let us know.

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Images courtesy: herniated-disc-treatment.info, mybodyhealth.net, wikihow.com, discovery.co.za, webmd.com

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