Stretching helps to make stiff muscles more elastic, which is important for body composition and joint mobility. Flexibility is the improvement of coordination, beauty and pleasant sensations in the body.
We present a set of exercises to increase body flexibility, which can be done at home.
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Why do you need exercises for flexibility
Exercises to increase body flexibility help to become more graceful, improve blood circulation and coordination of movements, strengthen joints and relieve muscle fatigue.
Most of these exercises are enough to repeat 2-3 times daily in breaks between work, as a morning exercise or a final stage of any cardio and strength training. Stretch specific muscle groups as needed (feeling of tightness, pain, insufficient mobility) or perform a complex for the whole body. Before starting the exercises, it is worth doing a little warm-up to warm up the ligaments and joints. Consult a doctor or trainer before changing your sports load; refrain from exercises if you have pain and problems with the musculoskeletal system.
To achieve the result faster, you need to devote only 20-30 minutes to your body, but every day. Depending on your lifestyle and daily habits, you can split the complex into several parts and repeat only those exercises that your body needs during the day.
10 exercises for flexibility
The exercises are universal and suitable for everyone, regardless of age and level of preparation. Each organism is individual, everyone has their own characteristics, so when performing the exercises, listen to your body. Any movement – to a comfortable stretch. If you experience pain while doing the exercise, exclude it from the complex.
Sit upright, preferably on a hard surface, a regular chair will do. Keep your back straight, your legs together, and your hands on your knees. Slowly turn your head to the left, hold at the end point for 10-15 seconds, return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
The neck muscles are connected to the collarbone, shoulder blade and shoulder. For a comprehensive stretch, you need to use movements in three planes. Tilt your head up/down, turn right/left, tilt right/left. To feel the lengthening of each muscle, you should move two points away from each other: stretch your ear up, and your shoulder – in the opposite direction to the floor. Do 4-5 repetitions on each side, holding the end position for 10-15 seconds.
Exercise to relieve tension in the upper back. Sit on the floor, bend your knees in front of you, place your feet on the floor. Clasp your hands behind your back, straighten them and stretch, squeezing your shoulder blades.
Rotate your shoulders outward, creating tension behind your thumbs back, and slowly move your hands behind you. As soon as you feel the stretch in your chest muscles or your shoulder starts to turn inward, stop and fix the position of your hands, if necessary you can lean against the wall. Hold at the point of maximum tension for 20-30 seconds. Do 8-10 repetitions.
The piriformis muscle is a deep internal rotator of the thigh, located on the outer side of the buttocks. Sit on the floor, stretching both legs in front of you. Bend your right leg over your left and place your right foot on the floor. Lean on your right hand behind your back, place your elbow on your right knee and turn to the right. The exercise stretches the thighs, buttocks and back. Keep your breathing even and increase the rotation of your torso with each exhale. Do 6-8 repetitions on each side, holding the stretch for 10-15 seconds.
Back of the thigh
Stand up straight, exhale and put your right leg forward with a straight knee, toe towards you. Lean over and place your hands on either side of your leg, look straight ahead. If you need more stretching, hold in the furthest position you can reach. Then straighten up and repeat on the left leg.
If you can’t touch the floor, put your hands on your hips and push your pelvis back, lifting your sacrum up, make a slight bend with a straight back. Hold the stretch position for 20-30 seconds, do 8-10 repetitions on each side.
Stand up straight, feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, arms along your body. On the exhale, bend forward; neck, head and shoulders relaxed. If you can, you can wrap your arms around your legs. Hold at the bottom point for 40-60 seconds, relaxing your whole body. Slowly exhale and return back, lifting your spine “vertebra by vertebra”.
A great exercise, in which you can also work on the mobility of the thoracic spine and shoulder blades. From a standing position, take a wide step forward with your right leg, bend your left knee and make a lunge, keeping a 90° angle in your knees, palms on the floor for support. You should feel a stretch in the front of your left thigh. Draw a wide circle with one hand from the floor to the ceiling, rotating the thoracic spine to the side of the bent knee, at the end position bring the shoulder blade to the center of the spine, performing a pulling movement. Do 8-10 rotations on each side, this will be enough for a warm-up. When stretching for a long time, hold with your arm straight for 20-30 seconds, 6-8 repetitions.
Put your left hand on the floor, turn your torso to the right, and stretch your right arm to the ceiling. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Spine and shoulders
A simple exercise, accessible even to beginners and useful for those who spend a lot of time sitting at the computer. Improves the flexibility of the neck, back and shoulders. Get on all fours, rest your palms on the floor; arms under shoulders. Slowly arch your spine, lifting your head to the ceiling. Hold this position for 3-5 seconds and exhale, arch your back in the opposite direction, rounding your back. Repeat 7-10 times.
Perform the exercise as a warm-up before the main part of the workout or as a relieving exercise during the day. In a more accessible version, you can do it sitting on a chair and leaning on straight arms on the table.
The exercise helps to relieve symptoms associated with knee pain, stretch the muscles – flexors and extensors of the thigh. Lie on your back, placing your feet on the floor. Cross your left leg over your right thigh. Lift your right leg off the floor. Grab your right leg from behind and gently pull it to your chest. When you feel the stretch, hold this position for 30-60 seconds. Switch legs and repeat.
Simultaneous stretching of the inner surface of the thigh of one leg and the outer one of the other.
This is one of the popular exercises that improves mobility in the hip joint. It is ideal as a dynamic warm-up. Starting position: sitting on the ischial bones, legs bent and slightly wider than shoulders, turn to the side, lowering both shins to the floor. Before holding the end position, work out the joint dynamically, moving your knees right/left, increasing the amplitude each time, after 8-10 repetitions on each side, both knees and both buttocks should be close to the floor. For a long stretch, reach forward with your hands and hold the position for 20-30 seconds.
Most people often cross their legs during the day, which leads to tension and pain in the lower back. This exercise helps to stretch the groin area and is especially useful for a sedentary lifestyle. Start on all fours. Spread your knees shoulder-width apart. Turn your toes out and place the inner edges of your feet on the floor. Return your hips to your heels. If you can, continue to stretch your arms and forearms. Hold the position from 30 seconds to two minutes.