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15 Of The Best Stretches For Flexibility

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15 Of The Best Stretches For Flexibility
best stretches for flexibility

Here at Sweat, we’ll be the first to admit that stretching often falls to the bottom of our movement priorities. Whoops. On days when you’re struggling to meet your daily step target, let alone fit in a workout, stretching often slips by the wayside, but we’re here to remind you of what a positive difference it can make to your next workout and everyday movement. 

Making stretching part of your weekly routine is a great way to reduce your risk of injury and post-workout muscle soreness, while also boosting your recovery, mobility, flexibility and overall athletic performance. Whether it works better for you to have a few minutes of stretching at the end of every workout or a longer recovery session once a week, try to fall in love with stretching and it’ll love you back.

If you’re following a Sweat program where the workouts are split by specific muscle groups (such as hamstrings and glutes) or a general body area (such as upper and lower body), one of the simplest ways to make stretching part of your routine is to spend five minutes at the end of your Sweat session performing upper or lower body stretches to loosen up the muscles you’ve just worked. 

All Sweat workouts come with a cool-down or stretch session designed to compliment the work you’ve just done, but here are 15 of the best stretches for your upper and lower body for any day of the week!

Upper body stretches

Biceps and chest stretch

As well as stretching out your biceps and arms, this should feel like a great shoulder and chest-opener.

Lateral stretch

You should feel this as a nice stretch all down the side of your body with your arm raised. Repeat on both sides.

Anterior deltoid stretch

This is a perfect stretch if you’re looking to ease the tension in your shoulders, all the way from the front to the back. 

Deltoid stretch

Simple yet effective, you’ve probably been doing this shoulder stretch since your high school gym classes. 

Forearm stretch

Forearms aren’t an area of the body we typically think about stretching, but they can get quite tight and this feels great. Wait, tight forearms? You bet. You might not be actively trying to work out your forearms, they can get tight through exercises such as pull-ups, dumbbell curls, deadlifts, rows, or any kind of exercise that involves hanging from rings or a bar. 

Tricep stretch

Many Sweat programs involve tricep exercises such as tricep dips, tricep push-ups or tricep extensions using a cable machine. If you’ve given your triceps a good workout, give them some love with a good stretch afterwards.

Chest opening stretch

Push-ups, bench press and chest flys are powerful exercises for building chest strength, but the last thing you want to do isfind your mobility or strength becomes limited over time from having tight muscles that never get stretched out. Spread your wings wide and stretch it out!

Upward dog

Open up your chest and shoulders while giving your core a nice stretch with upward dog. This feels fantastic after an ab workout, and you can easily turn it into a downward dog to add in a lower-body stretch. 

Lower body stretches

Kneeling hip flexor stretch

Hip flexors are a common problem area for many people when it comes to muscle tightness, which can have a noticeable effect on your mobility during movements like squats, or even causing pain in surrounding areas such as your lower back and glutes.

Adductors stretch or butterfly

Maintaining or working on your adductor flexibility is important if you’re regularly performing lower-body exercises such as squats and lunges. This stretch feels tight for many people, so try to sit in a position that feels like a gentle stretch without straining yourself.

Calf stretch

We inadvertently work our calves all day when we’re walking, running and working out. This can feel great as a static stretch, or you can slowly and gently pedal your feet to make it a dynamic stretch.

Calves and hamstring stretch

Get two for the price of one with this lower-body stretch, or reach your arms out to add in an upper-body stretch too. Aside from your calves and hamstrings, it’s also common to feel this in your adductors (inner thighs). 

Quad stretch

Although this is a common stretch, it’s also common for people to “not feel it”. If you’re holding this stretch and not feeling it in your quad, rather than trying to pull your knee or foot further back, focus on squeezing your glutes and pushing your hips forward.

Glute and hip flexor stretch

To get the most out of this stretch, try to keep your hips level and facing forward, rather than letting them twist or lift. If that means your stretch isn’t as deep, that’s ok!

Glute stretch

This is one of our faves for a fantastic glute stretch. It can take a bit of practice to get your legs and arms in the right place, but it hits every time.

Regular stretching does your body just as much of a favour as regular cardio or strength training. As much as we love an hour long yoga flow, you definitely don’t need that much time to reap the benefits of stretching. A few minutes after each workout is all you need if you’re short on time!

* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.

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