The 10 Best Stretches for Total Body Flexibility

The 10 Best Stretches for Total Body Flexibility

We've all been told time and time again that stretching daily, as well as before and after exercise, is very important for our muscles - so why is it so hard to commit 10-15 minutes actually doing it? For a lot of us, stretching is, well, boring. When we run a hill sprint or bench press weight, we feel the energy we use to perform such tasks and equate results in the mirror to the time spent physically exerting our bodies.

So why bother with stretching? For starters, it helps prevent injury which should be motivation enough. There's nothing like a sprained ankle to put a screeching halt on a workout routine and make getting around in general more difficult. When you stretch, you also help your joints move through their full range of motion, which leads to them working more effectively.

No matter your activity level or age, you can benefit from committing 10-15 minutes towards getting a good stretch in every day. Follow these 10 best stretches to work your whole body, performing each one on both sides 1-3 times for 15-30 seconds each.

1. Quad Stretch

  1. Stand upright and bend one leg back, grabbing the top of that foot.
  2. Bring your foot as close to your butt as possible while keeping your bent knee inline with your other knee.
  3. Push your hips forward for a deepened stretch.
  4. Hold onto a wall for balance if needed and repeat on the other leg.
2. Hamstring Stretch

  1. Stand upright, bending one knee and extending the other out straight in front of you about 6 inches.
  2. Make sure you are bending at the hips and keeping your back straight.
  3. Lower your chest down until you feel a stretch in the back of the extended leg.
3. Thigh Stretch

  1. Sit up straight on the ground with knees bent and soles of your feet touching one another.
  2. Grasp your feet with you hands.
  3. Gently push down on your knees with your elbows to deepen the stretch.
4. Hip Stretch

  1. Lie on your back and bend both knees with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Bring your left knee closer to your chest and bend it at 90 degrees so your calf crosses over your body.
  3. Bring your right knee towards your chest, making contact with the ankle or shin of your left leg.
  4. Wrap your hands around your right leg and pull it closer to your body, deepening the stretch.
5. Chest and Shoulder Stretch

  1. Stand up straight or sit on a surface so that your legs are at a 90 degree angle.
  2. Clasp your hands together behind your back so that your arms are extended behind you.
  3. Lift your hands to the ceiling to stretch your chest and shoulders.
6. Upper Back Stretch

  1. Stand up straight or sit on a surface so that your legs are at a 90 degree angle.
  2. Place one hand on top of the other with arms straight in front of you.
  3. Press your arms away from your body.
7. Bicep Stretch

  1. Lift your arms straight out to the sides of you.
  2. Make a thumbs up with both hands and rotate your thumbs down and then back up until they are pointing to the back of you.
8. Tricep Stretch

    1. Raise one arm straight above you, then bend your elbow so that your forearm is behind your head.
    2. Gently push your bent elbow back with your other hand.
9. Shoulder Stretch

      1. Take one arm and extend it across your body.
      2. Gently press and pull your extended arm to deepen the stretch.
10. Side Stretch

      1. Raise your arms straight above you and clasp your hands together.
      2. Push your hands up and then over to each side of you.
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