Natural Fitness Studio

Flexibility

Here are some static stretches that should be done before and after any strength or cardiovascular training, as well as throughout the day. All static stretches should be held for 20-30 seconds and performed 2-3 times each. Also, there should be no pain felt while executing the stretches. Maintain normal breathing.

1. Chest: Place your palm against the edge of a wall with your arm in line with the chest. Place your palm against the wall, lean away from the palm and hold. You should feel a comfortable stretch in the chest and bicep. Also, raise your arm up high and down low to stretch the chest at different angles. Switch sides.

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2. Back: Place one hand on anything stationary, like a bar or post. Hold the bar with your right hand, bend forward at the waist and reach back with the same leg (right leg) as the stretching arm. Lower your body down until you feel the stretch and then hold. You should feel the stretch down the side of your body. If you do not reach back a little further with your leg and bring your upper body lower to the ground. Switch Sides.

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3. Back and Triceps: Bring your right wrist behind your head raising your elbow in the air. Grasp the right elbow with your left hand. Gently pull the elbow in behind your head, side bend to the left and hold. You should feel the stretch in the triceps and down the side of your body. Switch sides.

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4. Quadriceps

Quadriceps (front of the upper leg): Using a stretching strap or belt on the foot, bring your knee onto a level surface such as a couch or the floor. Place the stretching knee down on the surface while keeping the opposite leg in a staggered stance with the foot on the floor. Lean forward on the front leg while stretching the hip. Then, using the arms, bring the foot towards your glutes (your butt) almost to the point where the heel will touch, stretching the quadriceps. Switch sides. Alternative Quadriceps stretch: Stand and grab your right foot. Bring your heel towards your glutes and hold.

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5. Hamstrings: Standing tall, raise your right leg up placing the heel up on anything elevated, such as a box, stairs, or bench and maintain a slight bend in the knee. With your toes up and heel elevated, lean forward by bending at the waist, reaching forward towards the elevated toes, and hold. You should feel a stretch in the back of the upper leg. Keep your back foot straight and hips square. Switch sides.

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6. Calves (Gastrocnemius): Standing tall, place the ball of your foot against the wall, keeping your leg straight. Be careful: this is a very quick stretch. Lean the whole body forward keeping the foot stationary and hold. Do not let the heel rise off the floor. You should feel the stretch in the back of the lower leg. Switch sides. Alternative: Place your foot in different directions, i.e. toes out and toes in, to get different stretches.

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7. Calves (Soleus): Perform this stretch the same way as the last calf stretch, but this time maintain a 20-30 degree bend in the knee instead of keeping the leg straight. Hold, and then switch sides. You should feel the stretch more in the bottom of the lower calf. Alternative: Place your foot in different directions, i.e. toes out and toes in, to get different stretches.

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8. Quadratus Lumborum: Place your left hand behind your head, lean down towards your right knee and turn your left shoulder up towards the ceiling. Drop your right elbow down between your legs. You should feel the stretch in the lower left side of the back. Switch sides.

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9. Scalenes (side of the neck): Place your right arm behind your back in order to keep the right shoulder down. Bring your chin back and keep your eyes straight ahead. Gently grab the side of your head and bring your left ear towards your shoulder. You should feel a gentle stretch on the right side of your neck. Switch sides.

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10. Levator (back of the neck): Place your right arm behind your back in order to keep your right shoulder down. Look to your left and then down at your shoulder. While tucking your chin inward, grab the back of your head and gently pull down towards your left shoulder. Switch sides.

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11. SCM Stretch: First, look straight ahead with your chin back slightly. Then, look to your left. With your mouth closed, look up to the ceiling and hold the stretch. Switch sides. You should feel the stretch in the front of the neck to the jaw.

 

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12. Psoas: Stand next to a wall for balance. In a staggered stance, place your left foot behind your right and turn your left foot in towards the body. Lean forward by placing your body weight onto the right leg in order to get a stretch in the front, upper left hip. Squeeze your left glute and keep the belly tight. Next, reach up with the left arm and side bend to the right to get a stretch in the left side. Lastly, rotate the body towards the left and lean back slightly. You should feel a stretch through the front of the left side. Switch sides.

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13. TFL: Stand next to a wall for balance. In a staggered stance, place your left foot in behind your right and turn your left foot out away from the body. Lean forward by placing your body weight onto the right leg in order to get a stretch in the front, upper left hip. Squeeze your left glute and keep the belly tight. Next, reach up with the left arm and side bend to the right to get a stretch in the left side. Switch sides.

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14. Glute Medius/ Piriformis: Lay down on your back. Bring your right knee to your chest and place your right hand on your right knee and your left hand on your right ankle. Keep your left straight on the floor. Then pull both your knee and ankle gently towards the middle of your chest with your hands. You should feel the stretch in your right glut (your butt). Switch sides.

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15. Low Back/ Hip: Lye on your back with your right knee across your left knee, both knees bent about 45 degrees. With your right arm lying above your shoulder on the floor, and your left arm by your side, let both knees gently fall to the floor towards your left hand. Take a couple of deep breaths in and out as you stretch. Slowly straighten the legs out on the floor and then switch sides. You can also use your left hand for assistance.

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16. Doorway Chest Stretch: Stand in a doorway and place both arms against the wall with your palms flat and elbows touching. Elbows should be in line with your chest. Place one leg forward for balance and lean forward with your torso until you feel a stretch in your chest.

 

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17. Two arm back stretch: Hold onto anything stationary. Stand with your feet apart about hip width. Place one hand with an overhand grip and one with an underhand grip on top of a bar. Bend forward at your waist and lower your head between your arms. You should feel the stretch down both sides of your back. Hold for 5-10 seconds and then switch hands. Repeat 3-4 times.

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