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There are many reasons to stretch. These include:

  • relaxing tense muscles
  • stretching out (lengthening) the fibres of a particular muscle post exercise
  • stretching out a particular muscle following injury or a period of inactivity
  • improving flexibility
  • improving posture
  • simply because it feels good

This series of stretches can be done completely in a standing position, so it is suitable for all fitness levels and abilities. Also see 14 stretches on a matt.

  • Focus on your breathing throughout the routine.
  • Aim to hold each stretch for 10-15 seconds.
  • Breathe in as you move into the stretch and then slowly out.
Overhead stretch
  • breathe in as you lift arms above head, out as you go down.
Upper body twist
  • slowly rotate from side to side, feeling a gentle stretch in your spine from top to bottom.
Hamstring (back of upper leg)
  • stand tall with one leg forward (focus weight here), back leg slightly bent.
  • to increase stretch, tip upper body slightly forward.
Calves (back of lower leg)
  • lean against post or wall.
  • back leg straight (focus weight here), front leg slightly bent.
Glutes (buttocks)
  • hold onto post or table.
  • slowly sit back with one leg crossed over opposite knee.
  • focus on keeping weight through heel of foot on floor and upper body tall
Quads (front upper thigh)
  • grab one ankle and pull up towards bum.
  • stand tall and keep other knee slightly bent.
Upper back
  • lean forward with outstretched arms, focusing on stretch and release through upper back.
Pecs (chest)
  • place both hands flat on lower back
  • slowly breathe in and lift chest area up as you breathe out.
Triceps (back of upper arm)
  • one hand over head and down between shoulder blades (as if scratching your back).
  • gently push down elbow with other hand
Obliques (side of torso) and hips
  • place left foot across right
  • bring left arm over head and lean sideways
Spinal breathing
  • helps the spine to breathe and feel ‘energised’ from top to bottom
  • roll slowly forward moving head towards knees as you exhale
  • inhale and slowly unroll spine back up, bringing arms and shoulders blades towards each other behind you.

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