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.
- 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.
- 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.
- lean forward with outstretched arms, focusing on stretch and release through upper back.
- 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
- 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.