Stretching is a must in your workout. Although many people fail to include even the simplest form stretching in their exercise routine, it is a crucial aspect that should never be overlooked. In this article, you will learn some of the easiest and beginner-friendly stretching exercises you could incorporate in your daily workout routine for optimum flexibility.
Aside from improving flexibility, regular stretching brings in tons of other helpful benefits, like:
- Eases muscle tension and stiffness
- Optimizes your workout endurance
- Improves mobility
- Enhances blood circulation which shortens recovery time and soreness
- Provides better posture
- Calms your mind and soul
- Helps alleviate or manage stress
- Readies the body for the stress of exercise
- Helps prevent injuries
- Minimizes risk of lower back pain
- Helps you perform daily tasks easier
Beginner stretching exercises to try
Here are some beginner-friendly stretching exercises you should start adding in your workout routine.
1. Overhead stretch
This exercise targets your shoulders, neck, and back.
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, and both knees and hips relaxed.
- Interlace fingers and raise your arms above your head, palms facing up, and extending both arms.
- Take slow deep breaths, while extending arms even further on every exhale.
- Relax and repeat.
2. Abdomen stretch
This exercise concentrates on engaging muscles in your abdomen.
- Lie down on your stomach.
- Position your hands on the ground, palms facing down, and ensure they are parallel with shoulders.
- Straighten arms, then lift the upper torso.
- Keep your head aligned with the spine.
3. Supine stretch
This form targets to engage your lower back.
- Lie down on your back.
- Bend knees and keep feet resting on the ground
- Lift both knees and embrace them.
- Interlace hands behind thighs to pull knees towards you.
- Hold the position for 30 seconds.
- Release and repeat.
4. Supine hamstring stretch
This beginner-friendly exercise targets your hamstring and lower back.
- Lie flat on the ground.
- Bend knees and keep feet on the floor.
- Lift your left leg and straighten it, keeping your knee slightly bent.
- Put your hands around your left leg and bring it close to the chest.
- Hold for 30 seconds.
- Release and repeat.
5. Runner’s stretch
This position stretches limbs and hamstrings.
- In a standing position, step right foot forward and lower self into a lunge.
- Place fingertips on the ground.
- Suck in a breath, then exhale as you straighten your right leg.
- Return to lunge position slowly.
- Repeat the process four more times.
- Switch to the left side and repeat.
6. Standing side stretch
This simple stretching targets to engage the upper torso and arms.
- Stand with feet close together, and both arms raised.
- Interlace fingers keeping pointer fingers extended.
- Suck in a breath when reaching upward.
- Bend your upper torso to the right and exhale.
- Hold the position and take five slow breaths.
- Slowly return to the center.
- Repeat the process on your left side.
7. Forward hang
This beginner stretching exercise aims to engage the upper torso, hamstrings, and arms.
- Stand with feet hip-width apart and slightly bent knees.
- Interlace fingers behind your back.
- Suck in a deep breath and extend arms to open your chest.
- Exhale and bend forward with the head at thigh-level while letting your hands stretch upward.
- Hold the position for five deep breaths.
8. Standing Hip Flexor Stretch
This stretching exercise targets to engage the psoas muscle, which tends to tighten due to extended sitting and tiresome exercises.
- Stand with your left foot two steps forward, leaving the right foot back.
- Slightly lower the back knee and tailbone to the ground with the pelvis tucked forward.
- Keep a straight spine and avoid arching or bending the back.
- Hold the position and switch on the other side.
9. Seated head-toward-knee stretch
This stretching exercise engages the back of thighs and helps decrease tension in the back.
- Sit on a flat surface with the right leg stretched out in front of you. Tuck your left leg in with your foot resting in front of the crotch.
- Straighten your spine and slowly swivel the upper torso toward the right leg.
- Gently bend forward.
- Hold the position and switch sides.
10. Kneeling Reach
This simple stretching concentrates on your shoulders.
- Kneel on a flat surface and raise both arms in front of you.
- Stretch buttocks towards the ground and keep arms raised.
- Hold the position for 15 seconds before releasing it.
Additional pointers in stretching
Here are some habits that will help you get the optimum flexibility that stretching exercises offer:
Don’t hold your breath.
Avoid doing this. You should aim to maintain a steady and smooth breathing pattern as you perform various stretching exercises.
Avoid bouncing or jerking movements.
Experts recommend avoiding bouncing during stretching unless you have been told by your doctor otherwise. Holding your stretch is most effective in promoting flexibility.
Some exercises will test your capacity to reach some points you have never touched before. While this gradually improves your flexibility, remember not to overdo it when you know some parts of your body begin to hurt. You should feel the pressure when stretching, not any form of pain.
Don’t overwork the same group of muscles.
Doing repetitive stretching exercises on the same muscles will cause overstretching or, worse, some severe injuries.
Hold your stretch a little longer.
For every stretching exercise, try to hold your stretch for 10-30 seconds before releasing. This allows you to be more efficient in engaging the areas of your body you want to engage.
Remember that post-workout is the best time to do stretching exercises.
Muscles are more pliable when warm; thus, it is recommended to perform stretching after enduring some prior workout. You can even do so after a hot shower or a warm bath. However, if you are not working out before stretching, warm up first for at least 5-10 minutes.
Stretching is a convenient form of exercise you can do, even at home. But don’t be deceived by its simplicity as it brings in a ton of benefits in your physical fitness.
Want to get more in-depth training in various stretching exercises you can explore? Here’s an online mastery course to achieve optimum flexibility, Stretch Those Limbs with Beginner Stretching.