Flexibility plays a more important role in our well-being than we may realize. Experts believe that good flexibility helps you to achieve better results in your training, increases mobility and muscle coordination, reduces muscle pain and prevents injuries. Good flexibility also improves blood circulation and it may play an important role in preventing some serious illnesses, like arthritis, diabetes, and kidney problems.
For this reason, we offer you ten flexibility exercises to significantly improve your mobility and elasticity. With these exercises, you will surely get more agile and strong muscles and joints. Get ready to work out your whole body and the results will amaze you sooner than you think!
We at GymGuider.com prepared some exercises to help you increase your flexibility. Do them after your regular workout or a couple of times a week for 4 weeks and the results will amaze you sooner than you think.
1- Cat and cow stretching
A cat-cow stretch is great for starting to warm up the spine, and also works the flexibility of the back, neck, and shoulders. Get on your hands and knees. Arch your back slowly, dropping your stomach to the floor and lifting your head. Pause for a few seconds. Slowly roll your back up like a cat. Perform 10 repetitions.
The cat stretch is an effective yet gentle means of flexing your spine. It is also the first half of a yoga sequence called the Cat-Cow pose (shown below), which ends in extending your spine.
These stretches can increase the mobility of your spine and encourage blood flow to the back, nourishing the spine and back muscles and potentially decreasing stiffness.4
To do the cat stretch:
- Get on the floor on your hands and knees.
- Place your hands directly under your shoulders.
- While exhaling, push your back up toward the ceiling, rolling your back into an upward arch (like a cat).
- Continue arching until you feel a gentle stretch in your upper back and between your shoulder blades.
- Hold for five seconds.
- Return to the starting position as you exhale.
- Repeat nine more times.
This stretch builds on the cat stretch mentioned above.
Instead of returning to the start position of the cat stretch, transition directly into the cow stretch as follows:5
- As you descend from the cat stretch, continue lowering your back as you inhale until it is in a downward arch position (like a slope-backed cow).
- You can further extend the stretch by lifting your pelvis toward the ceiling while dropping your navel toward the ground.
- Hold for five seconds.
- Transition your back into the cat position as you exhale.
- Repeat nine more times.
Always be careful not to hyperextend your spine. Make sure the movements are slow and controlled. Do not rush.
2- Back extension stretch
Back extension stretching is great for stretching your back, just make sure you don’t overextend it. If you feel any pain or discomfort in your neck, you’ve probably overdone it. Lie on your stomach. Come up on your elbows keeping your stomach flat on the floor. Then push up with your hands, in a pseudo-push-up position, but keep your hips on the floor. Stay in the position for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times.
3- Side Angle Stretch
The side angle stretch works several muscles, the spine, groin, hamstrings, and abdominal. Spread your feet about 5 feet apart. Extend your arms so that they are parallel to the floor. Lean to your right side, bending your right knee and resting your right elbow on your knee. Extend your left arm toward the ceiling, keeping a straight line from your left foot to your left hand. If you can, lower the right hand to the floor behind the right foot. Hold the position for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
4- Extended puppy stretch
The extended puppy stretch is great for the entire upper body, including the back, shoulders, and arms. Get on all fours keeping your hands under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Slowly move your hands forward, lowering your chest to the floor. Keep your arms off the floor. Hold the position for 30 seconds and slowly return to the starting position. Now repeat 3 times.
5- Lateral Lunge Stretch
Let’s move on to the legs, starting with this lateral leg stretch. It works the legs and hips. Start standing, with your feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly transfer your body weight to your right side. Stride to your right side. Hold the position for 30 seconds. Perform 3 repetitions on each side.
6- Sitting Hamstring Stretch
Sit on the floor with both legs stretched out in front of you. Extend your arms and lean forward, trying to reach as far as possible, keeping your legs straight. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times.
7- Seated Straddle Stretch
The seated straddle stretch works to increase flexibility in the inner and outer legs. Start in a seated position. Stretch your legs out to the sides as far as you can. Extend your arms forward as far as you can. Hold this position for 30 seconds.
8- The hurdler’s hamstring stretch
This hurdler’s hamstring stretch works the flexibility of the hamstrings and calves. Sit on the floor with one leg straight. Bend the other leg at the knee and place the foot near the inside of the opposite thigh. Extend your arms overhead and lean forward over the straight leg. Maintain this position for 30 seconds and repeat with the other leg.
9- Seated spinal twist
The seated spinal twist is ideal for increasing flexibility in the shoulders, chest and spine. Sit on the floor and keep your legs straight. Bend your right knee and place it over your left leg. Hold the position for 30 seconds and return to the starting position. Perform the same on the other side.
10- Bridge stretch
Bridge stretching not only is an effective exercise for the trunk, but it is also good for stretching the neck, spine, thighs and hips. Lie on your back with your knees bent. Slowly raise your hips, keeping your shoulders on the floor and your feet flat. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times.