Perform these four stretching moves before your work-out
There’s a vast range of stretching movements you can do for every part of your body; for this article, we want to focus on a simple sequence of movements that affects your entire body. We’ve gotten this stretching exercise from Adam Bornstein, , and one of our favourite fitness experts.
Before we continue, here’s a quick round-up of some key benefits to stretching:
- Increased flexibility
- Flexibility allows us to accomplish everyday tasks of daily living such as bending over to tie our shoes, or reaching to put groceries away in a cupboard. More demanding tasks such as jumping to throw a basketball or swim 100 meters are also easier if your joints can be taken through a full range of motion with minimal effort.
- Flexibility minimizes our risk of injury by allowing joints to move through their full range of motion without putting strain on ligaments or capsular structures.
- Flexibility allows for good circulation. This circulation is necessary to provide working muscles with nutrients and to allow for a speedy recovery following exercise.
- Thanks to better recovery through stretching, muscle soreness is mitigated, allowing you to keep progressing
- Flexibility allows you to maintain a good posture. Tight muscles will pull you into poor postures.
- Stretching exercises help muscles to relax, relieving tension.
And now that we (hopefully) convinced you that you should be stretching on a regular basis, we’re going over the four step stretching exercise we recommend you do whenever you don’t have time for a more thorough stretching session.
For this stretching exercise, you’re going to be moving from one step to another, so in other words, there’s no ‘rest’ between each move you make.
Step 1: Walking High Knee Hug
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides. Step forward with your right leg, bend your knee, and lean forward slightly at your hips. Lift your right knee toward your chest, grasping it with both hands just below your kneecap.
Then pull it as close to the middle of your chest as you can, while you stand up tall.
Release your right leg, and step into…
Step 2: Spiderman
Still balanced on your left leg, step forward and outwards at a 30-degree angle with your right leg and slowly lower your body until your front knee is bent 90 degrees.
(Your rear knee should nearly touch the floor). Keeping your legs in the lunge position, and back straight, bend forward and touch the floor with both hands.
Step 3: Overhead reach (in lunge position)
Keep your right hand near your right instep and then rotate and open your torso and reach over head with your left arm until it is straight. (Both arms should form a straight line.) Then return your left arm to the ground.
Step 4: Hip Raise
You should be in an off-set lunge with your right knee at 90-degrees, your back knee grazing the ground, and both hands touching the floor with your arms at close to 90 degrees. Next, push your arms, rock back, and straighten your front and back legs.
Then step forward and do the series on the left side.
While this exercise is a great shortcut, we still recommend you sometimes dedicate a longer, more comprehensive session dedicating to stretching. This website is a fantastic resource that offers a range of stretching exercises for different body parts.