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The Best Stretching Exercises That Everyone Should Be Doing

The Best Stretching Exercises That Everyone Should Be Doing

Be honest now, how often do you stretch? For the vast majority of us, the answer is not enough. Whether you’re a keen runner, cyclist or gym-goer, or just spend your days sitting at a desk, stretching should be an integral part of your weekly routine. It’ll improve your mobility and flexibility, reduce your risk of injury, and help you excel at your chosen sport if you have one.

To help you introduce more stretching to your life we asked Richard Scrivener, PT and product development manager at TrainFitness, for his five favourite stretches. What are you waiting for?

1 Decompression dead hang

Time 30-60sec

“Gravity compresses us throughout the day,” says Scrivener. “This stretch helps the shoulders, spine and hips, making you taller and restoring your full stature.”

To do the stretch simply hang from a bar. If you plan on doing these stretches at home, you can pick up a telescopic pull-up bar, which is easy to put up and take down, for as little as a tenner.

“Keep a tight grip and let your entire bodyweight drop,” says Scrivener. “Try not to fight it.”

2 Front line opener

Time 30-60sec each side

“We spend much of the day in flexion [hunched forward],” says Scrivener. “This is a great way to lengthen everything on the front of the body to create balance.”

Place the top of your foot on an exercise ball behind you – pin this against a wall to keep it in place – and the knee of your same leg on the ground directly beneath you. Plant the other foot in front of you with your knee bent at 90°. Reach both arms directly overhead.

“Keep the glutes engaged to avoid arching your back,” says Scrivener. “Breathe out slowly as you reach up overhead.”

3 Posterior hip

Time 30-60sec each side

“The capsule around the hip joint is prone to tightening,” says Scrivener. “Sinking into this pose helps mobilise this capsule to eliminate pinching sensations.”

Start on your hands and knees. Lift your right leg off the floor and put the right knee on the ground behind the left knee, moving your left lower leg across your body to make space. Sink into the pose to feel the stretch in your hips.

4 Thoracolumbar fascia

Time 30-60sec each side

“The tissue surrounding the lower back is thick and dense and prone to getting stuck down,” says Scrivener. “This pose helps lengthen the tissues in this region.”

Lie on your back. Take your left arm up behind your head and your right arm out to point to the right side. Take your left leg across your right so it also points to the right side.

“Aim to keep pressing all your limbs into the ground as the leg sweeps across and up,” says Scrivener. “Find the stretch and take deep belly breaths.”

5 Pec minor

Time 30-60sec each side

“A tight pec minor tilts the shoulder blade forwards, which can cause havoc with shoulder health and posture,” says Scrivener. “Getting at this muscle is tricky. This is not the classic pec stretch, which targets the pec major.”

You’ll need to stand against a pillar or edge of a wall for this stretch, with the leg nearer the pillar in front of you in a split stance.

“First press the front of your shoulder into the post and then rotate your arm up above shoulder height so that the forearm and palm face forwards,” says Scrivener. “Lean in a little.”


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