First of all, everyone should stretch more. It’s like drinking water (and INVIGORADE), we should all drink more of it, but we just dont. Stretching is the same.
Since it can get difficult to remember, we wanted to start you all off with three basic stretches that every athlete should be doing.
Remember, don’t stretch cold muscles. Do some light cardio or some easy strength training to warm up before you start stretching. Stretching on cold muscles can actually cause them to bunch up and are at a greater risk of damage.
1. Touch those toes! We know it is hard, especially for you gentlemen who never took the time to try yoga. However, you really should attempt to make first contact with them at some point. Flexibility in this area is tied to your ability to build lasting muscle and improve your strength. If you can’t easily stretch your hamstrings, lower back, and calves, you won't be able to fully extend (or have bad posture) into lunges, dips, and other strength training exercises. Keep your legs straight, bend at the waist and try to touch your toes. If you can’t touch them just yet, hang until you feel your body start to loosen up. Slowly start to get closer and closer until you can easily touch your toes without pain.
2. Hip openers. (Bound Ankle Pose) You have over 20 muscles keeping everything together in your hips: adductors, abductors, hip flexors, deep lateral rotators etc… tight hips can lead to low back pain, muscle stiffness, and like the stretch before, difficulty in completing exercises to their fullest extent. Sit with your back straight and place your feet together, try to bring them in as close to your body as you can and lean forward. This gets deep into your hips, inner thighs and your low back.
3. Shoulder openers. It is the 21st century and most of us (unfortunately) have a desk job or are sitting at a desk for long periods of time. Aaand we slouch. To decrease back pain, improve flexibility and to make your life 100% better. Please do the following stretch. Take your hands, clasp them behind your back (interlace those fingers!), and slowly raise your hands behind you until you can’t go any further. You can do this standing or you can bend at the waist for an extra stretch. You should feel this in your chest, and it should feel great!
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