5 Basic Stretching Exercises to Increase your Flexibility

Photo by Autumn Goodman on Unsplash.


Never mind those unreal and envy-inducing yoga contortions you see on Instagram, when it’s a stretch (heh) for you to touch your calves without bending your knees, you know it’s time to incorporate a couple of stretching exercises to your daily routine. Not only will stretching exercises increase your flexibility, they also reduce muscle tightness and strain. The following exercises are the no-frills basics you should reach for – no equipment or partner required.

 

1. Single Hamstring Stretch

Stretches hamstrings and calves.

From Stiff to Supple: 5 Basic Stretching Exercises to Increase your Flexibility

Image source: Shutterstock

  1. Sit on the floor, bending one leg inwards at the knee, with the other leg extended in front of you.
  2. Lean forward from your hips over your extended leg, reaching your fingertips toward your toes.
  3. If you are unable to reach your toes, hold the calf of your extended leg instead.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds then switch legs.

 

2. Standing Hamstring Stretch

Stretches back, glutes, and hamstrings.

Image source: Shutterstock

  1. Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, arms by your sides.
  2. Bend forward at the hips, lowering your head toward floor, reaching your fingertips towards your toes.
  3. If you are unable to touch your toes, hold onto your shins or wrap your arms around the backs of your legs instead.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds.

 

3. Seated Spinal Twist

Stretches hips, back, and glutes.

Image source: Pinterest

  1. Sit on the floor with both legs extended in front of you.
  2. Cross your right leg over your left, and place your right foot flat on the floor.
  3. Place your right hand on the floor behind your body.
  4. Place your left hand on your right quad or your left elbow behind your right knee, pushing your right leg to the left and twisting your torso to the right.
  5. Hold for 30 seconds, then release and repeat on the left side

 

4. Butterfly Stretch

Stretches hips, glutes, back, and thighs.

Image source: Shutterstock

  1. Sit tall on the floor with the soles of your feet flat together, knees bent outwards.
  2. Hold onto your ankles or feet and slowly lower your body toward your feet as far as you can, pushing your knees toward the floor.
  3. If you are unable to bend over, press your knees down as far as possible towards the floor.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds.

 

5. Triceps Stretch

Stretches neck, shoulders, back, and triceps.

Image source: Shutterstock

  1. Extend both arms overhead.
  2. Bend your right elbow and reach your right hand downwards.
  3. Reach your left hand rightwards and grasp your right elbow.
  4. Gently pull your right elbow down and toward your head.
  5. Hold for 20 seconds, then switch arms and repeat.

 

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