Flexibility is not just for gymnasts, but rather for everyone. Along with the better range of motion, it decreases risks of injuries, increases blood supply and nutrients to joints, reduces muscular tension and so on.
It is a crucial part of a regular workout regimen because stretching after a workout routine relaxes tightened muscles. You can improve flexibility of specific muscles as well as the entire body with these 10 simple exercises:
1. Standing Quad Stretch
Stand with your feet together. Lift one foot behind you, hold it with both your hands and pull the heel toward your buttock. Hold for about five seconds. Repeat with the other foot.
2. Standing Side Stretch
Standing with your feet together, lift your arms overhead. Clasp your hands and interlace your fingers. Inhale and reach upward, and while exhaling bend your upper body toward your right. Hold for five seconds. Exhale and return to the starting position and repeat on left side.
3. Seated Hamstring Stretch
Sit on the floor and extend your right leg in the front. Bend your left leg with the sole placed against your inner thigh. Lean forward and reach for your ankle as far as you can and pull the toe toward your body. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat with the other leg.
4. Standing Calf Stretch
Stand about three feet from a wall and place your palms flat on the wall, shoulder-width apart. Place the right foot behind you with toes facing forward. Keep your right knee straight, heel on the ground and lean forward. Hold for a few seconds and repeat with the other leg.
5. Shoulder Stretch
Stand straight and grab one elbow with the opposite hand and pull the elbow across your chest. Hold for a few seconds and repeat on the other side.
Reps 3 on each side
6. The Forward Hang
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent. Interlace the fingers behind your back. Inhale and extend your arms. Bend at your waist while exhaling and extend your hands toward your head. Hold for five seconds.
7. Back stretch
Go on the floor, on fours with your knees and hands. While inhaling curl your back up toward the ceiling. Hold position for a few seconds and return to the starting position. Push your tummy toward the floor dipping your back and hold for a few seconds.
8. Butterfly Groin Stretch
Sit on the floor upright, bend your knees, press the soles of your feet together, and pull them toward your groin. Grasp your feet, drop the knees to the sides and gently apply pressure till you feel a stretch on your groin and inner thighs. Turn your chest to the left and then right.
9. Split Squat
Stand with feet hip-width apart. Place your right foot in the front. Keep your hands under your ribs and interlace the fingers. Squeeze the glutes, tighten the muscles of the pelvic floor and tuck the pelvis in. Bend both knees slowly and come down till the count of three. Pressing into the floor, come back up to a count of three. Switch legs and repeat.
10. Modified Cobra
Lie on your tummy on the floor with thumbs right under the shoulders and feet extended. Squeeze the glutes, tighten pelvic floor and tuck the pelvis in. Raise your chest pushing through the thumb and index finger. Hold for five seconds before returning to the starting position.