Stretching is an important component to your fitness routine, and being flexible as many benefits. In this post, I’ll show you five lower body stretches for your quads, hip flexors, hamstrings, glutes and calf/Achilles. But first, lets look at a few of the positive gains you’ll enjoy from stretching.
- Helps your joints move through the full range of motion
- May decrease your risk of injury
- May decrease muscle stiffness and soreness
- Improves posture
- May decrease stress.
Before you add stretching into your workouts, there are a few things you need to know.
- As with any exercise, it’s important to use proper form to get the best results and avoid injury.
- This type of static stretching should be done AFTER you exercise when your muscles are warmed up. Before you exercise you should warm up by walking or doing a dynamic warm up (which I’ll write about in a future blog post) to get your blood flowing the your muscles.
- Ease into the stretch slowly. Never use quick or jerky movements while stretching.
- DO NOT bounce while stretching.
- Hold the stretch for about 5 seconds
- If it hurts, stop. You want to feel a stretch, not pain.
- Stretch both sides of the body.
Quad Stretch. Reach back and grab your foot. Stand upright and straight as you gently pull your foot towards your body.
Hip flexor stretch. Get down on one knee and lean forward while keeping your body upright and straight. Raise your arm up for a deeper stretch.
Hamstring stretch. Raise your leg onto a high surface. Lean forward and reach for your toes.
Glute stretch. Sit on a bench or chair. Cross one leg over the other (ankle on knee). Slowly lean forward while keeping your chin up and back flat. For a deeper stretch, gently push down on your knee.
Calf/Achilles stretch. Stand in front of a step or wall with one foot leaning against it. Bring your body forward while keeping it upright and straight. For the Achilles stretch, bend the knee of the leg you’re stretching.
Remember to stretch after every workout, and throughout the day if you can. Let me know if you try these stretches. You can message me here, or on Instagram of Facebook.
I’ll be writing about upper body stretches and dynamic warm ups soon.