Increase Your Flexibility with These Stretches

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Stretching is a significant part of any workout routine, but many of us skip on a regular basis.  You may think it doesn't do much for you and feel like you're wasting precious time you could be spending on more rigorous workouts like cardio and strength training.  However, your recovery is just as crucial as the actual workout and stretching not only helps bring your body back to where it was before your workout and boosts flexibility, it's relaxing.  Below are several lower body stretches.  Do these after any workout and you won't regret it.

 

Perform each exercise as shown, holding each one for 15-30 seconds, repeating 1-3 times.  Avoid any movements that cause pain or discomfort.

 

Hip Flexor Lunge Stretch

Get into a lunge position on the floor, right foot forward and left knee back, both knees at about 90 degrees.  Keeping the torso straight and abs engaged, lunge forward, gently pressing until you feel a stretch in the front of the hip.  You can also squeeze the glutes for a deeper stretch. Hold for 15-30 seconds and switch sides.

 

Kneeling Hamstring Stretch

From that lunge position, you simply move back, putting your weight on the left knee while straightening your right leg.  Bend forward at the hip, keeping back flat until you feel gentle pull in the back of the leg. You may need to keep a slight bend in the knee if your hamstrings are tights.  Hold for 15-30 seconds and switch sides.

 

Pigeon Stretch

Begin on the hands and knees and bring the left knee in, resting it on the floor between your hands (you should be on the outside of the knee).  Straighten the right leg out behind you and, if you can, bend forward and rest the forearms on the floor. Hold for 15-30 seconds and switch sides.