Put your hand up if you've ever smashed out a workout... but didn't take the time to stretch after.
If your hand isn't up, why must you make this a house of lies? We're all guilty of this. Stretching is essential for injury prevention, mobility and join health. Trying to make some gains on the squat rack? Making sure your hips aren't tighter than a Chinese Finger Trap might help. But, because I know everyone is so busy all the time, I've put together 5 simple stretches you can complete in 5 minuets. So now you don't have an excuse not to stretch 'er out.
STANDING HAMSTRING STRETCH
This is an incredible stretch for those big bad muscles on the back of your thighs as well as your low back. Begin standing, near a stable surface if you feel you may need something to hold onto. Place one leg out straight in front of you, heel on the ground and toe up to the sky. Then, bending your opposite knee while keeping your back straight, lower into a semi-squat and bend your torso down to try and meet your outstretched leg. Make sure your feel the stretch but don't bend so far that you feel pain. Hold for 30sec each side.
STANDING HIP FLEXOR AND QUAD STRETCH
Start standing, next to the same stable surface as your standing hamstring stretch. Step forward with one leg as though you are preparing for a lunge. Then, slowly, bend your front knee to a 90-degree angle keeping your knee behind your toes. Ensure your back leg is straight and push your hips forward to feel the stretch in your hip flexors and quad muscles. To deepen the stretch, extend your arms above your head and arch for back a little. Hold for 30sec each leg.
TRICEPS AND SHOULDER STRETCH
Begin standing with your feet hip-width a part. Reach one hand behind your head, as though you are preparing to bust out the dance more “The Sprinkler”. Then, with your other hand, reach behind your head to grab your opposite elbow and gently pull it to the side till you feel a stretch down your triceps and in your shoulder. Hold for 30sec an arm.
CHEST AND BICEPS STRETCH
Stand next to a wall, pole or another surface which is shoulder height or higher. With a straight arm, place one hand on your surface. Depending on what your hand is on, either step forward to move your body away from your hand or turn your body away from the surface, feeling a stretch in your chest and down your biceps. Make sure you don't hyperextend, causing pain or discomfort. Hold for 30sec an arm.
This one stretches your spine, back muscles, shoulders, arms, chest, legs, and glutes. It's a great one to end a stretch sess on and can help you to relax the mind as well. Begin kneeling on the ground, bum on your feet. Then, with a straight spine, bend at the hip to bow forward, reaching your arms out in front of you till they touch the floor. Keeping your hands outstretches as far as they can go, sit your bum back further to deepen the stretch. You can make this more intense by holding on to a band or something fixed to add resistance as you sit back to deepen. Hold this one for 60sec, taking deep relaxing breaths the entire time. Before you know it, your cool down and stretch session are done! That wasn't so hard, was it? And you'll walk out of the gym with a reduced chance of injury and all sorts of new flexibility!