Flexibility is typically a good indicator of a healthy body but for most people, it doesn’t come naturally. Static stretching and flexibility exercises are equally beneficial before or after a particular workout.

What exactly makes stretching so important? How does it benefit our bodies? There are two different types of stretching: static and dynamic. Dynamic stretching is both repetitive and challenging, using a particular movement that moves the joint or muscle in it’s full range of motion and is mostly used to warm up before your workout. For example, high knees would be considered a dynamic stretch.

However, static stretching have much less movement involved. It typically requires you to hold a certain position for an extended period of time to stretch a particular joint or muscle. This is great for improving flexibility and recovery of muscles and joints. An example of static stretching would be touching your toes for a set time.

Here are a list of five great static exercises that will help to avoid injury: (Note each stretch should be held for about 30 seconds.)

Quadriceps Stretch

When you go for a run it can put quite the toll on your quads so it’s important to stretch before hand.

    1. Stand straight up with your feet together and your arms down.
    2. Take your left leg and begin to slowly bend it at the knee towards your butt.
    3. Using your left hand bring your leg towards your body for a greater stretch.
    4. Switch legs when finished.

Groin Stretch (Butterfly Stretch)

Injuring your groin can limit your exercising for sometime. Make sure to stretch it properly.

    1. Begin by having a seat on the floor.
    2. With the soles of your feet touching, bend your knees and bring your legs back until your legs are in a “wing” position.
    3. Place your hands on your ankles and your elbows against your knees. Slowly start to push your knees towards the ground for a deeper stretch.

Shoulder Stretch

Your shoulders go through quite a bit from your day to day activities, stretching them will give them a much needed relief.

    1. Begin by standing straight up with your left arm straight out creating a 90 degree angle with your body.
    2. Use your right arm to hook underneath your left elbow then bring your left arm across your chest until it’s pointing right.
    3. Using your right arm, pull your left arm closer to your chest and hold.
    4. Switch arms when finished.

Seated Forward Bend Stretch

You have likely done this stretch at some point in your life. It’s great for your hamstrings. No matter the exercise you’re doing, you’re likely using your hamstrings at one point or another so it’s  important to take time and stretch your hamstrings.

    1. First, sit on the ground with your back straight up and your legs straight out.
    2. Begin to bend at your hips, slowly reach out towards your toes as you dip lower your torso towards your knees.Try to grab your feet, if you can’t grab as far down on your legs as you can.
    3. Make sure your spine is straight and not rounding. Use your body to take the stretch deeper.

Calf Stretch

This one is great to loosen up those calves after a lot of running or jumping.

    1. Facing a wall with a couple of feet separating you from the wall, place one leg forward.and your hands on the wall.
    2. With your front leg slowly bending at the knee and your back leg relaxed with your heel flat on the ground, maintain this position while easing your back leg further back until you begin to feel a stretch and hold. The end result is a position that is similar to a lunge.
    3. Switch legs when finished.

Performing these stretches will help you become more flexible and minimize injuries. For more tips on stretching and ideas for awesome workouts give us a call. We offer group training coached by experienced professionals to help you become a healthier you.