Stretching has to be the most underrated thing in the fitness world, mostly because its positive effects are hardly known. It helps you add flexibility and improves the quality of your life, provided it is done religiously and in the most effective form. If you’re a regular gym-goer you would know that before you start weight training, you are supposed to stretch and prepare your muscles for heavy exercises. However, you need not necessarily go to the gym to get the most use out of stretching because stretching is per se one of the most effective, easy and less time consuming exercises ever which could be done inside the comfort of your house using stretching machines. So here are 7 of the easiest and beginner stretching moves to make you more flexible.
Most effective stretching workout positions
Lying Hip Roll
This is undoubtedly one of the best stretching move for beginners because it enables the back muscles which are usually not hit when you do normal stretches, thereby causing issues like backache.
Start off by lying on your back, now slowly lift your legs, such that your thighs are perpendicular to the floor and your thighs and shins forming a 90 degree angle. Now roll your hips to the left side slowly feeling all the muscles on your lower back and the left side. Stop right before your legs hit the floor. Now repeat the exact same thing on the other side.
Pay attention to your form as the shape formed by your legs should never be lost at any point of the stretching. Ideally, this should be done until you feel your lower back muscles activated. This particular stretching move is extremely helpful if you have back pain of any sort.
Hip Flexor Stretch
Hips play a key role in daily life and it’s especially noticed when we’re either running or cycling. When we run, we’re engaging our hip muscles each time you take a stride and if your hips are flexible it makes it easier to run, cycle or even walk for that matter.
Start by putting both your knees on the mat, now put one leg forward and keep the other knee in the original position. Now slowly move the down-knee backwards until it forms a 110 degree angle with your hips. Take care not to arch your back or put that knee too back to a point where it starts to hurt. At this point, you should slowly start feeling your hip muscles stretching. Now tuck your pelvis inside and start pushing downwards with your down knee and the heel of your forward leg. Once you’re comfortable with this position, raise the arm on the side of your down knee and move your upper body a little forward.
This particular stretch is very useful for beginners because it enables us to practice more advanced stretches which requires a lot of flexibility. This stretch should hit your quads and your lower back.
Start off by sitting on the mat and bringing your feet together. Now slowly open your hips and bring the knees to the sides. Initially, you should encounter discomfort on moving past a certain position. However, this could be resolved over time. If it is too hard for you, try sitting with a pillow underneath you thereby increasing your range of motion.
Lying Leg Crossover
The lying leg crossover is meant to add movement to your hips, stretch your back and strengthen your core muscles.
Start by lying flat on your back. Now lift one of your legs and make sure it forms a right angle at your knee. Now cross that leg over the other leg, slowly feeling your back and hips stretch completely. Take special care to plant your shoulders on the floor as the movement of your upper body will ruin your form. Keep stretching by continuing in that position for about 8-10 seconds and slowly bring the leg back to the original position. Repeat with the other leg.
This is the perfect beginner exercise which effectively enables your core and lower back muscles.
Start by lying flat on your stomach. Now raise your upper body off the floor by pushing with your hands. Keep stretching until you feel your core muscles stretch. This should be done by stretching for about 10 seconds followed by a rest of 10 seconds. Care should be taken not to move your lower body as the tension on the core should be maintained.
Glutes are probably the most underrated muscle group in our entire body but in reality, it is very important because it comes into play when you’re walking, jumping or just bending over.
Start by lying with your back on the floor. Now lift both your legs, bend both legs and pull one of them underneath the other leg. Now pull both the legs to your chest, slowly increasing the tension on your glutes and your back. Stay in this position for about 15-20 seconds and then release. Repeat with the other leg.
This is a classic stretching exercise for your core muscles. Don’t let the easiness of this stretch fool you, the key is to increase the time for which you can do the plank.
Lie face down on the floor to start. Now bend your elbows and lift your upper body and rest the weight on your forearms. Your shoulders and your ankles need to be in one line and your forearms should form a right angle with your elbows. Now suck in your belly and focus on your core muscles until you start to feel it. Keep going until you can do no more. Rest. Repeat.
It should be kept in mind that initially it might seem difficult but over time you should be able to do all of these with perfect form, thus, enabling you to move on to advanced stretches and exercises. Keep it simple, stay healthy. your expectations.