5 Stretches to do every day

Stretching is CRUCIAL to keep your body moving and active. Let’s be honest you don’t to move or exercise if you are achy and stiff. Here are my top 5 stretches to do EVERY DAY. While it important to incorporate different stretches, if I had to narrow it down – these 5 would be the winners!

  1. Towel Stretch – Focus: Hamstrings 
    • Using a towel make a U shape and place your foot in the middle of towel. Lay on your back bring leg up and pull on either side of towel pulling toes towards your face.
      • Hold this for about 10 seconds, release for 10, then 20, release for 10, then 30 and release for 10. Repeat on other leg.
      • Bonus stretch – You can also you go to a glute figure 4 stretch here too!
  2. Frog stretch – Focus: Hips
    • Start on all fours then widen your legs so the floor is pressing them open. Sink back into your hips and fold head toward arms.
      • Hold this for 30 seconds, release for 10, then 45 seconds, release for 10, then 60 seconds and release for 10.
  3. Glute Bridges
    • Lay on your back and keep feet close to glutes. Drive hips up high squeezing your glutes the whole way especially at the top to of the move. 
      • Do 8-10 reps and then hold for 5 seconds – repeat 3x 
  4. Super[Wo]mans
    • Lay on you stomach extend arms over head, with thumbs up lift legs and upper body off floor. Squeeze back, glute and hamstrings to lift limbs as high as you can. Hold for a second then back down. 
      • To get a little add a lat pulldown at the top of the stretch
  5. Hip Flexor Stretch
    • Keeping a 90 degree ankle push the leg on the ground forward by tucking the hips forward. Don’t lean forward creating a larger than 90 degree angle that can put pressure on low back. What you may do during yoga a yoga flow is different this stretch. Take 3 full breaths in through nose and out your mouth trying to empty lungs completely! 

Why stretch?? Stretching helps with so many things and mainly flexibility. Stretching allows you maintain full range of motion. You to keep your muscles long and loose and ready to react for any load you put on your body. Stretching can also improve posture, pain, soreness and improve performance. 

Want more? Shoot me an email and I’ll be happy to get you started!

Remember to stretch after your workout!

You finish your workout and are ready to walk out the door. Just before you leave you see a few people stretching and you think “I probably should, but i just wait to get home.” Well well well let me tell you that just because you can’t SEE the results of stretching – it is just as important to help reach your goals, whether it’s losing weight or wanting to compete.

Stretching can lead to better posture, fewer aches and pains, greater confidence, and EVEN a cheerier outlook on life (yep! sure can!). Sitting can be hard on your glutes and your back. Stretching helps keep from these muscles from atrophying over time. If stretching hurts – it’s cause you really need it. Breathe through the stretch and imagine your muscle tissues releasing. Practice makes perfect. The more you stretch the easier it is and better you will feel over all.

Here is my cool down stretching routine. Find whatever works for you! I promise with consistent stretching you will feel like a new you!

Walk on treadmill til my heart rate is down (wear a heart rate monitor so you are always aware of your heart rate). Then legs a little wider than shoulder width apart, stretch down feeling it your hamstrings, go to the right side then the left and finish back at center – holding each for about 10-15 counts.

Hip flexors right leg back in a lunge position and press hips forward and squeeze right glute, then straighten left leg and lean forward to feel the stress in your hamstring. I do this 5 times alternating hip flexor and hamstring holding about 8 counts for each stretch. Then do this same thing with the left leg back squeezing that glute and pressing hips forward then straighten right leg out for hamstring stretch on that side, again holding for 8 counts each.

Next I sit on the mat and stretch my glutes by bringing my right ankle to the top of my left knee and you’ll feel that pull in your glutes. The closer the leg is to your body the deeper the stretch. Then do a spinal twist turning to the right – repeat this on the left side.

Then I lay on my back and do some spinal twists with bent knees.

Stretch out my neck from side to side then reach high then I’m done!

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Reference here

Do you foam roll?

I’m sure you’ve seen them at your gym. People rolling and contorting their bodies on this foam cylinder, and you think “what does that even do?”

A foam roller is a very helpful tool that helps your body recover and can help to prevent injury. When you use the foam roller  it digs into muscles to release tension, specially Self-myofascial release. It a massage technique that require longer low pressure on a muscle until it releases and the mobility and tissue are restore to their proper form. A foam roller allows you to have this type of massage by yourself.

Benefits

  • Increased blood flow throughout the body
  • Better movement and increased range of motion.

Ideally foam rolling should be down both during your warmup and your cool down. It’s so important to get your body prepared for a lift and to stretch after a workout!

Now why does it hurt?

Now if you’ve tried foam rolling and feel like you are almost forced to tears, chances are you are doing it right AND you really need it. Similar to the pain you get while stretching. It should be uncomfortable, but not unbearable, and when you release you should feel looser.

How do I do it?
I like to start with my calves and work my way up to my hamstrings. Then I move to IT bands (which usually hurt a lot because I hold a lot of tension in my hips). When I find a spot that’s tight I hold in place and bend my knee to increase the pressure. Then I move onto my quads and then inner thigh. Then the other leg – IT band, quad and inner thigh. After that I sit on the foam roller rolling over my glutes sometimes crossing my leg putting my ankle to my opposite knee to dig in deeper, switch sides. At the end I lay on the foam roller in line with my spine and up my arms up like a touchdown signal and am just still for about a minute (which is actually really long time to be still). I usually feel my shoulder and neck tension release and a great sense of calming to do nothing for a minute.

This is just my routine. There are many ways to foam roll you can what works for when you consistently include foam rolling into your workout regime.

Here are some pictures!

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I promise after a week or two of consist foam rolling your body will recover faster and your muscles will be looser over all!

references here and here