Body Parts You May Be Neglecting in Your Stretching Routine
Whether you’re doing high-intensity exercises, sitting at a desk all day, walking from place to place, or just chilling on the couch, stretching is an important part of any daily routine. Stretching not only increases your flexibility and range of motion, but it also helps to improve your posture, heal and prevent aches and pains, promote blood flow to your muscles, decrease headaches, and relieve stress. It is essential to stretch before and after doing any form of exercise, but there may be some body parts you’re neglecting in your stretching routine, which can lead to you straining them. We all usually remember to stretch our main muscle groups, like the glutes, back, shoulders, and thighs, but we often forget about some smaller, equally important muscle areas. Here are some muscle groups you may be neglecting in your stretching routine:
Many people stretch their shoulders, rolling them in circular motions and moving their arms from left to right, but they may be neglecting a nearby muscle.
- To stretch your triceps, stand up straight and reach either arm up over your head, bending your elbow and touching your hand to your upper back or shoulders.
- Use your other hand to stabilize your arm and lightly push it down so it gets to a comfortable stretch. You can stay in that position for about 30 seconds, pushing down when you feel is necessary or gently pulsing your arm down. Repeat on the other side.
Right around the corner from your triceps are your biceps.
- You can stretch your biceps by standing up straight, interlacing your hand behind you, straightening your arms with your palms facing you, and pushing your arms out behind you as far as feels comfortable for you. This stretch will help to loosen up your chest and shoulders as well.
- You can also stretch your biceps in a seated position.
- Sit down with your knees bent and put your feet flat on the ground in front of you. Then, place your hands on the floor behind you with your palms down and your fingers facing away from your body.
- Make sure the weight of your body is evenly distributed throughout your feet, bottom, and arms, then carefully scoot your bottom toward your feet while keeping your hands on the ground where they are.
- Hold this position for about 30 seconds or pulse it for about a minute and repeat on the other side.
Your Pectoral Muscles:
Your pectoral muscles, near your chest, may get tight after an upper body exercise or if you have to carry something heavy.
- To stretch this area, lie down on the ground face down and extend your arms out beside you.
- With either hand, push your upper body off the ground, carefully and slowly rolling your weight onto the right side of your body while your right arm is bent on the ground beside you.
- You should feel a stretch in the pectoral muscles on your right side.
- Hold this position for around 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Your Forearms and Wrists:
If you’re typing, writing, or using your hands in any way in your daily life, you should definitely stretch your forearms and wrists daily.
- To do this, you can be seated or standing, and extend both arms out in front of you with your palms facing down.
- Take either hand and bring it to the other, pressing against your palm to press your fingers upward.
- Then, reverse this, pressing against the top of your hand so your fingers point downward. You should feel a stretch on both sides of your forearm and wrist.
- Hold each stretch for about 10-20 seconds and repeat on each hand.
It’s no secret that our fingers do so much every day. Stretching them helps bring a relief you didn’t know you needed.
- One great stretch to satisfy your fingers starts with you putting your hand palm-down on a flat surface, such as a table.
- One by one, slowly and carefully pull each finger up off the table with your other hand until you feel a stretch. Repeat this a few times on each hand.
Your hips carry a lot of your body weight and can build up tension easily, but they are often forgotten about.
- To stretch your hips, start in a kneeling position with either knee on the floor and the other leg at a 90-degree angle in front of you with your foot flat on the ground.
- Place your hands on your knee that is at a 90-degree angle to stabilize yourself and straighten your back.
- While your other knee stays pressed onto the floor, lean forward into your 90-degree knee while tightening the muscles in your buttocks.
- Hold this stretch for about 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Your Lower Back:
Your lower back carries more weight than you’d think. It is constantly working to support your body and help you move, so it’s super important to care for it by stretching it out.
- One classic lower back stretch is child’s pose. For this pose, get on your hands and knees, sitting your hips onto your heels. Bend forward, walking your hands out in front of you and face down, resting your belly onto your thighs. Stretch your arms out in front of you or out to your sides and take 5-10 deep breaths in and out. Repeat as many times as you feel is necessary. Since it can be very difficult to relieve lower back pain, it may be helpful to add a couple more lower back stretches to your routine.
- One other beneficial stretch starts with you laying down flat on your back. Carefully cross one leg over the other while stretching your upper body in the opposite direction, reaching your arm out. Stay in this position for about 30 seconds, and you can even pulse it a little bit. Repeat on the other side.
- One last lower back stretch is known to many yogis as the cobra stretch. This one begins with you lying flat on the ground face down. Place your hands palm down on each side of you with your arms bent back and use your hands to lift your head and chest up off the ground. You can twist from side to side, or just stay in this position for about 30 seconds at a time.
If you feel that you have aches and pains in any of these areas, you’re not alone! Many people forget to stretch daily altogether, but these body parts are usually especially neglected. Use these stretches daily, or even weekly to feel the benefits in your body.