Below is one of the best stretching routines I have found. The stretches used are simple, easy to do, don’t require any special equipment, and can be carried out post workout or as part of your general flexibility routine.
But apart from that, I consider this to be one of the best stretching routines because it incorporates full body stretching exercises.
Most people tend to stretch only the muscles which they consider to have been used during exercise. For example, if you go for a long run, do you stretch your quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles only? Or do you do a full body stretch routine?
You should be doing the full body stretch. You use practically all muscles during a workout, but just to different extents. So whatever your exercise, it is good practice to stretch all muscle groups.
Simple Rules for Your Stretching Sessions
There are a few simple rules to follow in all stretching and flexibility routines…
Each stretch should be held for 25 to 30 seconds. Anything less than this will have little benefit on our flexibility. Do NOT bounce during a stretch. This is ballistic stretching and should only be performed by professional athletes and sportsmen. You increase your chances of injury, which is the last thing you want!
Don’t over stretch. Go to the point where it starts to feel a little uncomfortable but no further. It’s asking for trouble if you do.
And always stretch both sides of your body. Think about the symmetry. You’ll probably do this automatically, but it’s worth pointing out. If you favour one side of your body, you are likely to form some sort of imbalance that could eventually lead to injury.
Full Body Stretch Routine
If you don’t know the types of stretches that work on these muscles, watch the video below. This routine, if you follow the 30 second rule above, should take you no more than 10 minutes. That’s not a lot of time out of your day for a good full body stretch!
Notice how this routine hits all the major muscle groups? It works your top half, bottom half, then finished with your trunk.
I also follow a similar routine in the morning after I’ve been up and moving around for half an hour or so. And throughout the day! If I’m sat at the computer and there’s a bit of a lull, then I’ll stretch my deltoids and triceps. If I’m walking around, each time I get back to my desk I’ll stretch my quadriceps before sitting down.
You get the idea.