When it comes to looking after our body their are many different approaches people take but one that is commonly avoided is stretching. While there is science to support that stretching can be detrimental before working out we are firm believers that stretching muscles post workout is extremely beneficial especially as we age.
Pre workout we want muscles to be reactive and able to create and absorb force for when we sprint, jump, and push out a squat. To achieve that we want to utilise mobility based exercises ( see runners lunge with rotation in video) which helps lubricate joints and mobilise ligaments and tendons. When we have completed a workout or just looking to stretch throughout our day we can use utilise different stretching techniques such as static stretches, PNF stretching, and isometric stretches that help lengthen the muscle belly and possibly relieve tension.
Everyones joints have slightly different expected ranges of motion depending on their individual biomechanics. If you experience a reduction in ROM due to muscles becoming tight and weak you can often reverse this through the use of strength training, stretching, and mobility drills. We recommend only stretching muscles where required, these muscles can benefit from using stretching / mobility techniques (like the ones in our video) for anywhere from 20 – 60 seconds.
5 Exercises To Release Tightness & Tension Throughout The Neck, Chest, & Hips
Upper Trap/Neck Stretch
The upper traps are an area where we hold a lot of stress, they also are a common source of pain or discomfort in people who sit at a desk for long periods of time. Give this upper trap stretch a go:
– Sit on your right hand to pull the shoulder down
– Place other hand on the back of your head and gently pull down towards your under arm
– Hold for 20 secs, repeat 2-3 times on each side
Pigeon Pose (glute stretch)
Sitting on your butt all day at home? Give this glute stretch a go:
– Straighten out one leg behind you
– Bend the other leg in front of you, dropping your knee to the ground
– This stretch can be made stronger by leaning forward onto your elbows
– Hold for 20-30 seconds each side, repeat 2-3 times
Hip Flexor + Quad Stretch
Our hip flexors can get very tight when sitting for long periods of time, and can also be a source of lower back pain. Use this stretch to reduce tension in the psoas muscle and the quads.
– Start in a kneeling position with back knee on the ground
– Tuck your hips under and gently push the back hip forwards, this will stretch the psoas muscle. Hold this for 20-30 seconds.
– Return back to starting position and grab onto your back foot, bringing it up towards your thigh, this will stretch the quads. Hold for 20-30 seconds.
– Swap sides and repeat
This exercise helps to increase mobility in the low back and open up through the chest at the same time.
– Lying face down on the floor with both arms out to the side
– Start by bending the right leg and bringing it across to the left
– To open up the chest even more, bring your right arm behind your back
– Hold here for 20 seconds and repeat on the other side
Runners lunge with rotation
This exercise targets two of the most common sites of tension in the body- the hips and the thoracic spine and is perfect as an exercise to use pre workout.
– Start in a wide lunge position, with the back knee off the floor, place both hands on the ground. In this position you should feel a stretch in the back hip.
– With the arm closest to your foot, bend the elbow and try and bring it down towards the floor.
– Then, straighten out the elbow and reach up and away, rotating through your mid back.
– Continue this movement 8-10 times, then swap to the other side
Yours In Health & Fitness,
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