Stretching correctly will increase your flexibility and reduce the risk of injuries caused by lesions of the connective tissues (such as the periosteum) and other nasty things. This guide shows a variety of techniques with the goal of revamping or establishing your stretching routine. Use the tips that suit your needs for the activities you do. Do not stretch if you are injured without the help of a physical therapist. Doing so may result in further injury.
Stretch your neck.
- Incline your head forward, but do not roll your head from side to side-this is dangerous. Instead, stretch your neck to the left, right, forward and back, but always return to center first!
- Tilt your head with ear toward shoulder, incline your head backward and roll your head from left to right, then right to left in a 30 degree motion.
- Be sure that while your head is tilted back, you keep your jaw relaxed and even let your mouth fall open just a bit.
Stretch your shoulder.
- Put your arm on your chest.
- Grab your forearm with the opposite arm.
- Pull your arm until you feel your shoulder being stretched.
- Push the arm you are stretching the opposite way in order to contract the muscle if you feel that your chest is stretching instead of your shoulder.
Stretch your triceps.
- Reach up with your right arm.
- Bend your right elbow and put your forearm down behind your head and between your shoulder blades.
- Reach up and grab your right elbow with your opposite arm.
- Pull your elbow toward your head.
Stretch your scapulae.
- Extend your arms in front of you.
- Join both hands together and cross fingers.
- Push your arms further and try to push your scapulae in opposite directions.
Stretch your wrists.
- Hold your arm out.
- Slightly pull back your hand down with your opposite hand.
- Repeat with other hand.
Stretch your quadriceps.
- Stand up and pull one leg behind you.
- Repeat with other leg.
Stretch your calves.
- Put your arms up against the wall.
- Bring one leg in towards it while keeping your other leg straight.
- Repeat with other leg.
Stretch your hamstrings.
- Sit on the floor and put one leg out.
- Reach for it and hold for a few seconds.
- Repeat with other leg, and then do it with both legs.
Stretch your legs fully.
- Lay flat on your back and extend your leg out.
- Grab the back of your thigh.
- Pull your leg towards your face.
- Don’t jerk your leg, it may cause an injury.
Do a butterfly stretch.
- Sit on the floor.
- Press the soles of your feet together.
- Pull your feet the closest you can.
- Put your hands on your ankles to where your elbows are lined up with your knees.
- Push against your elbows trying to close your legs. (This contracts your groin muscles to help you get a deeper stretch.)
- Push your knees down.
Stretch your lower back.
- Lay down.
- Bring one leg onto your chest.
- Repeat with your other leg, and then do it with both.
Stretch your jaw.
- Incline your head back, rest your chin on your palm, and pull your jaw open.
- Say “Ah!” (you can mime it).
- Grab your chin with your thumb, index and middle fingers.
- Stretch it left to right. This exercise will help if you have been hit to the jaw (e.g., knocked-out in boxing).