How does flexibility affect your body?
Flexibility is one of those things that many people talk about dreamily. Like, being flexible would be nice, but sigh, it’s just a pipe dream. Except the reality is that, while some people are definitely naturally more flexible than others if we all just took a few minutes each day to do some stretching, we’d notice improvements.
The problem is that most of us are too busy to squeeze in a workout, let alone a leisurely stretching session. There are numerous other benefits to being flexible besides just increasing your strength potential.
Now, without further ado, below are some stretches that can help you reach your bendiest goals.
- Sit down on the floor with both legs straightened out in a straddle (or “V”) position.
- Inhale and on an exhale, slowly fold forward as far as you can with a flat back.
- Keep your toes and knees pointing straight up. Keep your spine long and avoid hunching over.
- Reach your hands out in front of you. As you’re able to, work on reaching hands out further and lowering your chest to the ground.
- Start on your hands and knees with shoulders directly over wrists and hips over knees.
- Take a slow to inhale and on the exhale, round your spine and drop your head toward the floor for Cat pose.
- Inhale and lift your head, chest, and tailbone toward the ceiling as you arch your back for Cow Pose.
Kneeling Hamstring Stretch
- Kneel with your left knee under your left hip and your right leg fully extended in front of the body. Your right foot should be flexed.
- Slowly walk your hands alongside your right leg until you feel the stretch along the back of your right thigh
- Allow your torso to fold over your right leg. If you feel any pulling behind the right knee, bend it slightly.
Toe Reach With Band
- Sit in a pike position, with legs out straight in front of you, feet touching if you can.
- Wrap a resistance band around one foot and hold onto it firmly.
- Start sitting straight up tall with band stretched out.
- Slowly, lower your torso over your legs as you reach toward your toes. Keep back flat.
- Sit back straight in a controlled motion while continuing to hold onto, and stretch, the band.
Lying Hamstring Stretch
- Lie flat on your back, legs together and straight up in the air.
- Loop a band around one foot.
- Pull the leg in toward your face, feeling the stretch in the back of the leg.
- Bring the leg back to start. Stretch the leg out away from your body, opening up the hips.
- Let leg fall as close to the ground as possible while still controlling it with the band.
- Bring the leg back to start. Now, stretch the leg across your body to stretch the outer thigh and butt.
- Bring leg back to start and repeat the entire sequence with the other leg.
- Sit with your right knee bent and open to the side and left leg extended straight behind the body.
- Keep your left hip pointing down toward the mat. If it begins to open up toward the ceiling, draw right foot back in toward the body.
- Walk your hands out in front of your body, allowing your chest to rest over right knee.
Figure Four Stretch
- Lie on your back.
- Cross your left foot over your right quad, and bend your right knee.
- Hold the back of your right leg and gently pull it toward your chest.
- When you feel a comfortable stretch, hold there.
- Switch sides and repeat
Salvetti says this exercise trains your body to send your weight back toward your butt (because your feet are imbalanced) and properly hinge forward so that you can successfully touch your toes. She calls it a magic trick because after doing the raised toe touches, a normal toe touch feels so much easier—it’s almost like magic.
- Put a stack of books on the floor.
- Stand with feet completely together. Place your toes on books and heels on the floor.
- Reach down and try to touch your toes. Bend your knees a little if you need to.
- Come back up to start, and then repeat nine more times.
- Then, reverse your stance so your heels are on the books and your toes are on the ground.
- Reach down and try to touch your toes 10 times.
- Step away from the books. Place feet flat on the floor and now bend down and try to touch your toes.