Every athlete is aware that they should warm up before exercising, however not everyone is sure why this is the case. Stretching before working out is vital to prepare the body for the physical impact of the activity, warming the muscles and protecting them from any possibility of injury. Stretching also helps to boost the blood flow around the body to the muscles to give them all the oxygen that they need during the workout.
Here are three simple stretching exercises to try before your next workout to help you to limber up and get prepared for your regime.
- The Shoulder Stretch
The first exercise that you can do before embarking on your workout routine is a simple shoulder stretch. This will help to prevent any pulling or straining of the muscles in your neck and shoulders and will help to improve your flexibility.
- First, take your right hand and put it behind your back with the palm facing outwards.
- Press the back of your hand towards the small of your back.
- With your left hand, take hold of your right elbow.
- Gently, pull your elbow forward and hold in position.
- Feel the gentle stretch in your shoulders and upper arms.
- Repeat with the left arm.
2. The Calf And Quadriceps Stretch
This exercise helps to minimize the chance of any injury to your calf muscles and quadriceps. These effective yet simple stretches will help to prevent strains and will increase the flexibility in your legs. These are especially useful exercises if you are running.
- Firstly, stand straight on one leg, pulling up the other leg behind your body in the flamingo position.
- Hold onto the foot that you are holding behind you.
- Apply upwards pressure gently so you can feel the stretch in your quadriceps.
- Repeat with your other leg.
- Next, adopt a split stance, placing one leg forwards and one back.
- Stand upright, holding your hands firmly on your hips.
- Learn forwards slightly and straighten out the back leg.
- Try to bring down your rear foot until it lies flat on the floor if possible.
- Repeat with your other leg.
3. The Groin Stretch
The groin stretch helps to prevent painful strains in that area and helps to improve the flexibility of your hips and legs. This simple stretch is quick and easy to do and will prove to be very effective.
- First, sit down on the floor.
- Bring up your knees and press the bottoms of your feet as tightly together as possible. (This is sometimes called the butterfly position).
- Pull in your feet so they are as close as you can bring them to your body.
- Gently hold your ankles so that your elbows form a straight line with your knees.
- Push your knees together against your elbows as if you were attempting to bring your legs into a closed position. This helps the groin muscles to contract for an even deeper stretch.
- Now push down the knees.
You can find a helpful video on our Facebook page to show you some of the most effective stretches to improve your workout routine. We also have a number of other useful workout videos on our website to help enrich your exercise regime and condition your body.