Doesn’t getting a massage once a week sound like the best plan ever? What a beautiful luxury to be able to afford! You don’t need the financial ability to get weekly massages when you can loosen up all your tight muscles with a series of beneficial stretches. Many physical therapists agree that regular stretching can make you feel as good as you do after a relaxing massage.
When people stretch, they typically target the hamstrings, quadriceps, and areas of the back. Seldom do people actually perform stretches correctly, though. Without proper form, you will not target the right muscle groups. Moving your body in subtle ways can do more than you realize. The following stretches help you stretch the various nooks and crannies in the body that need the most attention. Stretch regularly with the right form and you won’t feel sore all the time.
Side Neck Stretch
Stand up straight with your arms by your sides and feet hip-distance apart. Let your right ear fall to your right shoulder and take a deep breath. Bend your right arm and take your right index finger to push your chin back until you have a double chin. Lean into the stretch until it feels good, allowing the stretch to deepen for 30-60 seconds. Switch sides and repeat.
Back Of The Neck Stretch
Remain in the same standing position as the previous stretch, or you can sit down if that is more comfortable. Let your head fall forward, bringing your chin to your chest. Interlace your fingers behind your neck and pull down gently while simultaneously lifting your head. Do these for 20 seconds and then let go. Your neck should feel longer after this stretch.
Back Of Shoulder Stretch
Stand up straight with your feet hip-distance apart and interlace your fingers at your lower back, facing your palms back. Pull your elbows toward the front of your body and round your spine. You can lean forward slightly until you feel a good stretch along the backs of your shoulders. Don’t force too much and remain in a comfortable stretch for 30 seconds before releasing.
Stand up straight with your feet hip-distance apart and lift your arms up and out to the sides. You should be in the form of a “T.” Face your palms facing forward and reach your arms behind you. Don’t reach so far that you strain anything; rather, reach until you feel your chest open and then remain in this position for 30-60 seconds, breathing deeply throughout.
Wide-Legged Spinal Rotation
Start standing straight up and step your right foot out to create a wide stance. Hinge at the hips to bend forward and then place your hands on the ground. Place your right hand behind your head and, leading with your elbow, rotate your chest out to the right and toward the ceiling. Ideally, open up so that your elbow is pointing straight up. Rotate back to the starting position, aiming to touch your left arm with your right elbow. Complete 10 reps and then switch sides.
Reclining Figure Four
Lie flat on your back and bend your knees to plant your feet flat on the ground. Place the outside of your right ankle just above your left knee, pressing your right knee out to the side. Grab behind your left hamstring and draw it closer to your chest. You should feel a stretch along your right glute and outside of your hip. Hold for 30-60 seconds, allowing the stretch to deepen naturally, and then repeat on the other side.
Squat To Hamstring Stretch
Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your feet flat on the floor and squat down until your butt almost touches the ground. Make sure to keep your back straight in this position. Grab your feet and pause for three seconds before slowly straightening your legs as much as possible, feeling a stretch in your hamstrings. Aim to keep your back straight during this process. Hold for 10 seconds and then return back to the squat. Complete three reps.