Enhance Your Flexibility by Incorporating These Exercises

Flexibility plays a central role in overall fitness. Unfortunately, it is often neglected in favor of training activities focused on bodybuilding and cardio activities. Since flexibility directly impacts posture and balance, it is crucial to raise awareness about its importance. In this article, we explored this aspect of physical fitness and various stretching techniques. Let’s examine each type of exercise by providing a concrete example for each. These activities are easy to perform at home.

Dynamic stretch: the high lunge

A dynamic stretch involves controlled, continuous movements through a full range of motion, ideal for warming up before physical activity. It prepares the muscles and joints for wider movements and warms up the body.

In the high lunge pose, the muscles of the hip, legs, back, and shoulders are activated and stretched while maintaining stable alignment. This improves flexibility, strength, and balance, preparing the body for more intense exercises. This dynamic pose combines muscle strengthening and stretching, making it an excellent choice for physical preparation.

How to do this stretch?

1
Start Position
Begin standing with your feet hip-width apart.
2
Step Back
Take a large step back with your right foot into a lunge position.
3
Leg Alignment
Bend your front knee to 90 degrees, aligning it above your left ankle, with your back foot on the ball of the foot.
4
Hips and Torso
Keep your hips aligned forward and your torso upright.
5
Arms Raised
Raise your arms overhead, with your palms facing each other.
6
Hold and Breathe
Hold the position while breathing deeply, then return to the starting position and switch sides.

Active Static Stretch: Knee to Chest

In static stretching, a position is held to gradually elongate the muscle fibers beyond their resting length. Over time, the range of the stretch can increase. An active static stretch involves contracting the muscle intended for stretching. It’s suitable for any time but not recommended immediately before or after a workout to avoid injury.

This exercise is ideal for stretching the gluteus maximus, the largest muscle in the buttocks, and helps alleviate spinal compression from a sedentary lifestyle.

How to do this stretch?

You can repeat this exercise 3 to 5 times per side.

1
Starting Position
Lie on your back.
2
Knee to Chest
Bring your right foot toward your chest and place your hands on it to apply pressure and enhance the stretch.
3
Position Control
Avoid lifting the neck excessively to avoid unnecessary tension.
4
Stretch
Feel the stretch in the right buttock and hip.
5
Hold
Maintain the position for 20 to 30 seconds, breathing deeply while keeping the rest of the body flat against the floor.
6
Switch Sides
Return to the starting position, then repeat on the other side by bringing the left knee toward the chest and repeating the stretch.

Passive Static Stretch: Hamstring Stretch

The principle of passive stretching is the same as for active static stretching: holding a position to lengthen the muscle fibers. However, passive stretching uses an external force, such as an elastic band or a towel.

The hamstrings, located at the back of the thigh, consist of three muscles. Stretching them is important for hip and lower back health. Here is an exercise to do with an elastic band or a towel.

How to do this stretch?

You can repeat this exercise 3 to 5 times per side.

1
Starting Position
Begin by lying on your back and threading the front part of your right foot through a towel or an elastic band.
2
Straight Leg
Extend your right leg and lift the foot above your right hip.
3
Pull the Foot
Pull on the towel or elastic band to intensify the stretch.
4
Stretch
Feel the stretch in the back of the thigh and calf.
5
Hold
Maintain the position for 20 to 30 seconds, breathing deeply.
6
Swith Sides
Return to the starting position, then repeat on the other side by extending the left leg and lifting the foot toward the ceiling.

If you would like to discover more stretching exercises, whether dynamic or static, we strongly encourage you to do some research online. There are several videos and articles created by health and fitness professionals that can guide you toward better flexibility!

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