5 Full-Physique Stretches
Mobility is one of the most overlooked aspects of fitness and often gets left out when you’re in a hurry to get out of the gym and back to life. These excuseproof stretches can be done in each room of your home and are easily integrated into your daily life to increase flexibility, manage stress and improve energy, sleep and vitality.
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The Living Room Stretch
Targets: hip flexors, side body
Kneel facing away from a chair or couch and lift your left heel up to your glutes. Slide your leg back behind you so your shin is as close to the couch as possible and your thigh is perpendicular to the floor. Bring your right leg forward with your knee bent 90 degrees and tuck your pelvis so you feel a stretch in your left hip flexor. Reach both arms overhead, grab your left wrist with your right hand, and lift up and over to the right while keeping your hips square. Hold and breathe deeply for three seconds, then return to the start. Do five reps on each side.
Tip: Got super-tight hips? Position your left knee farther away from the couch.
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The Kitchen Stretch
Targets: medial hamstrings, adductors
Stand by a cabinet or counter and extend your right leg out to the side, knee straight, and rest your heel on top of the counter. Externally rotate your leg and keep your hips square as you slowly bend your left knee and rotate your torso to the left, then return to the start. Do five reps on each side.
Tip: If you can’t comfortably get your leg onto the cabinet or counter with your knee straight, use a low chair to modify.
Bonus Boost: After you perform your reps, point and flex the toes of your elevated foot five times before switching sides.
The Doorway Stretch
Targets: chest, anterior deltoids
Stand in a doorway with your right leg forward and your left leg back. Raise your right arm to the side at shoulder height with your elbow bent 90 degrees, then place your palm and elbow against the outside of the door frame. Engage your core, then gently turn away from your arm to the left while bending your knees slightly. Slowly return to the start and complete eight reps on each side.
Tip: Try moving your arm higher or lower against the door frame to hit different areas of your chest.
The Bathroom Stretch
Targets: shoulders, serratus anterior, triceps, chest
Hold one end of a towel in your right hand overhead with your arm straight, then bend your elbow so the towel hangs behind you along your spine. Reach behind you with your left hand and grab the other end of the towel as high as you can. Lift your chest and simultaneously pull with both hands in opposite directions, holding for five slow breaths. Repeat on both sides.
Tip: Walk your hands incrementally in toward one another along the towel as your muscles relax and your shoulders stretch out.
The Bedroom Prayer Stretch
Targets: lats, triceps, thoracic spine
Kneel facing your bed or settee and place your elbows on top bent 90 degrees, then press your palms and forearms together. Walk your knees back so they are directly underneath your hips and your back is straight and parallel with the floor. Drop your head between your arms and press down into your elbows to spread your shoulder blades apart while engaging your abs. Hold here as you slowly bring your palms behind your head, then extend your arms away from you as far as you can while keeping your palms pressed together. Do eight reps.
Tip: If your bed or settee is too high, use a lower surface such as a chair with soft padding to protect your elbows.
If you feel a tweak, a twinge or any resistance because of mobility issues in your shoulders, position your elbows wider apart to perform this move.