Whether you’re doing cardio or strength training, the more flexible you are, the better you’re going to perform. But, pre-stretching before your workouts should not be something that takes time away from your workout. The goal for your workout should be a good, high quality workout – not stretching. The best way to think of your muscles is like a rubber band. If a rubber band is tight, it’s not flexible. But, a rubber band that has been stretched too much has no strength, either. Here’s some fitness stretches that can help loosen you up, while leaving you ready for a great workout. And, they only take a couple of minutes!
Your lats, which are the muscles on your sides and back (that give you that “V” shape to your upper back) – they are the muscles you’ll use if you’re climbing and pulling yourself up something. You want to stretch these muscles so that you stabilize your back, and loosen your shoulders as well. To do this, lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent. Hold a small 10 lb. dumbbell or kettlebell above your chest. While keeping your elbows straight, slowing swing your arms toward our head in an arc toward the ground (or as close to the ground as you can). Hold for a breath, then return to a start position and repeat 4 more times.
Your core muscles and lower body muscles are what help keep you upright, help with agility. Stretching these muscles can help you improve your range of motion in your lower back, hips, and ankles. To do this, get into a “plank” or “pushup” position – toes down, palms on the floor about shoulder width apart, arms straight, and back straight. Now, walk your feet forward while raising your hips until your feet are flat. Then walk your feet back to a starting position – then repeat 7 more times.
Wall Hip Stretch
Opening up your hips can help keep your form in check during cardio and strength workouts, as this can help you keep an even stride while running, prevent injury, and help you keep consistent power while doing squats and lunges as well. To do this, kneel in front of a wall with your back to the wall. Place your left knee between the wall and the floor, with your shin running vertically up the wall. Place your right foot in front of you, knee bent 90 degrees. Keep your torso straight and lunge forward slightly. Hold one minute then switch legs. Do the other leg for one minutes.
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