Stretching is something that often gets overlooked! People get so focused on weight training and cardio workouts that stretching doesn’t get the attention it deserves. The truth is, stretching needs to happen on a regular basis to help prevent injury, improve range of motion in the joints and mobility and improve posture. It helps keep the muscles flexible, strong and healthy! Regular stretching keeps muscles long, lean and flexible.
It doesn’t take much but it does take committing to a consistent routine. Stretching once a week isn’t going to do it. It is going to take a regular stretching regimen, just like working out and cardio. It takes a few months of consistency to really improve overall flexibility and mobility. Start by adding in five to 10 minutes of stretching post-workout a few times a week— it will make a huge difference. The key is to hold each stretch for a good 30 seconds to one minute and breathe deeply into the stretch.
Check out some of my favorite shoulder stretches you can incorporate into your stretching routine! Breathe deeply with each stretch, and hold each one for a solid minute.
Chest Opener, Lying on Yoga Block
Place a yoga block on your upper back and arms down alongside your body. Butterfly your legs with feet touching and knees bent and falling open. Lie in this position for a solid minute, breathing deeply. Then bring arms overhead and continue the stretch for another full minute, continuing to breathe deep with each breath.
Floor Stretch with Hips Lifted
Kneel with your knees about shoulder-width apart. Keeping your hips lifted, bring your chest toward the ground and elongate your arms out in front of you. Hold this stretch for a full minute, reaching out further and further in front of you as you become more and more flexible in this stretch.
Forward Fold off Yoga Blocks
Place two yoga blocks out in front of you. Kneel with your knees about shoulder-width apart. Place elbows on yoga blocks and while keeping your hips lifted, bring your chest toward the ground, feeling the nice stretch in your shoulders. Hold this stretch for a full minute.
Seated Behind-the-Body Rag Doll
Sit on the ground with your knees bent and seated on your feet. With your chest lifted and shoulders back, reach behind you to grab opposite arms as much as you can. Hold this stretch for a good minute, breathing deeply. Before you know it, you will be able to grab opposite elbows with ease.
Seated Shoulder Expansion
Sit on the ground with your knees bent and seated on your feet. With your chest lifted and shoulders back, reach behind and interlace your hands to touch. Hold this stretch for a minute, pulling your hands further down as much as possible with each breath.