22 StretchesDr. Anna Neff
Here are 22 different stretches for each large muscle group of the body. Even if you choose to do one stretch per day, in less than a month you will have taught yourself how to decrease or prevent muscle tension in all areas of your body!
Research shows that there is a positive outcome from the cumulative result of stretching daily—and holding the stretch as close to 2 minutes as best you can. By holding the stretch closer to the 2 minute mark the muscle is more likely to show permanent change being done to it versus short-term only.
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1. Stretching Upper trap
- Stand and put your arms behind your back.
- Grasp the arm of the injured side using the opposite hand to lower the shoulder.
- Bend your neck to the opposite side until you feel a stretch on top of the shoulder.
- Maintain the stretch and relax.
2. Passive ROM Extension
- Lie on your back over a rolled towel or a foam roll placed at the upper part of the shoulder blades level in horizontal position.
- Bend your knees and make sure your lower back is flat on the surface by tightening abdominals.
- Raise your arms as much as you can to increase the stretch in the upper back (arms do not need to be held together as picture demonstrates)
- Hold arms overhead and take a deep breath in and feel your spine pivoting over roll. Hold 10 sec then slowly lower
- Repeat 5-10x and lower roll to next level of discomfort/stiffness
3. Stretching Flexion
- Stand behind a chair with both hand on the back of the chair.
- Backup a few step and lower your upper body by bending forward until you feel a stretch in front of your shoulder,
- Maintain the position and relax.
4. Stretching EXT (Psoas)
- Kneel on stool, chair or floor creating a 90 degrees angle with the opposite hip.
- Tilt your pelvis backwards by tightening abs to flatten your lower back and transfer your weight forward until you feel a gentle stretch on front aspect of hip of the back leg.
- Hold for desired time.
- Slowly return to initial position
- Special Instructions:
- Maintain Upper body upright and your lower back flatten (not arched)
5. Stretching ITB / Piriformis
- Sit with straight back, one knee bent and the other outstretched
- Cross one leg over the other and hold your knee with the opposite arm and pull thigh across your chest towards the opposite shoulder
- You should feel a stretch at the side of your leg
6. Flexibility / Thigh Stretching
- Sit with knees bent so the soles of the feet are together and hands are resting on the ankles.
- Use your elbows to push down against the inside of the knees while leaning body forward.
7. Flexibility / Back Stretching
- Sit with one leg extended and the other leg flexed so the foot rests on the inside of the thigh.
- Keep back upright and lean forward sliding the hands down the extended leg.
- Sitting on floor with both knees straight out and the toes are pointing straight up
- Reach forward and try to touch toes with both hands
- Keep back straight
9. Stretching Pectorals
- Stand up straight in front of an open doorway
- Place your arms behind you and hold onto either side of the doorway
- Lean your body weight forward until you feel a stretch along your chest and arms
10. Stretching Hamstring
- Lie on your back holding your knee from behind and pull toward chest.
- Gently straighten leg while keeping knee to chest until a stretch is felt,
- Variation: Bend opposite knee so that foot is resting on floor
11. Stretching Quad
- Stand In front of a chair hold on to it with one hand. Keep the lower back neutral (tighten abdominal muscles and perform pelvic tilt). Grab the top of one ankle with one hand to pull foot towards buttock until you feel a gentle stretch on front of the thigh.
- Hold and return to initial position
12. Passive ROM Internal Rot.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent.
- Slowly move your feet outwards until you feel a gentle stretch in your hips.
- Maintain the position and relax.
13. Stretching Adductors
- Sit on the floor with your legs outstretched and apart
- Bend your body forward until you feel a stretch on the insides of your thighs
- NOTE: When you bend your body forward, do not bend your knees or arch your back. Keep your legs and back straight and hinge from the hips only.
14. Stretching Hamstring
- Stand with one foot on a stool in front of you.
- Straighten your leg and pull your toes towards your head.. Lean your body forward just slightly.
- Use a belt or towel wrapped under forefoot and hold in both hands if you need to intensify the stretch. Pull up gently on foot until you feel a gentle pull up the back of your leg.
15. Stretching Calf
- Stand and place both hands on a wall, with your feet about half a meter from the wall
- Place one leg behind the other and lean your body forward until you feel a stretch in your back calf (keep your back knee straight while you lean forward)
- Make sure foot remains pointed straight ahead and arch does not collapse inwards.
16. Stretching Glutes
- Lying on your back with your knees bent, place one foot over the opposite knee
- Grab the leg that is on the ground with your hands and pull it toward you
- Hold that for 30 seconds then repeat
17. Back Shoulders Stretching
- Extend the arms forward while stretching the trunk Make a slight downward pressure on shoulders Turn body sideways while maintaining this pressure Alternate
18. Passive ROM Internal rot.
- Stand with affected arm behind back and each hand grabbing either end of the towel.
- Pull the tip of your shoulder backwards and lift your arm behind your back as high as you can by pulling the towel over shoulder with unaffected arm.
- Slowly return to initial position and repeat.
- Note: affected arm should not be doing any of the movement
19. Stretching Capsule
- Stand beside a wall and raise your arm forward to 90 degrees touching the wall. Keep shoulder blade down and back.
- Point finger tips up to fingers until you feel a stretch at the back of your shoulder.
- Place your other hand on your wrist to hold the stretch and relax.
20. Stretching Rotation
- Lie on side with the bottom leg straight and the top one bent and on the floor.
- Both hands are placed together in front of chest.
- Keep the bottom arm on the floor, you roll back and have the top arm reach back to touch the floor, opening up the chest.
- Maintain the position and return slowly to starting position.
21. Stretching Triceps
- Stand with your chin tucked-in and raise your arm to complete elevation and place your hand behind your head by bending the elbow.
- Place other hand on the elbow of the affected aim.
- Pull towards unaffected side until stretch is felt in the triceps.
- Maintain the position keeping your chin tucked-in and relax.
22. Stretching Lat. dorsi
- Stand with your back against a wall, your chin tucked-in, your feet slightly away from the wall, your arms forward at shoulder level and your elbows bent.
- Raise your arms overhead touching the wall with your fingers while straightening your elbows keeping them pointing forward until you feel a gentle stretch.
- Maintain the position and slowly lower your arms.
- Your head, shoulders and back must stay in contact with the wall at all times.