Wellness

The 9 Stretches For Flexibility Trainers Always Recommend

No splits necessary.

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Stretching can do everything from ease aches and pains to boost athletic performance. That’s because it keeps your body bendy and limber, says FORWARD__Space instructor Rachel Warren. To help you reap all the benefits, trainers share their go-to stretches for flexibility.

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Stretch Often

Stretching most days — even just for five minutes — is necessary to get and stay flexible, says Youmie Jean Francois, CEO of wellness company Flex-n-Fly. Warren recommends holding stretches for 30 to 90 seconds to get the most out of them.

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Stretch Everything

Flexibility isn’t just about doing the splits, says Warren. Having a limber spine and core are equally important to help your body move comfortably and functionally. Read on for trainer-approved stretches that build full-body flexibility.

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1. Chest Opener

Stretching out your front side can help you stay bendy throughout your body, says Warren. Clasp your hands at your lower back. Sit or stand up tall as you inhale, then lift your hands and bring your shoulder blades together as you exhale. Hold.

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2. Frog Pose

Tight inner thighs are often to blame for low-body inflexibility. To loosen them up, Francois recommends holding frog pose for a minute. Spread your knees wide while on all fours. Keep your shins parallel and feet pointing out. Lean your hips back for a deeper stretch.

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3. Pigeon Pose

Stretch your hips, legs, groin, and low back all at once with pigeon pose, says Francois. Bring one shin close to parallel to the top of your mat. Extend the other leg behind you. Face your hips forward. You can also lower down to your forearms to deepen the pose.

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4. Side Body Stretch

Warren recommends side-body stretches to keep your core limber. Reach one or both arms up while sitting or standing, then lean to the side while you exhale. Hold, then inhale as you return to center. Bonus? They’re the perfect workday stretch break.

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5. Forward Fold

It’s a classic for a reason: A forward fold can lengthen muscles on the back of your legs and deepen hip flexion, says Warren. Stand or sit with your legs extended, then hinge at the hips to fold towards your toes. Bend your knees or use blocks if you need.

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6. Runner’s Lunge

Lunges are a must for keeping your hip flexors nimble, says Francois. Step your foot to the outer side of your hands. Keep your hips facing towards the ground, and press them down for a deeper stretch. You can drop your back knee to the ground for extra support.

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7. Upward-Facing Dog

Spinal flexibility can counter WFH aches and improve mobility, and Francois suggests the up-dog stretch for the job. Lie belly-down. Press into your hands and the tops of your feet to lift your chest up. Avoid shrugging your shoulders towards your ears.

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8. Half Splits

If the full splits aren’t in the cards, try half splits to build flexibility in your hamstrings and calves. Stand on your knees. Extend one leg forward with your heel to the ground. Lean forward over the extended leg. Who knows, maybe the full splits will follow!

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