How many of you out there are skipping your warm up? Now that everyone in North America has their hands up, let’s talk about time: this stretch hits almost every muscle in your body and takes less than five minutes. It also combines dynamic and static elements, challenges your central nervous system, increases your range of motion, and elongates and strengthens your muscles at the same time.
Do these five positions in order, holding them down for three to five seconds each if you are using them to warm up, or five to 10 seconds if you are using them to cool down or do mobility training. Move smoothly between positions and do the entire sequence three to five times per side. Take a deep breath and try to stretch a little further each time you repeat the sequence.
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For hip flexors, hamstrings, adductors, glutes, calves, lower back
Step forward with your right leg and bend your right knee deeply, keeping the knee over your toes. Place both hands on the floor in your right foot, aligning them with your instep, and aligning your hips. Keep your back leg straight by actively pushing back through your heel, squeezing your glutes, and contracting your quads.
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Elbow to instep
For hip flexors, glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves, back
Holding your lunge position, with your left hand in place, bend your right elbow 90 degrees so your forearm is parallel to the floor, and place it against the inside of your right leg. Slowly fold yourself forward with a flat back and slide your elbow over your leg as far as possible without rounding your back. Your goal is to bring your entire forearm to the floor with your elbow on the inside of your arch, as shown.
Internal / external rotation and reach
For thoracic spine, shoulders, chest, adductors, lower back, hamstrings, obliques, biceps
Place your right hand back on the floor in your right foot and open your chest and shoulders to the left, reaching your left fingertips toward the ceiling and looking towards your left hand as shown. Bring both hands back to center, realign your hips, then keep your left hand on the floor as you twist to the right, stretching your right fingertips toward the ceiling, and looking up at your hand.
Quad / hip stretch
For quads, hip flexors, adductors, chest, shoulders
Return to center, place your left knee on the floor and tuck your pelvis under it while reaching your arms above you and the elbows on your ears. Do not cover your back; rather extend it by actively reaching upwards.
For hamstrings, back and calves
Lower your arms and place your fingertips on the floor on either side of your right foot. Then, raise your glutes towards the ceiling as you straighten your right leg. Align your hips and keep your back as flat as possible as you lift your right toes and push back into your left heel.