Here are 10 functional stretching exercises to get you moving and performing better in your daily activities. It’s important to *stretch prior to any exercise. Incorporating daily stretching is a great way to relax and prepare for your day!
1. Hamstring/hip/groin stretch
Sit with legs straight and spread to your sides. Reach above your head with both arms and rotate your torso gently to the right while reaching towards your left foot. Keep your legs as straight as possible. Gently reach further and further for :30 without bouncing. Repeat 3 times on each side.
2. Side reach
Stand with your legs apart and your hands to your waist. Reach up with your left arm and stretch to the side. Count up to five seconds and slowly put your arm down. Afterwards, do the same with your right arm. You may repeat this 10 times.
3. Hamstring stretch
Lie on your back with legs outstretched. Raise one leg straight up and grasp behind the leg with both hands. Pull towards your torso with a gentle stretch. Try to keep the opposite leg straight and touching the floor. Hold for :30, release and repeat 3 times with each leg.
4. Strike a pose
Sit on the floor with your legs straight. Bring your right leg up and cross it over your left knee and place your right foot flat on the floor. Place your left elbow against the outside of your right leg. Place your right hand flat on the floor behind your right hip. Gently pull your left elbow against your right knee while looking over your right shoulder. You should feel this in your right hip area. Hold for :30 and repeat 3 times with each leg.
5. Cat backstretch
Position yourself on the floor on your knees and hands, just like a cat. Afterwards, pull your abdomen in and up. Allow your head to prop down. Hold the stretch position for 10 seconds and return to the starting pose.
6. Groin stretch
Begin lying on your back with your buttocks against the wall and your legs outstretched resting up against the wall. Slowly let your legs lower and spread down the wall to the sides. For an additional stretch gently press with your hands against your upper thighs/knees. Hold for :30 and repeat 3 times.
7. Ab stretch
Position yourself outstretched with your knees on the ground and your upper body held upward with your arms. Extend your elbows shoulder-width apart and stretch to feel very tall. Inhale deeply for five seconds and exhale. Slowly move back, allowing your butt to touch your heels, and then to a comfortable sitting position.
8. Gentle back/glute stretch
Lie on the floor on your back. Pull your knees to your chest and wrap your arms around your shins. Slowly pull and rock from side to side gently. Maintain this movement for 1 minute and repeat.
9. Hip stretch
Lie on your back with plenty of room from side to side. Bend your knees and slide your feet back to your buttocks. Place your right ankle on your left knee. Outstretch your arms to the side. Gently allow your legs to fall to the right with the right ankle pulling the left leg down. Look over your left shoulder. Hold for :30 and repeat 3 times for each leg.
10. Neck roll
Stand straight with your legs apart and your arms clasped at your back. Roll your neck slowly to the left, counting up to eight. Then slowly roll it to the right, counting up to eight again. Stop and release.
Whether you are getting ready for a sports activity, your work at the office, or simply for your day-to-day chores, these functional stretching exercises can help prepare your body for that.
*Do not overstretch to the point of pain as this can cause injury.
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