Most people are familiar with basic stretches like forward folds, but how much do you know about stretching those hard-to-reach muscles?
From your pectoral muscles to your inner thighs, here are 6 unique stretches you need to know about. They’ll get into all of the right spots, and your body will thank you later!
Let’s start with an often neglected part of the body — our shins. Stand up straight, using a wall or chair for balance if needed. Bend both knees slightly. Keep one foot on the ground and place the toe of the leg being stretched behind your grounded foot, allowing your big toe to touch the ground.
Keep that toe on the ground, then “drag” your leg forward without moving your toe. You’ll know it’s working when you feel a nice stretch through the shin. Repeat with the opposite leg.
Massaging your upper back is pretty easy, but stretching it can be a bit trickier. “Eagle arms” is a stretch that’s common in yoga classes, and it’ll give you a nice stretch in your upper back and shoulders.
Here’s an excellent tutorial on how to do the eagle arms stretch, and it even includes beginner modifications.
Don’t forget that the pectoral muscles in our chests get tense and tight like any other muscle – needing some tender loving care via stretches as well.
Begin by standing in a narrow doorway and place your hands on either side of the door frame. With your feet shoulder-width length apart, lean forward and into the stretch. You can even move your hands higher to deepen the stretch and hit additional areas of your chest muscles. If you have issues with balance, please consult a physician prior to this and any other stretches or physical activity.
Give your hips and legs a full stretch with this funny-looking-but-effective stretch.
Lie down on your back and then bring your knees to your chest. Cross one leg over the other while grabbing both ankles with your hands. Pull both legs to your chest, stopping when you feel the stretch. Try holding it for 30 seconds before moving to the next side.
This is another excellent stretch for the hips. Start in a tabletop position on all fours, stacking shoulders over wrists and keeping knees under your hips. Spread your knees out, going wider than hip-width while keeping your toes turned out.
Slowly move your hips back and in between your feet. You’ll feel a deep stretch, but if it’s too much, ease back and keep working toward greater flexibility.
Stretching the inner thighs can be tricky, but this stretch will surely help.
Stand up straight, feet flat on the ground and feet shoulder or hip-distance apart. Bend down into a squat, then position your elbows inside the knees. With one elbow on each knee, bring your hands together and apply pressure to your knees, using your elbows to push them apart. As you stretch, look straight ahead and keep your chest up.
You can do these stretches before or after a workout, or any time you feel like