Stretching before and after exercise is very important to cool the muscles, relieve tension in them, and prep you for another day of exercise. You may have noticed that people who participate in intense activities such as swimming, HIIT, or crossfire also spend some time to warm up and cool down after their exercise routine.
Our sedentary lifestyle is a major hampering factor in our exercise and fitness goals. It is very important that we get adequate stretches before we exercise because unlike our ancestors, we don’t spend 10 hours a day in physical activities. So, here are 10 stretches for men that can help each muscle group stay flexible, free, and ready for a good workout.
1. Upper Body Rotations
When it comes to a good stretch, it is important to focus on each muscle group separately. Upper body rotations help the thorax and neck muscles.
- Lie flat on the floor and bend your knees.
- Turn them to one side while keeping the rest
- Try and bring your knees as close to the floor as possible.
- Repeat on the other side.
The key is to remain static. This simple knee twist stretches out the muscles in the upper back and neck.1
2. Arm Stretches
Arm stretches are easy to do and help to relieve any pain or tension in the arms.
- Lie on your tummy and try bringing your knees and elbows as close to each other as possible.
- Slowly stretch one arm out as far as you can. There should be no pain.
- Bring it back again and stretch out the other arm.
- Do this until you feel the stiffness leaving your arms.2
3. Shoulder Stretch
This stretch focuses specifically on the shoulder muscles.
- Stand upright and raise one arm up.
- Twist the other arm behind your back from below.
- Now bring the upward facing arm behind your back and try to hold the other arm.
- If you are unable to hold hands, you can also do this exercise with a towel.3
4. Reverse Lunge Twist
In this twist, the focus is on your lower body, especially your thighs and calf muscles.
- Stand straight and loosen your arms.
- As with a regular lunge, push one leg behind while bending the other leg.
- Simultaneously, raise your arms above your head and twist.
The twist rotation works on the lower back and pelvic muscles, while the lunge itself
5. Simple Foot Stretch
This foot stretch is the simplest way to release any stiffness.
- Lie down on your back and loosen your body to release any tension.
- Slowly stretch your right foot outward and bring it back to its original position.
- Follow the same with the left foot.
- Repeat until you feel that the stiffness in your feet and calf muscles ease out.
6. Quad Stretch
Earlier stretches for the thighs only release the hamstring muscles. This one works on the front portion of the thigh as well.
- Place your left arm against the wall for support.
- Gently raise your right leg backward, keeping the other leg straight.
- Hold with your right hand and pull
- Be sure not to overdo this as it can cause pain in the back.5
7. Wall Push
This exercise helps to stretch the calf muscles.6
- As the name suggests, stand a few feet away from a wall and push it while leaning in.
- Keep your toes on the ground without moving them.
8. Spinal Twist
Our spinal column is very much part of the skeletal system and needs a good stretch after a long workout, or even before it.
- Sit on a mat with your feet stretched out and spine straight.
- Place your left arm behind you and right arm on the left knee.
- Turn as much as you can toward the left. You
- Repeat on the other side. Do this after a workout for maximum benefit.7
9. Cooling Down
Stretching and warming up is very important, and so is cooling down. Spending a few minutes on stretching will keep you in a good shape for the next day.
- Most cool down exercises ask you to gently reduce the pace of the exercise before stopping.
- Once you do this, lie down on the floor and consciously release every muscle that feels pulled, stretched or otherwise sore.
Although stretching is good to reduce the risk of injury, overdoing it or using the wrong technique can ruin all your hard work.