Last week we talked about New Years resolutions, and this week we’re going to get into one of mine: to stretch more. I spend most of my day running around from project to project, so it’s important to treat my body right. Taking 10-15 minutes to stretch in the morning preps both my body (and my mind) to have a productive day. So I asked Zach and Julia (my chiropractor) to share some of their go-to stretches to start the day off right!
We’ve been posting workouts and preaching the value of working hard, but just as important is recovery and treating your body right. A big part of staying healthy and recovering well is stretching.
Stretching is kind of like flossing: you know you need to do it, but how many of you actually do? I always feel better when I do, so having a routine and making it a habit is key to consistency. My chiropractor, (and Bobby’s) Julia, always helps us nail down what we need to work on, so I asked her to help come up with a well rounded routine of stretches that will get your day started off on the right foot. We focused on more dynamic stretches, meaning that instead of finding a position and holding it for a while, you’re meant to move in and out of the stretch. It will get your body moving well and your blood flowing. This routine is meant to hit different areas, so feel free to tweak it to fit your needs. Enjoy!
Forward Fold Chest Opener
Standing tall, clasp your hands together behind your back. Unlock your knees and push your hips back, bending over while keeping your back as straight as possible. Be sure not to bend your knees much. As you do this, push your chest out and pull your shoulders back. Bring your hands as far forward as you can to open up your chest and shoulders. Hold for a few seconds at the bottom and come back up. Do this 10 times.
Side body opener
Standing up, cross your right leg behind your left. Reach your right arm up and over to your left side. Lean to your left while pushing your hips out to the right. Reach as far as you can while keeping both feet flat on the ground. Come back to a neutral standing position and repeat on the other side. Do this 5 times per side.
kneeling cat to cow
Kneel down on your mat and place your hands on the ground shoulder width apart, about 2 inches in front of your knees. Sit back onto your heels, or as far back as you can. Look up and arch your back, pulling the shoulders back. Then while looking down press your hands into the ground and round your back. Do this 10 times moving slowly from one to the other. This variation of the classic cat to cow targets the thoracic spine and is great for people who sit a lot.
child’s pose with reach
From that same kneeling position, keep your hips back and reach our as far as you can. Press your hands into the ground until you feel a stretch in the upper back and shoulder. Reach your right arm across your body and out to the left. Look at your hand the whole time allowing your shoulders to rotate slightly, but without moving your left hand. Repeat on the other side and then come back up to a kneeling position. Repeat 5 times.
Lying on your back, bring your left leg up toward your chest with your knee bent at 90 degrees. Reach your right arm across and grab the outside of your knee. Pull your left leg across to the right side of your body, keeping your knee bent at 90 and your back as flat as possible. It can also help to keep your left arm stretches out to the side. Hold this position for about 10 second pulling your leg as far as you can without pain. Return to neutral and repeat with other side. Do 3-5 times per side, until the discomfort starts to subside.
LYING hamstring stretch
Lying flat on your back, bring your right leg up toward your chest. Reach both hands around the back of your leg grabbing your thigh just under the knee. If you can’t reach around, use a small kitchen towel to to wrap around the back side of your leg. Pull your knee toward your chest while extending the leg as straight as possible. Bend your leg again and repeat 10 times per side.
Lie on your right side extending your right arm straight out. Place your left hand on top of your right and bend your knees to about 90 degrees. Slide your left hand up your right arm and to the chest, twisting your torso while you do so. Make sure to keep the right knee down the whole time. Return to your starting position. Do this 10 times per side.
pigeon with reach
Sit with your right knee bent in front of you and your left leg extended behind you. Pull your right heel closer to your left hip and sit back as far as your can, bringing your right hip to the ground. Then, if you can, walk your hand out as far forward as possible. Once you find a position where you feel a deep stretch with in that position for about 30-45 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
downward dog to cobra
Start in a high plank position with your palms spread wide and your shoulders over your wrists. Your feet should be hip width apart and toes curled under your feet. Press your palms into the ground pushing your shoulders back while raising your hips up high. Your knees should be as straight as possible, but not locked in. Keep a very slight, soft bend in the legs. Then bring your chest and hips forward and toward the ground, bending your arms while straightening your legs. With your hips and knees on the ground, press your chest up. Look up while arching your back. This stretch is great for decompressing your lower back. Repeat 5-10 times, depending on how tight your lower back is.