Because a long ride is no easy feat, stretching is key to reap the benefits from miles of sweaty satisfaction. As soon as you hop off the bike, be sure to stretch your tired muscles, paying special attention to your legs and chest. If you're in rush, these five quick and effective stretches will prevent injury and make your next ride the best one yet!
From marathon runners to desk dwellers, tight hips plague many. The discomfort in your hips might be caused in part by tight hip flexors, the group of muscles that flex your femur and pull your knee upwards, the glutes, and even your inner thighs. The good news is even a minute of targeted stretching can help! Show your hips some love with these quick and easy stretches.
- Sit on the ground, bending both knees and bringing your feet together.
- Using your hands, open your feet up like a book. Use your muscles to press your knees down towards the floor. This will help to open your hips up even more.
- Draw your belly button towards your spine. Relax your shoulders and gaze either in front of you or towards your feet.
- You can keep your hands on your feet, pressing your knees down with your arms, or if you want more of a stretch, extend your arms out in front of you. Stay here for at least 5 breaths.
- Starting in a plank position, bring your left foot up and around and to the outside of your left hand.
- Hold for 5 seconds and bring the foot back into the plank position. Repeat this movement on your right side.
- Complete 10 reps on each leg.
Keep reading for one more stretch that will help release tension in tight hips.
When you're at work, leaving the office for some fresh air can change your day. But if you're swamped with work and tied to your desk, this isn't always a viable option. Even if you can't leave, you can still treat your body to a quick stretching session. Watch this video for three moves that will relieve stress in your shoulders, neck, back, and wrists in less than a minute.
After an intense run or indoor cycling class, your tired muscles are screaming for some love. Here are six must-do moves to target all the tight areas of the body, increasing flexibility, preventing injury, and reducing next-day soreness.
Targets: hamstrings, lower back, chest, shoulders
- Stand with your feet hips-width distance apart. Inhale to interlace your hands behind you, pressing the heels of your palms together in a double fist.
- As you exhale, fold forward at the hips. Keep your legs straight and press your navel toward your thighs to encourage a straight spine. Fold as deeply as you can, pressing your weight forward into your toes. Hold for 30 seconds.
Targets: quads, abs, shoulders
- Stand on your shins so your knees are underneath your hips.
- Take a breath in, and then exhale to reach your right hand back, placing it on your right heel or on the mat behind your right toes. Extend your left arm in the air.
- Shift weight forward onto your knees to increase the stretch in your quads, belly, and chest. Lower your head behind you, holding for 30 seconds. Lift the torso up, and then switch sides.
Targets: hip flexors, hips
- Come into a low lunge with the right knee forward, hands resting on the floor underneath your shoulders. Inhale and then exhale as you slowly lower your right knee to the right, resting on the outside of your right flexed foot. Keep the arms straight, pressing your chest forward to increase the stretch in the front of the left thigh.
- After 30 seconds, switch sides.
Keep reading to see three more essential stretches.
Training for a marathon is no easy task, making injury prevention key in order to remain at your best. With our 18-week training plan and our core-strengthening series, you can build the endurance needed for your first 26.2 miles. To prevent injury along the way, we have also created a prehab stretch and strengthening series, designed to keep you healthy and strong leading up to race day. Performed in this order, this combination of exercises will minimize the common running injuries that may occur during marathon training.
— Additional reporting by Emily Bibb
What do dropping down to give me 50, an hour of swimming freestyle, and sitting hunched over a computer all have in common? Tight and tense shoulders, that's what. Aside from scheduling an appointment with a massage therapist, you can hop on your mat and show this area some love with this chest- and shoulder-opening yoga sequence. Move through all 11 postures on the right side, and then repeat on the left.
Source: Laughing River Yoga Studio
The calves are one of the most overused and overlooked muscles in the body, and if you wear heels, run regularly, or both, stretching your calves is a must, since tight, shortened calves can lead to injury. These five calf stretches can be done almost anywhere, so click through to learn how to do them and then add these stretches to your daily routine!
If you run, bike, or are deskbound all day, your hamstrings could use some extra love. It not only feels good to stretch this commonly tight area, but hamstring flexibility is also important for the health of your back, hips, and knees. Here are six easy and essential stretches that target the backs of your legs. To avoid injury, it's best to do them at the end of a workout, when the muscles are warm.
Chances are, if you're sitting at a desk, you're hunching. Rounded shoulders and back are symptoms of all those hours spent sitting in a chair. While the long-term solution to the problem is to create an ergonomic desk environment, for immediate relief of tension and strain, take two minutes to do these quick stretches now to realign your shoulders, straighten up, and feel better fast.
While you do this stretch, focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together to open your shoulders.
- Stand and reach both hands behind you, below your back.
- Hold your left wrist with your right hand and use your right hand to gently pull and straighten your left arm away from you.
- Move your head to your right side to give your neck a stretch. Hold for 30 seconds and switch.
Read on for one more one-minute stretch to do in your office.