4 Stretches to Improve Your Flexibility
Stretching your body comes with a wide range of physical benefits. Stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy, and we need that flexibility to maintain a range of motion in the joints. Below are our physical therapist Hayley Poland's 4 simple stretches to help improve your flexibility.
Better flexibility may:
- Increase muscle blood flow
- Help your joints move through their full range of motion
- Improve performance in physical activities
- Enables your muscles to work most effectively
Hamstring Stretch with Strap
1. Lie on your back, and place a strap or belt around the ball of your foot.
2. Bend the knee of the leg you are not stretching to help relax your back.
3. Keeping your knee straight, pull your leg up with the strap until you feel a stretch behind your knee/leg.
1. Lie on your back with both knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
2. Put the ankle of your affected leg on your opposite thigh near your knee.
3. Use your hand to gently push your knee (on your affected leg) away from your body until you feel a gentle stretch around your hip.
4. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.
5. Switch legs.
Standing Quad Stretch
1. Stand on one foot and bend the other leg back. Place the top of the foot on the back of a chair or a block.
2. The height of the foot dictates the amount of stretch in the quadriceps muscles(thighs).
3. Keep your hips and shoulders square to the wall. Look down and be sure that your knees remain right beside each other. The key is to make sure that the down leg/hip is not jetting out to the side. You must keep your hips level.
4. Hold. If needed, hold onto something for balance.
Hip Flexor Stretch
1. On an exercise mat, kneel on both knees. Your bottom should be on the heels of your feet with the balls of your feet pressed firmly against the mat.
2. Lean forward and press your palms to the mat. Hands should be shoulder-width apart, and elbows should be slightly bent to prevent them from locking.
3. Bring your left knee forward through the gap between your arms and place your left foot flat on the mat in front of you, creating a 90-degree angle.
4. Straighten your upper body and place both of your hands on your left knee in front of you for support and balance.
5. Extend your right leg behind you. Your right knee should be pressed into the mat and the top of your right foot is rested on the mat.
6. Lean forward slightly to deepen the stretch. Hold for 20-30 seconds.
7. Repeat on the other side.
*Our physical therapists can assess your muscle strength and tailor a stretching program to fit your needs.