Stretching is one of the most crucial parts of any workout routine. It prepares the body for the hard work to come and helps you stay injury-free. A good pre-workout stretching routine should not take more than 20 minutes, but you may not even know where to start if you are a beginner. This post will cover the 10 most basic pre-workout stretches that will help you to get ready before every workout.
The stretching can comes before your workout or sometimes after. Whatever your preference, there are specific exercises that you should do to make sure that you’re getting the best results and the least chance of injury.
Also read: 8 Benefits of Stretching in the Morning
Why it is important to stretch before workout?
No matter how much your workout routine is jam-packed with exercises and workouts, it is important to remember to stretch. Stretching gives you the opportunity to warm-up as well as cool down from a workout. It’s also a great way to make sure you are preventing any injury or soreness that might occur after a long day of exercising.
Pre-workout stretches or any vigorous exercise is an important part of good fitness. It makes your body more flexible and stronger. However, it is important to note that stretching is not a replacement for warming up.
Stretching before a workout has been shown to lessen muscular pain and lower the risk of injury. You should always perform pre-workout stretches before lifting weights or doing any rigorous physical activity.
Here are some more reasons why you should stretch before a workout:
- Increases your body range of motion
- It helps to prepare your body for a heavy workout
- Increase blood circulation
- Better flexibility
- Reduces muscles tension
- Reduces soreness
Stretching is easy, but it can lead to harmful effects on your body when done in the wrong way—That’s why it is important to understand some basic techniques before stretching.
Basic techniques for stretching
- Directly stretching your cold and tight muscles can do more harm than good. Start with a little warm-up like walking or slow running before stretching yourself. Stretch your body when your muscles are warm.
- Don’t over-stretch your body, especially in the beginning.
- Hold each stretch for 10-30 seconds in a comfortable position.
- Don’t hold your breath while stretching—breathe naturally and in parallel with stretching.
- Suppose you feel pain while stretching, back off. Remember that your stretching does not need to be painful.
When you should avoid stretching?
There are various reasons why people stretch. Some people stretch because of injuries, and others stretch because they think it will boost their performance and make them feel good.
But It’s important to know exactly when stretching is a good idea, when it is a bad idea, i.e., when you should avoid stretching.
You should avoid stretching when:
- you have an injury
- there is a bone fracture or strain
- you recently had a surgery
- You are not feeling from the inside to stretch
Let’s now look over the 10 basic pre-workout stretches for your full body.
10 Pre-Workout Stretches
For upper body
Arm circles are a great way to warm up your shoulders, arms, chest, and back before a workout. It’s a great exercise to do at the start of an upper-body workout to prevent injuries and get your body ready for strength training.
- Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart.
- Extend your arms to the sides at the right angle.
- Rotate your arms 15-20 times in a clockwise motion.
- As you become more comfortable, try to cover more area while arms rotation.
- Perform rotation in both clockwise and anti-clockwise directions.
- Keep your back and arms straight and breathe naturally.
Cross-body Shoulder stretch
Cross-body shoulder stretch is a good way to ease neck and shoulder muscular stress, soreness, and tightness. It also promotes blood flow to the shoulder joint and can help increase mobility and flexibility in your shoulders and upper back.
- Raise one arm to shoulder level and cross your chest with it.
- With your other arm, gently pull the arm toward you.
- Hold the position for 10 to 30 seconds.
Stretching the neck promotes flexibility, range of motion and minimizes muscle soreness. It also helps in the relief of neck strain, muscle knots, and tightness.
- Relax your shoulders and gently slide your left ear towards your left shoulder with the support of your left arm.
- Stretch as far as you are comfortable.
- Hold the position for 10-15 seconds before switching on the other side.
Cat-cow stretch is the combination of Cat Pose and Cow Pose. It increases muscle flexibility and allows you to go to more complicated poses.
It’s a perfect way to get a gently warmed-up body for the session. This pose also helps to strengthen your spine and improves your balance and posture.
Bent over twist
The bent-over twist is an excellent way to increase flexibility and stability. It’s a good warm-up exercise that rotates your body from one side to another.
- Raise your arms to the sides and stand upright with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Bend and twist your torso to the right, your left hand touching your right foot.
- Repeat on the other side, returning to the starting position.
For lower body
The stretching can be used for both warm-ups or cool-down. It challenges and improves your core and lower-back muscles by requiring you to maintain proper balance. It also helps you lose weight and improves your metabolism.
- Stand up straight
- Take a big step forward with your left leg, lower your hips, and bend both legs to around 90 degrees while remaining upright.
- Maintain a straight line between your ankle and knee.
- Hold the position for 30 seconds.
- Repeat the stretch atleast three times.
Hip circles are one of the excellent forms of dynamic stretching. It’s a great pre-workout stretching for your buttocks. It helps in the strengthening and stabilization of the muscles that surround the joint.
It’s also an excellent workout for reducing stress and improving your stability and flexibility.
- Standing straight with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Make large circles with your hips as you slowly rotate them.
- Repeat it 20 times, both clockwise and anti-clockwise.
Squatting is a popular workout that works the legs, lower back, and core muscles. Most commonly, it helps people in building muscle and burning fat.
The best thing about squat is that you can do it anywhere at any time without any equipment.
It can also help you improve your exercise performance, reduce your injury risk, and keep you moving more effortlessly throughout the day.
- Stand with your feet hip-length apart.
- Maintain a neutral spine, a straight back, and shoulders that are lifted.
- Inhale deeply and squat down.
- Your knees should be parallel to your feet, and your butt should be down to the level of your knee.
- Return to your original place.
- Repeat the steps at least 20-30 times.
When the leg swings back and forth, it is called a leg swing.
Leg swings are an excellent way to warm up your muscles before a workout. This exercise is designed to warm up and stretch the hip muscles as well as the hip joint.
Runners mainly perform this type of stretch before running to warm up their bodies and reduce the risk of injuries.
- Hold onto a wall while standing upright with your feet hip-width apart.
- Slowly swing the one leg forward and backward in a single continuous movement while keeping the other leg stationary.
- Repeat the same with the other leg too.
Standing toe tap
Standing toe touch boost your heart rate, improve mobility, and lower your chance of injury. It also helps in the release of tightness that can prevent you from properly doing workouts.
- Start with standing your feet hip-distance apart.
- Swing your right leg up and touch your right toes with your left hand.
- keep your chest straight
- After getting back to starting position, repeat the stretch with your left leg, putting your right hand to your left toes.
- Perform the stretch 8-10 times with both legs.
So, these were the ten simple pre-workout stretches for a beginner. By adding these pre-workout stretches before your next workout, you can not only improve your flexibility but also reduce the risk of injury. Also, it’s very important to stretch safely.
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