Static Stretches Are Key
Static stretches are stretches where you hold your position for about 10 to 30 seconds depending on the muscle group and stretch. This is the most common stretching and is known to be great for flexibility, range of motion and muscle soreness over longer terms if used after a work out as you don’t want to over stretch the muscle before your work out. Most people are familiar with static stretching but not so much for Dynamic Stretching which is something I’ve covered in detail separately from this post and is usually don’t before a workout for a warm up.
If you need stretching assistance with stretches you can use Resistance Bands for almost anybody part stretch as well, I have a recommendation and product review as well. In this next section I will cover different stretches based on body parts such as chest, back, arms and legs. There are a ton of static stretching exercises out there so I will only cover the best and most common stretches for flexibility and range of motion.
The chest consists of two main muscles called the Pectoralis Major and the Pectoralis Minor. Pec major is connected to the arm so to stretch it you need to push your shoulder back in a way similar to this. Pec minor is connected to the front of the shoulder blade so to stretch it you would do the same thing but lift your arm higher so you can move your shoulder blade away from where the pec minor connects.
A great chest stretch has you interlocking your fingers behind or butt with your arms straight and pushed backwards and you can lean forwards for an additional stretch. Here is a fantastic stretch for the chest and in particular for the pec minor that you can do almost anywhere, you just need a vertical surface like a wall, door frame or squat rack. A similar stretch will target the pec major and minor at a different angle, the difference is arm verticality. A horizontal arm will put more emphasis on the pec major rather than the pec minor.
Shoutout to Anabolic Aliens by the way as I found these videos very helpful when looking for varying stretches for anybody part. The back is a huge muscle group consisting of five muscles varying in sizes starting from the largest, Latissimus Dorsi (Lats), Trapezius (Traps), Erector Spinae, Rhomboids and Teres Major. The spine is obviously important and with these muscles being interlaced with the spine, it is very important to stretch these muscles to gain greater flexibility and range of motion.
The Cat Back Stretch is a superb stretch after a back workout and focuses on the mid back but targets all the back muscles as well. Arm reaches will target the Lats. To target the lower back you can perform many body twists, laying on your back and bring one leg over one at a time. Stretching the Traps can be done by stretching your neck, leaning your head to one side then the other.
The legs are huge for strength and stability and one of the most important muscle groups to stretch, train and stretch some more. The muscles are the Quadriceps, Hamstrings and calves, the Quads being the largest and the calves being the smallest. In addition, the hips, ankles and Achilles tendon are located on the lower body and are also important when training your body.
Sitting toe touch will stretch your hamstrings and you can do this one leg at a time for a more precision stretch or you can stretch both legs at a time. Standing quad stretch will be one of the best stretches for the legs which is done by grabbing your foot behind your hamstring and holding there making sure your knee is pointed toward the ground. The figure four is a great stretch to do while laying on your back to stretch your glutes and help hip flexibility.
The arms consist of a few different muscles, the Biceps Brachii consists of two muscles, the long head and short head. The Triceps Brachii consist of the long head and lateral head. The forearm has quite a few muscles but is rather easy to stretch. To stretch the wrist and forearm, hold one hand with the other hand straight out in front of your body and pull one wrist inward and hold. Switch hands of course and then with palm facing away and fingers up, pull your fingers towards your face to stretch the other side of the forearm. The wrist stretching is one of my favorites since the wrist is utilized in many exercises and does cause me some discomfort at time, which is why I got a certain pair of work out gloves. To stretch the biceps, the idea is to extend your arm straight as much as possible at different angles and Anabolic Aliens does a phenomenal job showing off some fantastic stretches.
So there you have it! Stretches for each body part, the chest, back, legs and arms. Try to incorporate stretches into your daily routine, Static Stretches when you wake and before you sleep and Dynamic Stretches right before you work out. There are always different stretches you can do so if I missed one that you like, let me know what it is in the comments below so I can try it myself. Let me know if you have any questions as well.