Benefit from your stretching routine by following these tips!

Mistake #1 – You don’t stretch at all

Non-stretchers get tight muscles, causing pain, bad posture, and even less flexibility than you started with

 

Mistake #2 - You’re stretching cold muscles (either first thing in the morning or before you’ve warmed up preparing your body to workout)

In the morning, your muscles are at their all-time stiffest because you've been inactive for hours and your body temperature drops when you sleep

Mistake #3Stretching until it hurts

You don't have to put yourself into great pain for a greater range of motion.   Instead, only push yourself to a tolerable point of discomfort — a seven on a scale of zero to 10 (worst pain you've ever felt). You want to feel tension in the muscles, but no actual pain. 

 

You should be stretching all the major muscle groups below — Both sides! — to promote balance and overall well-being.  At the very least, perform a stretch (like the ones suggested below) for each of the areas listed below and hold for at least 20 seconds.

  • Shoulders: Extend one arm straight up overhead, bend the elbow and let the hand drop behind the head. Use your other hand to pull the elbow behind the head.
  • Lower Back: Sit on the ground with both legs outstretched in front of you with your hands under softly bent knees. Use your hands to pull your upper body toward your legs.
  • Quads: With one leg, take a large step forward. Keeping the back leg long and front knee behind the front foot, bend the front knee and lower into a lunge. Repeat on the opposite side.
  • Groin: Take a wide stance with both feet facing forward. Bend one knee to feel the stretch in the opposite leg. Repeat on the opposite side.
  • Hamstrings: Sit on the ground with your legs apart and one knee bent with its heel against the opposite leg's inner thigh. Keeping your extended knee locked down, reach toward your extended foot. Repeat on opposite side.
  • Calves:Stand in front of a wall with one leg staggered in front of the other. Place both palms on the wall and lean forward as you bend the back knee. Repeat on the opposite side.

There are many other areas of the body to stretch, but start here and then add more stretches when your body feels ready for it.