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15 Static Stretching Exercises to Totally Enhance Your Workout Routine

15 Static Stretching Exercises to Totally Enhance Your Workout Routine

Stretching is one of those aspects of fitness that many people conveniently forget about. Perhaps you’re one of those who consider stretching nothing but a mere chore meant for ballerinas and gymnasts.

Well… you’re wrong!

Everyone needs stretching! Irrespective of your reasons for working out, be it for sports or personal fitness, one thing is certain – stretching can help you. Stretching – static or dynamic – comes with myriads of benefits – such as improvement in flexibility and reduction in muscle tightness – which ultimately allow you to go through your workout routines with greater efficiency.

For the purpose of this article, though, we’ll zero in on static stretching and take a look at its benefits and when it should be done. Finally I’ll cap it up by revealing 15 great static stretching exercises that’ll help keep your whole body in tip-top condition. So sit back, relax and enjoy!

Benefits of static stretching

Static stretching comes with tons of benefits that can help you to make the most of your workout routine. Some of them include:

1. Improved flexibility

Alright! Here’s the deal – if you want to perform better, flexibility is of tremendous importance, irrespective of the specific workouts you do. And luckily enough, static stretching is all you need to get all the flexibility you desire.

Flexibility, also known as the range of motion (ROM) around a joint, has been shown by several studies to be improved by static stretching.[1] And although the specific mechanism through which this occurs is still unclear, static stretching has been shown to greatly increase joint flexibility[2] and tissue length,[3] which work in tandem to make your workout more effective.

2. Decreased risk of injury

If you’re looking to push yourself to your training limits without coming down with injuries, then stretching will do you a great service. Research has shown time and time again, that performing the right stretch exercises pre- and post-workout greatly helps with injury prevention.[4]

So, how does it work? Well, think of it this way:

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When you stretch you literally push your joints and muscle fibers to their limit. This increases the stretch tolerance in these muscles and joints over time and the increased tolerance allows you to perform more rigorous exercises without negatively impacting your body or risking an injury.

3. Increased blood flow and nutrient supply to the joints

Another benefit of stretching is increased blood flow – and by extension, nutrient supply – to the joints and muscles of the target areas. This, in turn, improves the performance of these muscles and joints due to the availability of more nutrients, improved oxygenation and removal of metabolites.

For static stretching though, the mechanism of action isn’t as straightforward. When stretching statically, blood flow (capillary oxygenation) temporarily reduces due to vascular compression.

However, immediately after releasing the stretch, the blood flow to these areas nearly doubles the pre-stretching levels.[5] Thus, blood flow increases.

4. Improvement in recovery

If you’ve been working out for some time, then you’ve probably discovered that a rigorous workout session can leave you battling with sore muscles… for days!

Recovery essentially means getting rid of this soreness and returning your muscle fibres back to their tip-top condition.

So, how does stretching come in? See…that’s the thing, research has shown that practicing static stretching after your workout session helps to reduce muscle soreness. And while some may argue that this effect is minimal, the fact still remains that stretching does help shorten your recovery time.

Stretching allows tissues to be better hydrated after the induced tension is released and this encourages the inflammation and faster repair of such tissues.

Other reasons why you really should incorporate stretching into your workout include:

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  • Improved relaxation
  • Increased movement efficiency
  • Reduction in the risk of lower back pain
  • Reduction in muscular tension
  • Improvement in neuromuscular coordination
  • Improvement in balance and postural awareness
  • Provision of relief from cramping

Alrighty! Now that it’s crystal clear that stretching does your body a world of good, let’s dive right into the actual stretching exercises.

15 Great static stretching exercises you should start doing

Here are some amazing exercises that will keep your body in tip-top condition and take your workout routine to the next level.

1. Neck stretch

    While sitting tall or standing, place your right arm gently on the right side of your head and place the other arm straightly on your side.

    • Slowly pull your head towards your right shoulder until you can feel the stretch on the left side of your neck.
    • Hold for about 30 seconds before releasing.
    • Repeat for the opposite side.

    2. Chest Stretch

      Stand right, with your fingers interlocked behind your back, near your buttocks.

      • While keeping your shoulder blades together and your back straight, push your arms up behind you, until you feel the stretch in your chest.
      • Hold for about 20-30 seconds before releasing.

      3. Cross-body shoulder stretch

        Stand right or sit tall

        • Extend one arm to your front to shoulder height.
        • Grab the extended arm with your other arm and pull it towards your chest while keeping the extended arm straight.
        • Continue the pull until you feel the stretch in your shoulder.
        • Hold for 30 seconds and repeat for the other arm.

        4. Triceps stretch

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          • Lift your arms overhead with both arms slightly behind your head and bent at the elbow.
          • Use your right hand to pull your left elbow until you feel a stretch in your triceps.
          • Hold for about 30 seconds and repeat for the other arm.

          5. Biceps stretch

            • Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
            • With your fingers pointing away from your body, place your two palms flat on the floor behind you.
            • While your hands are steadily in place, slowly slide your butt downward toward your feet until you can feel the stretch in your biceps, shoulders and chest.
            • Hold for about 30 seconds before release.

            6. Wrist stretch

              • While Standing straight or sitting tall, extend your right arm forward to shoulder height with your fingers pointing towards the ceiling.
              • Grab your right fingers with your left hand and pull your right hand to bend the wrist until you can feel the stretch
              • Hold this position for about 30 seconds and repeat for the opposite arm.

              7. Side stretch

                • Stand straight with your feet hip-wide apart.
                • Take your right arm and reach over your head towards your left side while bending your side.
                • Keep bending your side slowly until you can feel a stretch on your right side.
                • Maintain this position for about 30 seconds and repeat for the opposite side.

                8. Abdominal stretch

                  • Lie down on your stomach with your face towards the ground and your palms facing the floor as though you’re about to do a push up.
                  • While keeping your pelvis firmly on the floor, gently push up your upper body from the ground. This should make your feel some stretch in your abs.
                  • Maintain this position for about 30 seconds before releasing.

                  9. Reclined spinal twist

                    • Lie down facing the ceiling, with your arms extended to the sides and placed on the floor.
                    • While keeping the right leg extended, pull up your left knee towards your chest, tilt it toward your right side and then drop it slowly over your extended right leg.
                    • Keep your shoulder blades flat on the ground and you should feel the stretch around your back
                    • Hold for about 30 seconds and repeat for the opposite side.

                    10. Low-back stretch

                      • Lie on the ground facing the ceiling, with your knees bent.
                      • Hold your shins and pull up your knees toward your chest.
                      • This should make you feel some stretch in your lower back.
                      • Hold for about 30 seconds before releasing.

                      11. Hip flexor stretch

                        • Stand right in a standard lunge position.
                        • Place your two hands on your hips.
                        • Step out on your right foot into mini-lunge position, without your knee going beyond your right toe.
                        • Hold for about 30 seconds and repeat for the left side.

                        12. Glutes stretch

                          • Sit tall on the ground with both knees bent and both feet on the floor.
                          • Lift your right leg and cross it over your left thigh, while your left knee remains bent.
                          • Pull both legs inwards toward your abdomen for a deep stretch of your glutes.
                          • Hold this position for about 30 seconds and repeat with the other leg.

                          13. Quadriceps stretch

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                            • Stand tall while maintaining a straight posture.
                            • With your left hand, grab a pole, wall or anything durable for balance.
                            • With your right hand, grab your right foot and pull up your heels until they touch your buttocks.
                            • Keep your knees close together while doing this and you should feel the stretch in your quadriceps.
                            • Hold this position for about 30 seconds and repeat for the other side.

                            14. Hamstring stretch

                              • Sit on the floor with your right leg extended straight in front of you and your left leg bent.
                              • Reach forward with your right hand and touch your right toes. This should cause a stretch in your right hamstring.
                              • Hold this position for about 30 seconds and repeat for the left leg.
                              • If you’re unable to reach your toes, try holding your shin instead but seek to go further every time you perform the stretch until you can touch your toes.

                              15. Calf stretch

                                • Sit on the ground and extend your right foot straight in front of you.
                                • Gently pull your right toes backwards with your right hand. This should cause a noticeable stretch in your calf.
                                • Hold this position for about 30 seconds and repeat for the left leg.
                                • If you’re unable to reach your toes, use a rope or towel to pull your toes inward.

                                When should you be doing static stretches?

                                Static stretching is great…when done correctly and at the right time. Over the years, research has shown that static stretching produces best results when done after working out or on rest days,[6] but not as a part of warm up exercises before an explosive workout session.

                                This is because static stretching exercises have a “cool-down” effect on the muscles and are more effective when done after the muscles are already warm.

                                So, does that mean you must never ever perform static stretches before working out? Certainly not! You can, but it should be kept to the barest minimum.

                                Dynamic stretches – that involve more movement – are generally recommended for warming up as it helps the body to prepare better for the work ahead.

                                The bottom line

                                Carving out the body of your dreams isn’t only about lifting weights and running, you need to keep your body “elastic” if you’re going to make the most of your training. And that’s the whole point of stretching exercises.

                                So, starting today, be sure to incorporate these static stretching exercises into your routine and in no time, you’ll find yourself recovering faster and performing better than ever before.

                                Just remember to keep these stretches a part of your post-workout dessert for maximum benefit.

                                You’ve got this!

                                Featured photo credit: Scott Broome via unsplash.com

                                Reference

                                More by this author

                                Richard Adefioye

                                Richard has a unique passion for healthy living and productivity.

                                How to Sleep for Improved Health and Productivity How to Start Eating Healthy No Matter How Old You Are 15 Static Stretching Exercises to Totally Enhance Your Workout Routine 5 Killer Stomach Workouts for Impressive Abs How Fat Kids Are Made by Parents (And How to Make Your Kids Healthy)

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                                Last Updated on October 15, 2019

                                How To Be Successful In Life? 13 Tips From The Most Successful People

                                How To Be Successful In Life? 13 Tips From The Most Successful People

                                What is success to you? How to be successful in life?

                                To some, when they think of success, they imagine wealth; others want power; some just want to make a positive impact on the world.

                                All of these are perfectly valid, indeed success is a concept that means different things to different people. Though no matter what success is to you, it almost certainly isn’t something will come easily.

                                There are countless guides and books to being successful, however, as success is personal and unique to each individual. The advice contained in these books can often not be relevant. Therefore following the advice of a single individual can often be unhelpful.

                                With this in mind, considering the advice of a great many people, people whose ideas of success were different both to each other, and quite possibly, to you can be a good alternative.

                                What follows is a list of thirteen of the best pieces of advice from some of the most successful people who have ever lived. If you want to learn how to be successful, these 13 tips are essential:

                                1. Think Big

                                  From Michelangelo Buonarroti, Great Renaissance Artist:

                                  “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”

                                  There are few artists as influential as Michaelangelo. Today centuries after his death, his work still inspires and connects to people. His work is world famous, just think of his statue of David, or the Mural in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.

                                  Imagine then, if he decided not to work as an artist.

                                  Being a successful artist has always been extremely difficult, imagine if he decided to give up this ambition in favour of something easier?

                                  Oftentimes, people often decided to put their dreams aside for something more “realistic”. To give up their dream for something easier. This quote teaches us the danger of such a point of view.
                                  Instead be ambitious.

                                  2. Find What You Love to Do and Do It

                                    From Oprah Winfrey, Media Mogul:

                                    “You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job and not be paid for it.”

                                    This is a good quote to remember and think about when you’re at work.

                                    Imagine being as successful as possible in your current job. Ultimately you’ll probably find yourself working extremely hard and this it will take up much of your time.

                                    If it’s a job you hate, then being successful at it might only mean filling your life with something you hate to do. What’s the sense in this?

                                    Instead, why not focus on doing something you love? When you’ve found what you’re passionate about, you get the motivation to keep you moving. Success at this means the fulfilment of your dreams.

                                    Not sure what your passion is yet? You should learn about this Motivation Engine first.

                                    Even if you’re not successful, you still filled your time with something you love to do. Many successful musicians spent years of their lives doing unpaid performances, the only reason they kept playing was because they loved to perform.

                                    3. Learn How to Balance Life

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                                      From Phil Knight, CEO of Nike Inc.:

                                      “There is an immutable conflict at work in life and in business, a constant battle between peace and chaos. Neither can be mastered, but both can be influenced. How you go about that is the key to success.”

                                      All too often, people think that to be successful, they need to make the object of their success their life.

                                      If a person thinks their job will lead them to success, then they may spend countless hours per day, and well into the evening working hard.

                                      However this comes at the cost of rest, your health and having an enjoyable life. Ultimately they may burn out and cease to be successful at their job anyway.

                                      If success comes from having a strong social life and a good group of friends, their job may suffer; meaning that they may lose their job, and then be unable to afford going out with friends.

                                      In these ways, success, as Phil Knight says above, is helped by balance. Think of it as a balance between rest and work, or work and play.

                                      To achieve that balance, this Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life can help you.

                                      4. Do Not Be Afraid of Failure

                                        From Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motors:

                                        “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

                                        There is a story, it’s unconfirmed whether it actually happened, yet the message within is none the less true:

                                        Thomas Edison inventing the lightbulb was the result of several hundred failed attempts. In an interview, he was asked “How do you feel after all of your failed attempts?”

                                        His response was great, “I didn’t fail, I learned hundreds of ways not to invent the lightbulb”

                                        He saw each “failure” as a lesson. From that lesson he learned what won’t work, and also might work instead.

                                        Each failed attempt, each rejection, were key steps on his path to success. It is easy to feel like you should give up after a failure. But perhaps in that failure is a lesson.

                                        Pay attention to your failures, study them. Perhaps then you’ll learn how to succeed.

                                        If you find it difficult to fight your fear of failure, here’s a guide for you: Why You Have the Fear of Failure (And How to Conquer It Step-By-Step)

                                        5. Have an Unwavering Resolution to Succeed

                                          From Colonel Sanders, Founder of KFC:

                                          “I made a resolve then that I was going to amount to something if I could. And no hours, nor amount of labor, nor amount of money would deter me from giving the best that there was in me. And I have done that ever since, and I win by it. I know.”

                                          This, in many ways relates to the above quote about learning from your failures.

                                          It’s the easiest thing in the world to give up from a failure. The only way to push on is if you have the true burning desire to succeed, to not be moved or dissuaded from your goals.

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                                          If you are not truly dedicated towards success, then each failure will hurt more, each set back will slow you down.

                                          Success is hard; without the unwavering desire to succeed, this difficulty may seem insurmountable. With the desire, it is merely an obstacle to go through.

                                          6. Be a Person of Action

                                            From Leonardo da Vinci, Renaissance Genius:

                                            “It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”

                                            Though it was said hundreds of years ago, it works just as much today as it ever had. It applies to literally any successful person.

                                            Think about it, picture someone like William Shakespeare:

                                            When we think of the time he lived in, we think of the time in a way shaped by him. When we think of Renaissance era Italy, we think of Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci. Or think about the present day, Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. Our current way of life would simply be incomparably different if they didn’t accomplish what they did.

                                            You’re probably reading this article on a device by a company that they either founded or companies influenced by them.

                                            All these figures were proactive, they saw ways to do things differently and did them. If they let the world shape them, then they’d simply fit into the background. Instead they shaped the world.

                                            Applying this to you?

                                            Don’t be afraid of going outside the norm. If you can think of a better way to do something, do it that way. If you fail, try again.

                                            7. Cultivate Positive Relationships

                                              From Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of America: “

                                              The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.”

                                              The best leaders and some of the most influential people (and Theodore Roosevelt is one of the best leaders and one of the most influential people to have lived) were not those who caused commotions, who fought with people or disregarded people; but were people who were friendly to those around them.

                                              People liked them. They wanted them to do well.

                                              This is key to good leadership.

                                              It’s logical. If someone likes you, they want to help you; if you give them a suggestion, they’ll gladly follow through with it.

                                              But if someone doesn’t like you, they may either refuse to help or actively get in your way.

                                              What’s more, it’s always a good idea to cultivate good relationships. You can never tell who will prove to become someone who’ll be able to help you in a big way, or even be a good and supportive friend.

                                              As such, help people and they may help you; and be good to people, and they my be good to you.

                                              8. Don’t Be Afraid of Introducing New Ideas

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                                                From Mark Twain, Famed Author:

                                                “A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.”

                                                It is an unfortunate truth that those with the boldest ideas are often disregarded.

                                                Most of us are taught from an early age to think and do things similarly to everyone else. This can be great to fill an existing role. But to truly do things differently (and all successful people did things differently), you need to think differently.

                                                If you have a new idea, don’t throw it away because it’s new and different; instead, celebrate it. Your strange new idea might one day be the one that leads you to success.

                                                9. Believe in Your Capacity to Succeed

                                                  From Walter Disney, Founder of Walt Disney Company:

                                                  “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

                                                  Success has to be something you can imagine yourself achieving.

                                                  It is possible that you will come across those who doubt you and your ability to succeed. You must not become one of these people because the moment you cease believing and dreaming is the moment these dreams fall away.

                                                  Keep dreaming!

                                                  10. Always Maintain a Positive Mental Attitude

                                                    From Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of America:

                                                    “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”

                                                    Like the above quote says, you need to trust in your ability to succeed. This is the only way to cultivate the right mindset.

                                                    Replace negative thoughts with the positive ones. You need to approach problems, not as obstacles stopping you, but merely tasks that need to be completed for you to keep going.

                                                    If you stay positive and think like this, setbacks won’t affect you so much, people’s doubts won’t impact you and even the biggest obstacles will seem like minor problems.

                                                    However with the wrong mindset of doubt, you’ll be much easier to stop.

                                                    11. Don’t Let Discouragement Stop You from Pressing On

                                                      From Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of America:

                                                      “Let no feeling of discouragement prey upon you, and in the end you are sure to succeed.”

                                                      It is an unfortunate fact of human nature — all of us in some way, doubt ourselves. This can be made far worse if others doubt us too.

                                                      When surrounded by doubts, giving up can actually seem like a good idea.

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                                                      Don’t pay attention to the doubts. If you are discouraged, ignore it.

                                                      If this discouragement moves into your mind and you begin to doubt yourself. It is important to ignore this too.

                                                      This is How Self Doubt Keeps You Stuck and How to Overcome It

                                                      12. Be Willing to Work Hard

                                                        From JC Penny, Founder of JC Penney Inc.:

                                                        “Unless you are willing to drench yourself in your work beyond the capacity of the average man, you are just not cut out for positions at the top.”

                                                        You might have heard the quote that “success is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration” or you may have heard about the 10,000 hours idea.

                                                        Whichever way you frame it, they say one thing:

                                                        True success comes from work.

                                                        You’ll never become successful if you don’t work towards your goal in life and keep working towards it.

                                                        Check out this article and you’ll understand Why Hard Work Beats Talent.

                                                        13. Be Brave Enough to Follow Your Intuition

                                                          From Steve Jobs, Co-founder of Apple Inc.:

                                                          “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

                                                          In ancient Greece, there was a group of Oracles who lived in Delphi. Everyone who needed advice or to know their future visited them, from the poorest of society to kings. Above the doorway of the temple were the words “know thyself”.

                                                          If you strongly believe and desire something, chances are that you already have an idea how to get there. If not, you may naturally know what things will help you and what things will slow you down.

                                                          It’s like how your body can detect danger even when things seem safe.

                                                          Ultimately then, you need to trust your own instincts.

                                                          Final Thoughts

                                                          What you might have noticed is that many of the above lessons are similar — most are about developing the right state of mind. This clearly suggests that the key to achieving success, in whatever you wish, comes down to the way you approach it mentally.

                                                          Moreover, no matter what stage of life you’re at now, you can still make a difference and pursue success. You can make resetting your life possible when you do this: How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

                                                          More to Help You Succeed in Life

                                                          Featured photo credit: Ryan Wong via unsplash.com

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