Your Daily Stretch Routine

Your Daily Stretch Routine
Hydrate before, during & after exercise.

Your Daily Stretch Routine

Do you have difficulty stooping down, getting up off the floor or up out of bed? Do activities that used to feel fluid, now feel awkward?

Tight muscles can contribute to joint pain, back pain, neck pain & overall stiffness. This, in turn, causes general dis-ease of movement.

Can stretching help? You betcha!

A safe flexibility routine with correct techniques lengthens muscles, increases joint health & actually keeps muscles stronger. All allowing you to move free & easy!

But most folks stretch incorrectly!

Understanding the physiology of muscles & what happens when they’re stretched will help tremendously. Read this > How To Stretch Your Muscles Properly.

Heed These Warnings!

  • Prolonged rounding out of your lower back can be harmful to your intervertebral discs & can cause severe lower back pain.
  • Twisting or torquing in your lower back can be harmful to your intervertebral discs & can cause severe lower back pain.
  • Twisting or torquing in your pelvic region can cause slight subluxations to your sacroiliac joints which can cause severe pain in your lower back & sacral area.
  • Stretching too fast, too far, when your muscles are cold, or bouncing in a stretch can cause your muscles to tear.

How To Stretch Your Muscles Properly

  • First of all, heed the above warnings!
  • Stretching is the polar opposite of exercise. It is slow & relaxing.
  • Warm up with a heating pad, shower, hot tub or exercise prior to stretch routine.
  • Move slowly until you feel only a slight stretch & then hold for one minute by the clock.
  • If you no longer feel the stretch sensation, it’s okay to slowly move further into the stretch.
  • Performing your flexibility routine on a carpet or thick mat with be more comfortable.
  • This is an opportune time to hydrate.

Your Daily Stretch Routine

It’s been our experience, & that of our clientele, that daily stretching goes a long way to staying limber & feeling fantastic. In only twenty-five minutes a day, you can complete a full body flexibility routine.

Adductors Stretch

You should feel this stretch on the inside of your thighs.

  • Seated on the floor with a straight back
  • Bend your knees & grasp your feet (thumbs on the instep) pull them toward you
  • Allow your knees to fall open
  • Don’t worry if your knees aren’t very close to the ground. As long as you feel a slight stretch on the inside of your thighs
  • More flexible people will be able to lean forward at the hip, maintaining a straight back. If you can, then apply gentle downward pressure on your legs with your elbows (if desired)
Your Daily Stretch Routine
Adductor Stretch

Modification: If this position feels uncomfortable or you have difficulty keeping your back straight, place a firm pillow under your bottom. That should help.

Your Daily Stretch Routine
Modified Adductor Stretch

Hamstrings Stretch

You should feel this stretch on the back of your thigh.

  • Straighten one leg
  • Reach toward your ankle, allowing your hand to rest comfortably on your leg
  • Keep your lower back straight
  • Bend forward from your hip (not your lower back)
  • Keep your knee straight, but soft (do not press the back of your knee down into the carpet)
Your Daily Stretch Routine
Hamstring Stretch

Modification: Place firm pillow under your bottom

Warning:

  • Keep your lower back straight & untwisted at all times.
  • Ensure your weight is placed equally on both sides of your bottom.

Triceps & Latissimus Dorsi Stretch

You should feel this stretch on the back of your arm & down your side & on the back of your thigh.

  • Ease up on the Hamstring Stretch
  • Focus on the arm on the same side of the body as your bent leg
  • Externally rotate entire arm (rotate thumb away from your body)
  • Raise arm over your head
  • Bend your elbow bringing your forearm as close to your bicep as possible
  • Grasp elbow with opposite hand & pull leaning toward your straight leg
  • Re-instate the stretch on your hamstring
Your Daily Stretch Routine
Triceps & Latissimus Dorsi Stretch

Modification: If you feel any pinch in your shoulder, start over with externally rotating the entire arm & keeping it externally rotated whilst raising it over your head.

Warning:

  • Keep your lower back straight & untwisted at all times.
  • Ensure your weight is placed equally on both sides of your bottom.
  • If you feel any pain in your shoulder, discontinue this exercise.

Repeat the Hamstring Stretch & then the Tricep & Latissimus Dorsi Stretch on the other side.

Piriformis Stretch

You should feel this stretch across your bottom.

What’s a Piriformis? It’s a muscle that runs horizontally underneath your Gluteal muscles (on your bottom). With our computer driven society, we sit an awful lot – this can cause tightness in the piriformis muscle. A tight piriformis muscle is the number one cause of sciatica (pain down the back of the leg).

  • Sitting up straight, bend one knee in so that your foot is near your bottom (bottom leg)
  • Bend other knee & rest ankle on the knee of the first leg (top leg)
  • Sit up very straight! Even arch your lower back if you can
Your Daily Stretch Routine
Piriformis Stretch

Modification:

  • Many people will find this difficult!
  • Place a firm pillow under your bottom. That should help.
  • Further modification is to keep the bottom leg straight
  • If you feel pressure on the back of the knee (of the straight leg) place a towel underneath to give support (not shown)
Your Daily Stretch Routine
Modified Piriformis Stretch

Warning: Ensure your weight is placed equally on both sides of your bottom.

Gluteus Stretch

You should feel this stretch over your bottom

  • Directly following the Piriformis Stretch
  • Slide your top foot down onto the outside of your bottom leg
  • Pull your top knee toward your chest
Your Daily Stretch Routine
Gluteus Stretch

Warning: Don’t twist or torque lower back or pelvis.

Repeat the Piriformis Stretch & then the Gluteal Stretch on the other side.

Quadriceps Stretch

You should feel this stretch on the front of your thigh.

  • Lay on your side with a straight & neutral spine
  • Cradle your head on a bent arm & to ensure your neck remains in neutral
  • Bring your bottom leg up in front at a 90 degree angle to ensure stability
  • Grasp your ankle or foot & pull it up behind you keeping your leg parallel with the ground
  • Your eventual goal is for your upper leg & body to be in a straight line
Your Daily Stretch Routine
Quadriceps Stretch

Warning: Ensure that your foot is directly behind your bottom – do not twist or torque knee.

Hip Flexors Stretch

You should feel this stretch on the upper, front portion of your hip & thigh.

  • While still in the Quadriceps Stretch, let go of your foot & straighten your top leg
  • Slide your bottom knee up toward your chest & roll onto it into an upright position
  • Your back leg should be straight out behind you
  • Push up until your arms are straight
Your Daily Stretch Routine
Hip Flexor Stretch

Modification: For an increased stretch, place both hands on your front knee.

Your Daily Stretch Routine
Increased Hip Flexors Stretch

Warning: You should feel this in your front (hip flexor) not in your lower back.

Repeat the Quadriceps Stretch & then the Hip Flexor Stretch on the other side.

Calves (Gastrocnemius/Soleus) Stretch

You should feel this stretch on your calf.

  • Heel on ground, toes up on wall
  • Keep knees straight
  • Keep eyes level (any movement of the inner ear will cause a slight contraction of the calf muscle as it is considered a postural muscle)
Your Daily Stretch Routine
Calves (Gastrocnemius/Soleus) Stretch

This is easier when you wear running shoes.

Repeat the Calf Stretch on the other side.

Biceps Stretch

You should feel this stretch on your bicep.

  • Stand adjacent to a door jam ensuring that it lines up with the back of your heels
  • Head back, tuck chin, roll shoulders back
  • Anchor your fist against the door jam
  • Ensure your upper arm is diagonal toward the floor
  • Shuffle forward until you feel a stretch
Your Daily Stretch Routine
Biceps Stretch

Warning: You shouldn’t feel a twist in your torso.

Repeat the Biceps Stretch on the other side.

Pectoralis Major Stretch

You should feel this stretch across chest.

  • Stand adjacent to a door jam ensuring that it lines up with the back of your heels
  • Head back, tuck chin, roll shoulders back
  • Anchor your elbow & palm against the door jam
  • Ensure your upper arm is just below horizontal to the floor
  • Shuffle forward until you feel a stretch across your chest
Your Daily Stretch Routine
Pectoralis Major Stretch

Warning:

  • You shouldn’t feel a twist in your torso.
  • Do you feel shoulder discomfort? If so, slide your elbow down (moving your body closer to the door jam) until you are more comfortable.

Repeat the Pectoralis Major Stretch on the other side.

Upper Back (Thoracic) Stretch

You should feel this stretch across your upper back.

  • Stretching one side at a time
  • With feet shoulder width apart, stand about a foot away from the door jam
  • With arm below horizontal & palm facing away from your body, grasp the door jam
  • Bend your knees & sit back until you feel a slight stretch in your upper back on the same side
Your Daily Stretch Routine
Upper Back (Thoracic) Stretch

Warning:

  • Keep shoulders down & neck straight.
  • Ensure knees stay behind toes

Repeat the Upper Back Stretch on the other side.

A daily stretch routine done safely & on a consistent basis will give you ease of movement for life!

– LEONG Orthopaedic Health

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