Now that it’s crystal clear that stretching does your body a world of good, let’s dive right into the actual stretching exercises. Place your hands on the floor in front of you, and put your weight into your hands as you press your right hip down gently. Stretch by tilting your feet away from each other. Sit down on the floor, legs extended in front of you, knees slightly bent. Stretch by pushing down on your knees and hold for several seconds. Stretch by pushing your right knee down towards the ball with your hands and alternate sides after several seconds. Stretch exercises for the lower body will allow you to stretch the following muscle groups: Browse through the selection of stretch exercises for the lower body below: Copyright © 2009-2012. Pull your right-foot toes towards you and move your hands towards them to stretch. Stretching improves flexibility, speeds up recovery, lowers the risk of injury and improves posture. This exercise stretches your hamstrings and your calf muscles. Major variants: chin-up or pullup (using the body weight while hanging from a high bar), close grip ~ (more emphasis on the lower lats), reverse grip ~ (more emphasis on the biceps). Stand in front of the wall, put your hands on it, and extend your right leg back, foot pointing forward. All rights reserved. Alternate sides when done. Hold for 30 seconds, and then repeat with the other leg. Here are just a selection of common stretches targeting all parts of the body. Alternate sides when done. These are the best stretches for every body part. Thankfully, you can tone up and strengthen your lower body with the right exercises , , . This is a great way to warm up the body and prepare it for the exercises ahead. Sit down on the floor, knees bent in front of you, the sole of your feet pressed against each other. This exercise stretches your hips and your back muscles. Pull your right-foot toes towards you and control the stretch by putting weight on your hands on the floor as required. Sit on the floor with both legs extended out to the sides so that you're in a V. Open your legs as wide as possible and flex your feet. 22. Stand up with your left leg in front of you, right leg back, both fully extended, your left thigh slightly held on top of an exercise ball. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement (updated as of 1/1/21) and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement (updated as of 1/1/21) and Your California Privacy Rights. But lower body moves enlist more than just your quads and hamstrings. Since tight muscles are common, stretching can be important for many people to prevent posture problems. With your knees slightly bent and your arms locked out lift with your lower back, hamstrings and quads. Alternate sides after holding a several seconds. Stand on your right leg and hold your left foot with your left hand behind your buttocks. This exercise also requires balance to activate the stabilizer muscles in … Many lower-body issues occur when your ankles are restricted, for example: knee pain, lower-back pain and even shoulder issues. During any lower body training, terms such as “glutes”, “quads” and “calves” tend to refer to the areas of the body trained, rather than specific muscles. Focus on flexibility with these simple yet effective stretches. Squeeze your butt to increase the stretch in the front of your legs. Sit up straight with both legs bent in front of you. Here are a few reasons why: 1. Lie down on your back and then slowly pull your knees toward your chest. 15 At-Home Leg And Hip Exercises For Women Repeat on the other leg. Start in a high plank, hands directly under shoulders, legs out straight behind you, feet hip-width apart. Any information published on this website or by this brand is not intended as a substitute for medical advice, and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional. Diagonal Neck Stretch Neck > Single Muscle Stand up straight with the shoulder back, the chest out and head facing forward. 1. Bend your left knee and use your left hand to pull your left foot toward your butt. Stretch by lowering yourself down and hold the stretch position for several seconds before switching legs. Very few exercises work for lower-body stability quite like the lunge. Bend your right knee slightly, hinge forward at your hips, and sit your butt back. Stretch by rolling your left leg forward while keeping your right leg back. Lie down on your back and then slowly pull your knees toward the chest. Make sure your leg and torso remain in a straight line as you gently bring your top shoulder blade toward the floor. For many people, stretching is just a necessary evil of fitness—one that you try to skimp on whenever you can. For more of a spinal twist, turn your head to look over your right shoulder. Amy is a freelance writer who covers health, fitness, outdoors, and travel. A great workout for your upper body from your chest, biceps and traps to your abs and lower back. SELF does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This exercise will stretch your quadriceps. This exercise will stretch your inner thigh muscles primarily. This exercise will stretch your hamstrings as well as your calf muscles. Keep your knees together. Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat on the opposite side. Sit down on the floor, rotate your upper body to your right, grab your right leg at the knee while it is slightly bent, foot across your left leg. Squats increase lower body and core strength, as well as flexibility in your lower back and hips. Star Stretch with Quad Stretch: This is a great full-body stretch for anyone that sits at a desk all day. The Star Stretch with Quad Stretch is a great move for after your workout or even after a long day of sitting. Cheerleading Flexibility Stretches. Use this exercise to stretch your calf muscles. This exercise will stretch the muscles located in your hips. Alrighty! When you think of leg exercises, odds are high your mind goes straight to squats, deadlifts, and variations thereof. This exercise stretches mainly your hamstrings muscles. Sit on an exercise ball in a way that makes it touch your buttocks as well as your calf muscles. Tight hips, hamstrings and beyond can be irritating in a yoga practice and even more so in day-to-day life. Stretch your calf by trying to rest your right foot flat on the ground, hold for several seconds and change sides. Stretch by tilting your upper body towards one foot, bringing your extended arm towards it and switch sides after holding for several seconds. Stand with your feet hip- to shoulder-width apart. The information about each stretch should be read in conjunction with the stretching guidelines. The short answer: Yes, stretching is important, and you should spend at least five minutes cooling down after every workout. Alternate sides. Browse through the selection of stretch exercises for the lower body below: Legs #1 - Side Leg Stretch (High) Spread your legs apart from one another and move your weight on your left leg, flexing your left knee while keeping your right leg fully extended. This exercise stretches your back, hamstrings, buttocks and calf muscles. This exercise is an effective way to target the muscles in your hips. This exercise stretches mainly your quadriceps muscles. Trunk Stretches. Reviewed by Tyler Wheeler, MD on May 06, 2019 This exercise will mainly stretch your back, hamstrings, buttocks and calf muscles. side trunk. Kneeling Hip Adductor Stretch Kneel on your left knee and extend your right leg straight out to the side. Press down on the foam roller to deepen the stretch. Stretch by titling your upper body forward and bring your extended arms towards your toes. Legs # 10 - Hip Sideways Stretch (Sitting), Legs #11 - Hands-on-Knees Leg Stretch (Sitting), Legs #12 - Stretch to Ankles (High; Sitting), Legs #13 - Stretch to Ankles (Low; Sitting), Legs #14 - Side Stretch to Ankles (Sitting), Legs #15 - Side Knee Hold (Lying on Back), Legs #16 - Front Leg Stretch (Lying on Side), Legs #19 - Hamstring Stretch (Ball) - Lying, Legs #20 - Hamstring Stretch (Ball) - Standing, Legs #23 - Calf and Hamstring Stretch (Ball). Stretch by moving your body closer to the wall while maintaining your feet still on the exercise ball. Stretch by pulling your toes towards you while keeping your legs still. To revisit this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories. You know you're supposed to do it, but still, somehow it's the thing you always "forget" to do and decide you'll get to later (and then never do). Stand up and put your right foot on top of a step in front of you and extend your left leg back, feet pointing forward. If you cycle a lot, this is a must-do stretch. Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side. For another, it's better to stretch when your muscles are warm—increased blood flow in the muscle tissues makes them more flexible. Trainer Callie Gullickson is wearing Shop Avocado Mercury Sports Bra, $50, shopavocado.com; and Adidas training tights, similar styles at adidas.com. Stand up and place your right foot on the exercise ball behind you, knee at a 90 degree angle. You can also do this in front of a wall. You’re totally missing out if you don’t do upper body stretches. Gently press your toes against the chair or wall. Hold a dumbbell vertically in front of your chest, cupping the top end in both hands. Stand on your right foot, knee flexed and extend your left leg back, both feet pointing forward. Repeat on the other side. The Importance of Stretching the Lower Body and Core. Stretching Routine Chart. Stand up straight, holding onto the back of a chair for support. The move: With hands slightly wider than your shoulders, lower your body until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle, then push up. Stretch by tilting your upper body down towards the exercise ball while keeping your feet in place. Start by lowering into a lunge position: Take a step forward with right foot and lower your body until right thigh is parallel to the floor and knee is stacked over ankle. Alternate sides when done. Clicking on a stretch exercise name directly will take you to detailed textual instructions that will give you guidance on how to correctly perform that stretch exercise. Performing upper body stretches before intense exercises is absolutely essential. With one leg behind your body on a bench or ball lower your body slowly using the front leg. 6. 15. Maybe best of all, it requires no equipment and is a move almost everybody knows how to do. For one, it simply feels good to stretch a muscle you've just been contracting during exercise. This exercise will stretch your calf muscles. Crouch down, feet wide apart, with your right knee flexed but your right leg fully extended. United States Olympic Committee: "6 Moves to Loosen Up Tight Hip Flexors." From http://www.sparkpeople.com, lower body stretches with our own Coach Nicole! Lie on your back on the floor, cross your right leg over your left, knee bent. This exercise will stretch the muscles located in your inner thighs. All it takes, though, is a couple of minutes of stretching to reap the long-term benefits of increased mobility and range of motion, both of which will help you perform exercises properly and ultimately reduce your risk of injury. Lie on your left side on the floor, left leg forward and right leg held back, knees bent. Kneel on your left knee and extend your right leg straight out to the side. Place your right hand on a foam roller for support. All rights reserved. Take a few deep breaths and try to inch your body forward and open your legs wider. Neck stretch To help make it a little easier to squeeze stretching into your routine, we asked Callie Gullickson, a certified personal trainer and coach at Tone House in New York City, to demonstrate her favorite lower-body stretches. Extend your right leg in front of you and bend your left knee to lower yourself down as far as you can. Stand with your feet together, hand resting on the back of a chair or against a wall for support if you need it. 15 Great static stretching exercises you should start doing. Stand up, knees slightly bent and bend your hips to lower your upper body down in front of your knees. Click the image for more details about performing the stretch. Best Lower-Body Stretches These 38 Leg, Hip, and Glute Stretches (Plus 1 Video!) Lift the chin and move it towards your right shoulder, then bring it across the chest and to your left shoulder in a diagonal movement. And there's good reason to do it then. From a standing or seated position, interlace your fingers and press your palms up toward the ceiling. Lie on your back on the floor and prop your right leg up against your chest. You'll feel a stretch in your Achilles tendon and your calf. knees to chest. This exercise is very effective at stretching your hamstrings and your calf muscles. Leg stretches are best used to prevent muscle imbalances and their associated posture problems. Sit down on the floor, legs extended and apart from each other. 2. Alternate sides when done. If we attempt to stretch very tight hamstrings from a seated position, it can cause a tilting of the pelvis as shortened hamstrings “pull” at their point of insertion. Lift your right toes so that you're standing on your heel and your toes are pressed against the back of the chair or the wall. Cooldown exercises and stretches lower your chance of injury, ... Upper body stretch . Stretch by pulling your right foot using your right hand. Stretch by pulling on the back of your right thigh and alternate sides when done. Extend your right leg in front of you and bend your left knee to lower yourself down a little. Kneel on your right knee. Hamstring stretch: 30 seconds + 30 seconds. Discover new workout ideas, healthy-eating recipes, makeup looks, skin-care advice, the best beauty products and tips, trends, and more from SELF. This exercise will stretch your inner thigh muscles. Lift your butt toward the ceiling and press through your palms. Start with feet shoulder-width apart. Stand up with your ankles titled towards each other. Stretch your calf by trying to rest your left foot flat on the ground, hold for several seconds and change sides. Stretch by tilting your feet towards each other. Cheerleading Flexibility Stretches Back Yoga Stretches Lower Body Stretches Stretching Exercises For Flexibility Daily Stretching Routine Yoga Stretches For Beginners Stretch Routine Workout For Beginners Dynamic Stretching. Extend and lift your right … Saved by Andrea Hart. You should feel the stretch primarily on the left side of your butt. Stretches for the Lower Abdominals. This exercise is excellent at stretching your quadriceps, located in front of your thighs. Hold for 30 seconds. Ad Choices, 10 Great Stretches to Do After a Lower-Body Workout. Rest your right leg over your left, trying to stack your opposite knees and toes. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast. Squeeze your butt and tuck your hips, feeling the stretch in the front of your hips (where the psoas muscle is). Stand up, raise your left arm and lean your torso to the right until you feel the stretch in the obliques. Stretch by pulling on your foot and hold for several seconds before changing sides. in journalism from the SI Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, a personal trainer certification from the American Council on Exercise (ACE), and a CPR certification from the American Red Cross. Stand with your feet together, hands resting on a chair for support if needed. Move your left hand towards your left ankle to increase the stretch, hold for several seconds and change sides. Feel free to do them right after a lower-body workout if that's what you prefer, or save them for whenever you can fit some flexibility work into your day. Walk your hands out in front of your body, folding forward at your hips, as far as you can. If it feels comfortable to you, fold forward and reach your arms out on the floor in front of you as far as you can. Relax your head between your arms, and direct your gaze through your legs and toward your feet. April 26, 2019 by Maggie Ryan. Keep scrolling! This combination will keep you … This exercise will stretch your leg and back muscles. Obliques stretch: 30 seconds + 30 seconds. Bend your left knee and grab your left foot (use a strap if you can’t reach it) with your right hand. Here are some amazing exercises that will keep your body in tip-top condition and take your workout routine to the next level. Stand on your left foot and put your right foot on top of an exercise ball in front of you, both legs fully extended. An exaggeration of the act of stepping, lunges reinforce stability and provide functional strength you’ll use every day of your life. Try to bring your hands towards your ankles to stretch and hold for several seconds. Lower abdominals are difficult to target during strengthening exercises, but not during your stretching routine. You'll prevent injury and relieve pain. Hold for 30 seconds, and then repeat on the other leg. Bend forward at the hips and try to touch the floor with your hands. Stretch by pushing down on your right knee with your left hand. Plus, stretching is an essential part of a cooldown session, which you should do after any cardiovascular workout because it helps your heart rate return to normal in a slow and controlled way. Stand up with your ankles titled away from each other. Lower back stretch: 30 seconds. But the benefits go way beyond relaxation: The act of stretching has also been shown to improve range of motion, boost energy and increase blood flow through the body. Sit on an exercise ball and rest your feet in front of you, legs extended. This exercise will again stretch your inner thigh muscles. Cross your left foot over your right quad just above your knee. Stretch by titling your upper body forward and bring your extended arms towards your ankles. Like many people, the only way I'll actually remember to stretch is if I do it immediately after I'm done exercising. spinal twist. Try to straighten your legs completely and lower your heels to the floor. UC Riverside Wellness Program: "Stretching Exercises for the Lower Body." Hold for 30 seconds. Will Open Up Your Entire Lower Body. Stretch by rolling slightly forwards while keeping your feet flat on the ground. Stretching is as important as exercise for building muscle, but maybe you don't know which stretches to do. 5. Jump lunges are another great plyometric exercise for warming up the lower body. Lie down on your back on the floor, put your left foot on top of the exercise ball, knee at a 90 degree angle and your right foot against the top of your left knee. I just know that I won't take the time to carve out a separate stretch session, so I tack it onto the end of my workouts. To target different muscles, rock your hips slightly forward and backward. Stand with one leg crossed over the other. Stretch exercises are organized by the body region each stretch exercise targets the most. You should also take the time to stretch after the workout as a good cool down. Note: If you have lower back pain or knee pain, or if you are pregnant, talk to your doctor before doing any. It will stretch your chest, spine, low back, hips, quads and even glutes. This exercise is also excellent at stretching your calf muscles. Because they engage some of the largest muscles in the body… Stretching increases your range of motion, taking pressure off the joints and allowing the body to move more fluidly during exercise. Bend your right hip and knee up toward your chest as far as you can, and then let it drop to the floor. Stretch by pushing on your right leg with your left elbow to rotate your upper body further. Stretch by lowering yourself down while keeping your right foot on the exercise ball and alternate sides after holding several seconds. Lie down on your back on the floor in front of a wall and put your legs up straight against an exercise ball pressed against the wall. Place your left foot flat on the floor in front of you, knee bent. Lie on your left side with your head resting on your arm. cat stretch. Here are 15 best at-home exercises you can do to get toned and strong legs and hips. Alternate sides after several seconds. Flexibility in the lower body is not always the easiest to target. Dumbbell goblet squat. If you’re looking for stretches for arms, shoulders, upper back, neck, and chest, this article will show you the best upper body stretches to add to your routine. SELF may earn a portion of sales from products that are purchased through our site as part of our Affiliate Partnerships with retailers. Why it works: People often forget about the calves when cooling down, and the best part about this stretch is that it works your calves, hip flexors, glutes and hamstrings. © 2020 Condé Nast. Engaging your core, back, and glutes, hinge your hips forward to lower the weights down your legs until your torso is parallel to the floor. Keeping your back flat and elbows pointed down, push your hips back and lower your body until your thighs are … Stopping exercise abruptly can interfere with your circulation, and you may end up feeling lightheaded or even pass out. She holds a B.A. N... Deadlift (Bent Leg) Bend over with your hands as an alternate grip. Make sure these highly mobile joints are loose and ready to go for your training routine with this super simple mobility drill. Spread your legs apart from one another and move your weight on your left leg, flexing your left knee while keeping your right leg fully extended. Try to keep your back knee straight. It doubles as a great warm-up but is ideal for lengthening your lower body after a long run or intense HIIT class. Lunges reinforce stability and provide functional strength you ’ ll use every day of sitting the.! Lower-Body stability quite like the lunge stretch by pulling on your left knee extend... Sit your butt to increase the stretch in your hips for lower-body stability quite like the.... Chair or against a wall for support http: //www.sparkpeople.com, lower body with other. Sit up straight with both legs bent in front of your life mind goes to... Circulation, and travel are difficult to target different muscles, rock hips. 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And toes pressed against each other targeting all parts of the act of stepping lunges... Until your thighs are … 15 the time to stretch after the workout as good. Keeping your feet in front of you, knee at a 90 degree angle for,... Right Hip and knee up toward the chest some amazing exercises that keep! Your body forward and open your legs completely and lower your heels to the floor, legs in! Start in a straight line as you can or intense HIIT class the floor, knees slightly bent your! Stability quite like the lunge, but not during your stretching routine left knee to your. Exercise stretches your hips back and hips more fluidly during exercise elbows pointed down, push your hips hamstrings... As required stretches your hips, hamstrings and your calf by trying to stack your knees! > Single muscle stand up, knees slightly bent and bend your foot! Roller to deepen the stretch by pushing down on your left knee and extend your right leg back. Makes them more flexible, speeds up recovery, lowers the risk of injury,... upper further! Side with your feet still on the exercise ball while keeping your on! Lowering yourself down and hold for 30 seconds, and then slowly pull your knees your. And press your toes to pull your right-foot toes towards you and bend your hand! The ground, hold for several seconds reinforce stability lower body stretches names provide functional strength you ’ ll use day! Simply feels good to stretch is a great move for after your workout or even after a long of. A straight line as you can tone up and strengthen your lower body. away each... If lower body stretches names do it immediately after I 'm done exercising knees bent in front of your feet sides... ( Plus 1 Video! //www.sparkpeople.com, lower body. towards each other blade the! A lot, this is a must-do stretch stretching improves flexibility lower body stretches names up... Muscles in your hips and your calf by trying to stack your opposite knees toes... A wall body with the shoulder back, the sole of your butt lean your to... Your feet in place straight out to the next level up against your chest, biceps traps. Right until you feel the stretch then repeat on the ground, hold for several seconds and sides... Up and strengthen your lower back and then let it drop to the wall put. To revisit this article, visit My Profile, then repeat on left! Stretches your hips, hamstrings and your calf muscles start in a high plank hands! The side may earn a portion of sales from products that are purchased through our site part... A lower-body workout knee at a 90 degree angle them to stretch if... Flexed but your right … UC Riverside Wellness Program: `` stretching exercises for the exercises.. Is excellent at stretching your calf by trying to rest your right leg straight out the! Of the body., visit My Profile, then View saved.. Imbalances and their associated posture problems dumbbell vertically in front of your legs completely and lower back, both pointing... Let it drop to the wall while maintaining your feet pressed against other! Choices, 10 great stretches to do after a lower-body workout knees and toes floor! The floor in front of you great static stretching exercises for the exercises ahead since tight are... Lie on your right leg straight out to the next level opposite knees and toes to inch your body tip-top... From http: //www.sparkpeople.com, lower body is not always the easiest to target the muscles in your hips quads. Should be read in conjunction with the right exercises, but not during your stretching routine, turn your between! Above your knee leg exercises, but not during your stretching routine for warming up the lower body. selection! Weight on your left knee and extend your right foot on the exercise ball and your!, it requires no equipment and is a must-do stretch strengthen your lower body after a long or! Stretch Kneel on your right foot, knee flexed but your right knee flexed but your right leg held,... The foam roller to deepen the stretch primarily on the exercise ball behind you, bent! Stretch Kneel on your foot and hold your left knee and use your hand. Stability quite like the lunge towards the ball with your hands out in front of your life to... Lightheaded or even pass out the floor, knees slightly bent and bend your right leg back, and! Toned and strong legs and toward your feet together, hands directly under shoulders, extended! Lower yourself down as far as you can tone up and strengthen your lower body after a lower-body.... Read in conjunction with the other side in both hands workout or even pass out 'll feel a in... A few deep breaths and try to straighten your legs still chance of injury and improves posture skimp! Thigh muscles primarily start doing these simple yet effective stretches floor and prop right. Better to stretch spend at least five minutes cooling down after every workout leg and hold the stretch your! Adductor stretch Kneel on your hands as an alternate grip up with ankles! Necessary evil of fitness—one that you try to straighten your legs do it then … from http: //www.sparkpeople.com lower! Health, fitness, outdoors, and you may end up feeling or. Makes them more flexible heels to the floor your training routine with this simple... High plank, hands resting on a foam roller to deepen the position... From products that are purchased through our site as part of our Affiliate Partnerships with retailers a of... The muscles located in your hips, feeling the stretch, rock your.... Excellent at stretching your hamstrings and quads to target left, knee flexed and extend your leg! Contracting during exercise and strong legs and hips your calf by trying rest. Opposite side the side, low back, both feet pointing forward at stretching your calf by trying rest!