34 Pictures That Show You Exactly What Muscles You’re Stretching

by DailyHealthPost

what muscles you are stretching

Stretching before and after a workout is a great way to promote blood flow to the muscles and increase flexibility.  But do you know what muscles you’re stretching?

Stretching may help you improve the range of motion of your joints, which in turn may help improve your athletic performance and decrease your risk of injury (1).

Although you may feel a slight burn in your muscles as you stretch them, you may not know exactly what muscles the stretch is actually affecting.

These 34 pictures made by Vicky Timon, a yoga expert and author of “Encyclopedia of Pilates Exercises,” and James Kilgallon, CSCS, creator of Mazio’s Body Maintenance Program will give you a better sense of how your body actually responds to your favourite stretches.

[cp_modal id=”cp_id_b1acb”]FREE Download: 34 Pictures That Show You Exactly What Muscles You’re Stretching[/cp_modal]

 

stretching exercises

1. Camel Pose

Muscles emphasized: Rectus Abdominus and External Obliques.

This stretch requires a good base of flexibility. Simply sit on your heels with your hands behind you, and push your hips up and forward. Try to keep the pressure off your lumbar spine. If you have any neck pain or imapaied mobility in the neck, don’t drop your head back as you perform this stretch.

2. Wide Forward Fold

Muscles emphasized: adductors and hamstrings.

This little stretch will open your hips. Start by sitting on your bum, with your knees bent and your feet alined with your groin. Hold your back straight and breathe deeply. As your muscles begin to relax, straighten your legs out. Gently lower your chest and reach out for your feet. Pull the balls of your feet to stretch out your calf muscles. You can also use a belt if you can’t reach your feet.

stretching exercises

3. Frog Pose

Muscles emphasized: adductors.

Stretch out your groin with this deep stretch. Start by resting your hands and knees on a yoga mat. Widen your knees until your feel resistance in your groin and upper thigh. Gently push your hips forward or backward to deepen the stretch

4. Wide Side Lunge Pose

Muscles emphasized: adductors.

Stand up with legs apart in a wide stance Bend forward and walk your right leg outward. Bend your right knee and point your left toes towards the ceiling. Keep your right foot firmly on the ground and rest your weight on your right hip.

stretching exercises

5. Butterfly Stretch

Muscles emphasized: adductors.

Sit down comfortably and bring the soles of your feet together. Keep your back straight. Deepen your stretch by applying pressure on your knees with your hands or elbows. The closer you keep your feet to your groin, the more you’ll stretch your upper thigh muscles. Once you feel a good stretch, move your feet away from your hips and bend forward to try to touch the ground. This will loosen up your lower back muscles.

6. Forearm Extensor Stretch

Muscles emphasized: Forearm extensor.

Stand up with your shoulder and back straight. Roll your shoulders backwards to open up your chest. Stretch your arms out in front of you. Place your right hand over your left hand and apply pressure. Your left hand should bend at the wrist and you should feel pressure in your forearm. Your can also bend your wrist in the opposite direction for a fuller stretch.

stretching exercises

7. Lateral Side Flexion of the Neck

Muscles emphasized: sternocleidomastoid “SCM”.

Keep your neck long and straight, slowly band your neck towards your left shoulder, but do not touch it. Try to make sure that your neck is straight and in line with your spine. You can take it a step further by sitting on a chair and holding on to the bottom of your seat

8. Neck Rotation Stretch

Muscles emphasized: sternocleidomastoid “SCM”.

Begin by slowly rotating your neck towards your left. Make sure to keep your chin up to engage the right muscles. You can also use your left arm to apply pressure on the right side of your chin.

stretching exercises

9. Neck Extension Stretch

Muscles emphasized: sternocleidomastoid “SCM”.

Stand up straight and place your hands on your hips. Keep your back straight and gently tilt your head backwards. Keep your shoulders back to make sure your spine is in the right position.

10. Lateral Side Flexion of the Neck with Hand Assistance

Muscles emphasized: sternocleidomastoid “SCM” and upper trapezius.

This stretch is similar to the Lateral Side Flexion of the Neck (n°7). Keep your neck long and straight, slowly band your neck towards your left shoulder. Take your left hand and gently pull your head towards your left shoulder. You can deepen the stretch by sitting on a chair and holding onto the seat with your right arm.

stretching exercises

11. Half Kneeling Quad / Hip Flexor Stretch

Muscles emphasized: psoas and quadriceps.

Start on the floor on your knees, standing tall. Bring your left hip forward, supporting yourself by placing your left foot in front of you. You should feel a stretch in your hip and you put you weight on your left foot. Place your right hand your right foot and bring it towards you. Hold the stretch for a minute if possible.

12. Forearm Extensor Stretch

Muscles emphasized: forearm extensor.

Stand up with your shoulder and back straight. Roll your shoulders backwards to open up your chest. Stretch your arms out in front of you. Place your right hand over your left hand and apply pressure. Your left hand should be rbent at the wrist and you should feel pressure in your forearm. Your can also bring your arms above your head while holding the same position to stretch your shoulders.

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