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Flexibility Exercises

Flexibility Exercises

Stretch your body to its limits, and make it more flexible. Here are some flexibility exercises that will help you out.
Puja Lalwani
Flexibility is important for any physical activity, and generally important in order to prevent injury, even while going about doing our daily routine. Whether you are dancer, cheerleader, golfer, or just someone who's looking to be fit, flexibility exercises are for all of you. Of course, the intensity with which they are performed may differ.
Helpful Tips
Before you start doing any of these flexibility exercises, keep these tips and warnings in mind.
  • Warm up before you stretch. It helps overall blood circulation. Stretching without warming up is likely to cause injury.
  • These exercises should be performed in a gentle and slow manner. Hastening them may lead to unforeseen injury. Avoid bouncing while stretching.
  • Consult a physician to ensure that you are fit to perform flexibility workouts, to prevent any mishaps later.
  • While performing these exercises, you should experience mild discomfort which is common with stretches. However, if you experience pain, discontinue the exercise immediately.
  • Maintaining a normal breathing pattern while performing them is of utmost importance.
Exercises that Improve Flexibility
#1: Shoulder and Chest Stretch
  • Kneel and rest your hips on your heels. Keep your back erect.
  • Clasp your hands behind you, and stretch them as far behind as possible.
  • While maintaining this position, slowly bend forward, and try to touch your forehead to the floor.
  • Remain in position for about ten seconds, and return to the starting position. Repeat this about three times.
#2: Biceps Stretch
  • Place your left arm across your chest, keeping it slightly bent.
  • Hold your elbow with your right hand, and push it further towards you. Your left arm should go above your right shoulder. Feel the stretch in your bicep.
  • Hold this position for ten seconds, then switch arms. Repeat this movement thrice.
#3: Triceps Stretch
  • Hold your left arm up in the air, and bend it at the elbow, so that the palm of your hand rests on the back of your neck.
  • Place your right hand on your left elbow, and push it downward, until you can feel your triceps stretch.
  • Hold this position for ten seconds, then switch arms. Repeat this movement thrice.
#4: The Seated Stretch
  • Sit on the floor, with your legs crossed, and your back erect.
  • Slowly turn your head towards the right, and feel the muscles stretch in your neck. Hold you head in position for about ten seconds, then return to the starting position.
  • Now perform the same routine towards the left.
  • Slowly pull your head backwards, so that you are facing the ceiling. Feel the stretch in the muscles of your neck as you look upward. Remain in position for about 10 seconds, then return to the starting position.
  • Repeat the same movement while pushing your head downwards, and feel the stretch in the back of your neck.
  • With your head downwards, stretch your hands out and touch the floor, before your crossed legs. Push your arms as far as you can, without affecting your erect posture. Feel the stretch in your arms as you perform this exercise. Remain in this position for about 8 counts, and return to the starting position.
#5: Butterfly Stretch
  • Sit on the floor, with your back erect, and bend your knees in the manner that the soles of your feet touch each other, while your knees remain as close to the floor as possible.
  • Hold your ankles in your hands, and slowly lift your feet up, as close as possible to your body.
  • Push your head down to place your chin on your chest. Slowly begin pushing your head along with your back towards your feet.
  • Remain in this position for about 30 seconds, and come back to the original position. Perform this exercise at least 2-3 times.
#6: The Straddle
  • Sit on the floor, with your knees spread as wide apart as possible. The ideal spread is 180 degrees, but if you can't do it, just stretch them as far as you can.
  • Twist your torso towards the right, and bend down towards your right leg. Try to grab your foot while you are bending. You will experience a stretch in your hamstrings.
  • Remain in this position for about 10 seconds, and then return to the original position.
  • Now repeat the same movement towards your left.
  • Finally, bend your torso forward, with your arms extended before you, and try to touch your head to the floor.
  • Remain in position for about ten seconds, and then return to the original position.
#7: Hamstring Stretch
  • Kneel, and while holding the right knee in place, extend your left knee before you.
  • Keep your foot stretched, pointing outward, and bend your torso towards your leg. Try to rest your upper body on your leg, but without slouching your back.
  • Remain in position for about ten seconds, before switching legs.
#8: Quadriceps' Stretch
  • Lie flat on your stomach, on an exercise mat, and have your forehead resting on your arms before you.
  • Keep your legs straight and flat on the floor.
  • Bend your left leg upward, and use your left hand to hold your left foot.
  • Slowly pull your leg as close to your hips as possible, while attempting to keep your thigh flat at all times. Your left foot should be in line with your left thigh, not toward the left or right.
  • Hold yourself in this position for about 10 counts, and then perform this routine with the right leg.
#9: Thigh Stretch
  • Lay on the right side of your body, with your right arm extended over your head, and your right leg in line with the rest of your body.
  • Place your left hand in front of your stomach, and place your head on your right hand.
  • Slowly lift your left leg upward, with your knee straight and your toes pointing upward.
  • Now lower back your leg, but don't touch it on the floor. Repeat this movement thrice in the same manner.
  • Next, while keeping your body in the same starting position, lift your left leg up, and bend it at the knee. Have your toes pointed outward, and rest them on your right ankle. Repeat this movement thrice in the same manner.
  • While keeping your leg in the same position (toes resting on ankle), slowly bring your toes to rest on your right knee. Lift your leg up in the air, and bring back the toes to the same position. Repeat this movement thrice.
  • Now, hold the heel of your left foot with your hand, and lift it up, as close to your torso as possible.
  • After this, roll over on your back, and hold your left foot with your left hand. Place your right hand on the right side of your right leg to hold it in place. Lower your leg as close to your body as possible, while keeping your knees straight.
  • Lower your body back and relax for about 30 seconds. Repeat this entire routine with your right leg.
#10: Calf Stretch
  • Stand with your left leg in front of your right leg.
  • Without bending the right leg, bend your left knee so that your upper body is leaning forward. While doing so, try to keep your right heel is firmly planted on the floor.
  • Remain in this position for 10 seconds before switching legs.
Once again, do not engage in any of these exercises if you are injured or are easily susceptible to injury. Get a clean chit from your doctor and then go ahead with these.