Pre Workout Stretches: Ones You Need to Know and Why

Pre workout stretching is essential for improving your overall range of motion and warming up your muscles. Stretching also promotes muscle stability, and some poses build strength.

As such, it lowers the risk of injury when exercising. You can either do static, ballistic, or dynamic stretches in your warm-up. Below are 8 pre workout stretches you need to know, their benefits, and how to do them.

Downward Dog

The Downward Dog

The downward dog is a popular yoga pose that is great as a way to warm up your body before the main workout and makes a great addition to any stretching routine.

It stretches the entire backside from the back of the neck, the spinal column, and the back muscles, glutes, hamstrings, calves, ankles, and heels. It also stretches the triceps, shoulders, shins, and quadriceps.

How to:

Come to an all-fours position on the ground with your hands shoulder-width apart and knees hip-width apart. Spread fingers, press your palms down, touch your toes, and lift your hips to form an inverted v shape with your body.

You can make the downward dog a static or dynamic stretch by either holding this pose without making any movements or by bending one knee at a time.

Quad Stretch

Quad Stretch

The quad stretch is particularly essential for runners or if you’re doing other leg-focused exercises. It stretches the front part of the thighs and loosens up the hips, helping with muscle soreness.

How to:

There are several ways you can stretch your quad with this stretching exercise:

  • Lying on your back. Lie on your back and pull one knee to your chest. Hold it for at least 30s, release it, and then switch to the other knee.
  • Standing. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bend one knee and grab the top of the foot from the back. Pull the heel towards your buttock and tuck your pelvis in. Hold for at least 30s, release, and switch to the other leg.
  • Kneeling. Come to a kneeling position with the upper part of the body upright. Take your right foot forward as if doing a lunge. For a deeper stretch on your hips and quadriceps, shift your pelvis forward. Hold for at least 30 seconds, release, and switch to the other leg.

Runner’s Lunge

Runner's Lunge

The runner’s lunge is a compound stretch that lengthens and loosens up the different leg muscles and works great as a warmup. It provides a deep stretch on the quadricep, glute, hip flexor, hip, and calf. It is a great posture to do before running or doing leg-focused exercises. It also causes core activation.

How to:

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Step your right foot 2-3 feet in front. Bend your right knee until it is directly above you are right ankle.

Tuck your left toes so that the left heel is pointing upwards. Either rest your hands on top of the right thigh or reach them up. Hold this position for at least 30 seconds and then switch sides. You may make it a ballistic stretch by bouncing in position.

Cross-Body Shoulder Stretch

Cross-Body Shoulder Stretch

Also known as the across-the-body stretch, this exercise stretches the entire shoulder muscle.

How to:

Stand with your feet hip-width apart or slightly wider. Straighten your right arm forward and take it across the body to the left side.

Bend your left arm at the elbow and hook it under the elbow of the right arm. Pull in both elbows for a deeper stretch on the right shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds. Release and switch sides.

Standing Side Bend

Standing Side Bend

 

The standing side bend stretches and lengthens multiple muscles, including the shoulders, spine, obliques, lats, and arms. It can help to ease tensions in the shoulder blades and also improve spine and per workout mobility.

How to:

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Reach your right hand up and place your left hand on your left hip. Take a deep breath in as you engage your core.

As you breathe out, bend to the left while reaching your right hand over your head to the left side. Hold this position for 30 seconds and come back to the center, then switch sides to target the other muscle group.

Standing Forward Bend

Standing Forward Bend

The standing forward bend primarily stretches the hips, hamstrings, and calves. It also eases tension on the spine, back, neck, and shoulders. This stretch increases blood flow to the head, which can help to relieve stress.

How to:

You can either do a standing forward bend with your feet hip-width apart are extended all the way out. Whichever standing position you choose, forward from the hip joint.

Avoid bending at the stomach and rounding your back. Let your head and neck hang downwards. You can either hold onto your feet or shins. Stay in this position for at least 30 seconds.

Wide Arms Chest Stretch

This stretch primarily opens the chest muscles and the shoulders.

How to:

Straighten your arms in front of you at shoulder height. Bring your palms to touch with the fingers pointing forward. While keeping the arms straight, open your hands backward, hold for a count of 5, and then bring them back together in front of you. Repeat five times.

Bent Over Twist

Bent Over Twist

The bent-over twist stretches several muscles, including the shoulders, obliques, lower back, abs, glutes, and hamstrings. It is a good stretch to include in your workout routine to help with mobility and flexibility.

How to:

Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Straighten out your arms sideways. Bend forward from hip-joint. Touch your left toes with your right hand. Lengthen your left hand upwards. Hold this twisting position for at least 30 seconds. Slowly come up to a standing position and switch sides.

Conclusion

The next time you’re working out, do not skip the warm-up and pre workout stretches. These stretches are great exercises to incorporate into your warm-up routine.

Make sure to do the stretches that target the different parts of the body, especially a large muscle group like the shoulder, chest, back, oblique, quadricep, hamstring, and calf. You can start with static stretches then proceed to some dynamic stretches to begin to get your heart rate up.

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