To stretch or not to stretch. That is the question. Well, the answer is always STRETCH, but at this point that may just seem a bit obvious to you.
After all, it only takes about 5 minutes and can save you from feeling extra sore after an intense workout. Plus, it feels absolutely amazing. That is, IF you’re doing these ten stretches.
I like to end all of my bootcamp classes with a combination of these relaxing moves but it can also be a great little stretch to start or end your day if you’re feeling more stressed or tense than usual.
First, start out laying down comfortably on your back. Pull one knee into your chest and gently hold it there for a few breaths (let’s say three deep ones). Next, take that knee and cross it over the body while you stretch your opposite arm away.
You’ll want to keep your torso and eyesight twisted in the opposite direction of your crossed over leg (if your right leg is crossed over the left side of your body, your right arm should be facing straight out to the right with your gaze looking in the same direction.
Repeat this move on the other side.
Slowly roll your torso up and scoop the “flesh” (pull those buttocks out a bit so your body is comfortably planted on your mat) out from under you and sit up nice and tall. Feet are together and your whole body should be relaxed.
Take a deep breath in and reach both arms up to the sky as straight as possible. Next, you’ll hinge forward and reach for your toes.
If you can’t reach your toes just yet, you’ll want to hold a towel or strap around the balls of your feet while you pull on both ends so you can get just an inch deeper into your stretch.
After the forward bend, I like to add another twist in since they are notorious for detoxifying the body as well as feel amazing! While you’re sitting up nice and tall, cross one leg (bent just above the knee) over your opposite straight leg. Next, you’ll place your hands on your knees and twist in the opposite direction of your bent leg (away from the body).
Repeat this on the other side.
Next, I usually have my bootcampers swing their legs to the back of their mats and come up to a nice cobra position. Hands are directly under your shoulders, feet and legs are relaxed and your torso is lifted with your chest high and shoulders away from your ears.
This is a great low back stretch that can be done whenever you’re feeling any type of pain there.
After these four stretches, I ask everyone to stand up and have them shake out their arms and legs.
My bootcampers absolutely love this one so I like to transition right into it. While standing, stretch out one of your legs in front of you with your heel grounded and your toes pointing straight up. As you stand with most of the weight on the opposite leg, you’ll want your hands at your hip as you sink down and hinge forward.
This will feel great on your hamstrings (back of the leg).
Repeat this going from standing tall to sinking down with a hinge several times before moving to the other side.
After you’ve melted into that hamstring stretch, you’ll want to return to a neutral, standing position. Sweep both arms up from your sides, raising them nice and straight. Grab ahold of one of your wrists and pull your torso in the opposite direction (Ex. grab your left wrist with your right hand and lean into your right side).
This should feel awesome on one side of your body. Repeat on the other side to stay balanced.
While you’re still standing, clasp your hands together behind your back. At first, you’ll want to pull both hands down and away from the body. Eventually, or if you have more flexibility, you’ll want to bring both hands over your shoulders and towards the ground moving into a standing forward bend.
I’m not the biggest fan of stretching one arm across the body while your other one holds it in place. There’s nothing wrong with this, I just prefer the next step more.
Lastly, I have my bootcampers stretch one elbow (think: bent arm with hands facing down and elbows up) to the sky while the other arm pulls the hand down so you’re left tapping in between your shoulder blades. After a few breaths, you can switch to the other side.