Mid-Back Stretch – Cat Stretch
- Lower into a squat with the hands on the thighs, back arched
- Contract your abdominal muscles. (Try to pull your belly button gently toward your spine.)
- Slowly round your back, pushing it up toward the ceiling.
- Allow your head to drop forward and curl your pelvis under.
- Hold for 10 seconds. You should feel a gentle stretch in your back.
- Return to the starting position.
- Raise your head up and let your pelvis fall forward as your belly reaches down toward the floor.
- Hold the position for 5-10 seconds, then return to the starting position.
- Repeat about 5 to 10 times.
Lower Leg Stretch
The peroneal muscles run down the outside of the lower leg and are difficult to stretch and so often neglected in a stretching routine.
1. Sit in a chair with one ankle resting on the other knee.
2. With your hands, point the foot (plantarflex) and turn the sole of the foot upwards (invert).
3. Hold for between 10 and 30 seconds.
Stretching the ITB is slightly different from stretching other muscles, as the ITB is a thick, fibrous band rather than an elastic muscle.
1. Stand upright and cross your right leg behind your left.
2. Lean slightly forwards and to your left side until you feel a stretch on the outside of your right leg. Adjust your position slightly to feel the stretch
3. Lean on a chair/wall if needed. Hold for 20-30 secs.
4. Repeat 3 times
5. Change legs, cross your left leg behind your right. Hold for 20-30 secs
6. Repeat 3 times.
7. Stretch twice daily, before and after exercise.
Shoulder Rolls Stretch
Stretching your shoulders can feel good, especially for those of us who spend long hours hunched over a computer.
1. Roll the shoulders down and back, starting with small circles and working up to larger circles.
2. Do 10 circles backwards and then repeat forward circles
Modified Cobra Stretch
- Lie face down on the floor with thumbs directly under shoulders, legs extended with the tops of your feet on the floor.
- Tighten your pelvic floor, and tuck hips downward as you squeeze your glutes.
- Press shoulders down and away from ears.
- Push through your thumbs and index fingers as you raise your chest toward the wall in front of you. Relax and repeat.
- Repeat 3-5 times
Simple Posture Stretch
This first activity isn’t so much of a stretch as it is a preparation and mental exercise.
- Begin by lifting your shoulders up high, imagining them coming up toward your ears.
- Next, release the shoulders downward, allowing gravity to do its thing.
- Don’t push the shoulders down, just release.
- Feel your spine long and free as you do this.
- Repeat 3 times.