Does your body feel tight and uncomfortable from sitting around all day? Do you want to be able to do the splits and impress all of your friends? Do you want to improve your athletic performance? If you answered yes to any of the questions that were listed above then look no further! This list of the 8 best stretches to increase your flexibility is just the thing for you! On this list, you will find stretches for practically every region of your body. That means that if you regularly perform all of the stretches on this list, your body will practically become a noodle! By saying that, I mean that you will be capable of stretching and bending your body to impeccable lengths by anyone’s standards. This is because by performing these exercises you will increase your overall range of motion, which is a great benefit since increasing your range of motion will make it so that performing daily tasks becomes less taxing. Regardless of what your purpose is for picking up stretching, one promise that I can make to you is that by choosing even just one of these stretches to perform daily, your body will start to feel better and healthier. If any of that sounds appealing to you, keep reading to find out about the best stretches now!
1. Side Lunge Stretch
The side lunge is one of the best stretches for working out your gluteus medius and quadriceps muscles. In other words, the side lunge is best for increasing the flexibility of your second layer of butt muscles and the front-facing portion of your thighs. This, in turn, makes you better able to do the sideways splits and sit with your legs spread out without discomfort. To perform the side lunge stretch, simply widen your stance and lean toward your right or left. Try to go as low as you can and hold the position for 20-30 seconds, making sure that your knees don’t overextend past your toes.
2. Glute Bridge
The glute bridge is on this list because it is one of the best stretches for increasing the flexibility of your hip flexors, although it does work out your glutes too. Your hip flexors are what you want to focus on if you are interested in being able to do the splits in any direction. To perform the glute bridge, simply lie on the floor, knees bent, thrust your hips upwards, and hold that position.
3. Butterfly Stretch
The butterfly stretch is a fun stretch that increases the flexibility of your legs. You can feel that it’s working because when you perform it, you can feel it pulling and stretching out your inner thigh muscles. This stretch is easy to do, just sit with your feet together and lean down like you’re trying to touch your head to your toes. If the stress becomes too uncomfortable, you can flap your legs up and down to ease the tension.
4. Calf Stretch
The calf stretch is an easy stretch that most have us have done before (typically before going on a run). When you have tight, unstretched calves, you may find that it is difficult to walk for long periods. That is because your calf’s muscles are not properly prepared to be repetitively pulled and extended, which is what occurs during the walking or running motion. One of the best stretches for your calf muscles can be done by placing both of your hands on a wall and placing your legs in a lunge position. Once you feel a slight pull on your calf muscle, hold the position you are in for as long as you can.
5. Back Stretch
The primary purpose of performing a backstretch is to stretch out your lattisimus dorsi muscle, which is otherwise known as your lats. Your lats are located on your upper back and it is a problem area for most people. Since people typically slouch and forget to pull their shoulders back, the lasttisimus dorsi is condensed and rarely gets stretched out. This can cause you to feel a tight, uncomfortable feeling once you do posture yourself in an upright position. Additionally, you will notice that when your lats are tight, you lack the ability to reach overhead easily. A good backstretch is the double overhand lat stretch. Position both hands above your head and reach out as far as you can. Make sure to hold the position for at least 20 seconds if you want to see results.
6. Hamstring Stretch
Your hamstrings are the muscles located on the back of your thighs just below your butt. No one ever likes to pull a hammy and luckily you don’t have to as long as you perform this exercise to improve its flexibility. To stretch out your hamstrings, lay down on the floor completely straight, then reach your foot up to your hands and hold that position for as long as you can.
7. Standing Quad Stretch
The standing quad stretch improves the flexibility of your front thigh muscles. This is one of the best stretches that you can perform if you want to make squatting, lunging, and jumping easier for yourself. The way that this stretch is done is by standing up straight, bending your leg back, grabbing your heel, and holding your balance while maintaining that position for 20-30 seconds.
8. Side-To-Side Neck Stretch
Looking down at our phones all day has caused our necks to become weak and stiff. In order to fix this problem, one of the best stretches to perform is the side-to-side neck stretch. Just like how the name applies, lean your head sideways as if you are trying to touch your ear to your neck. Hold that position for at least 20 seconds and then switch sides.