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.
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.
Seated Forward Bend
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.
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.
Hinged Hamstring Stretch
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.
Standing Oblique Stretch
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.
Shake it Off
To end this glorious series of stretches, I always like to have everyone literally shake it off:
- Swing your arms left and right as wide as possible crossing your arms over and under each other.
- Roll one arm in forward circles a few times and then reverse the circles and repeat on the next side
After all of this twisting and turning you should feel 10x better and ready to tackle anything!