36 Pictures To See Which Muscle You’re Stretching

It doesn’t matter if you are a chronic sitter, an average person, or a daily exerciser – you should all know that you need to stretch! Yes, stretching is highly recommended by all medical experts and it’s highly beneficial for you and your health in general. Now, here comes the main question – why stretching is so important? Well, stretching helps your blood reach your muscles and your joints move through their full range of motion. Stretching will also improve your posture and physical performance and it also reduces the risk of injuries and pain.

Now, here comes another, also very important question – how can you tell which muscles you are actually stretching or if you are performing each stretch the right way while you do yoga or the flexibility routine?

In this article we are going to show you the best stretches that will fit your goals. So, in case you start feeling pain, and not the regular, good pain, but the stretchy one when you know that something doesn’t not feel right – then you should pinpoint the muscle that gives you the trouble and change the technique you’ve been using before. Well, you need to change your old routine to avoid getting hurt.

Well, these types of stretches should be felt in the “core” of your muscles. But, you shouldn’t feel pressure or strain in your joints, and if you do, this means that you are pushing too far and you can injure yourself. And you should remember that during the stretching process, you need to concentrate on your breathing and make sure these movements are as natural as possible.

Note: you need to stop thinking about the time you are holding the stretch. Instead of that, you need to start concentrating on feeling your muscles relaxing and returning to their natural, resting length. This process may take about 5 to 30 seconds. And, you should also remember that if some stretch does not feel like it’s doing something you’re your muscles – then you need to change it and try another stretch.

The stretches and the great illustrations in this article are made by Vicky Timon and James Kilgallon. She is a yoga expert and author of “Encyclopedia of Pilates Exercises” and James Kilgallon is the main creator of Mazio’s Body Maintenance Program. He contributed in this program by giving the expert commentary.

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  1. Camel Pose

Muscles Emphasized:  Rectus Abdominus and External Obliques

This type of stretch is highly recommended and most appropriate for people who already have a good flexibility. Here’s what you need to do: sitting on your heels, put your hands behind you, pushing your hips up and forwards. Note: don’t put too much pressure on your lumbar spine. And, if you are experiencing some problems with your neck, don’t drop your head back.

  1. Wide Forward Fold

Muscles Emphasized: adductors

Well, this type of exercise is great for stretching the adductors and the hamstrings, and you just need to open the hips. Here’s what you need to do: you need to start with your knees bent, holding your spine straight. And, when you start feeling your muscles starting to release, straighten your legs, round out your back and reach for your feet. Now, you need to pull easily on the bottom of the balls of your feet in order to release the calf muscles. Note: if you are a beginner, you might not be able to reach your feet. Then you will and can use a belt or a towel. Here’s another option: this type of stretch can also be performed while you lye on your back and push your legs up the wall.

 

  1. Frog Pose

Muscles Emphasized: adductors

When you are doing this type of stretch for your groins, it can put pressure on your knees as well. So, it’s highly recommended that you perform it on a soft surface. Here’s what you need to do: you need to rest your hands and knees and then bring your knees wider until you feel your groin muscles well stretched. And, you may feel a bit differing stretches as you actively push your hips back and forward.

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  1. Wide Side Lunge Pose

Muscles Emphasized: adductors

You may begin this stretching by putting your both feet forward in a wide stance. And you must hold your legs as straight as possible. And now, with your hands, walk to your right foot and then bend your right knee and rotate your left toes up to the ceiling sitting in your right hip. You should make sure your right foot maintains flat on the floor.

  1. Butterfly Stretch

Muscles Emphasized: adductors

While you are sitting, you need to bring the soles of your feet together and sit tall through your sit bones. You need to develop this stretch by putting pressure on your knees, using your both hands. And, if you want to stretch your groin muscles better, you need to hold your feet closer to your body. You need to make sure your feet are far from your hips and slowly round your upper body to loose your back muscles.

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  1. Forearm Extensor Stretch

Muscles Emphasized: forearm extensor

Here’s what you need to do – you need to pack your shoulders and your back down and rotate the shoulder towards outside in order to get into the optimal position to stretch the forearm muscle. And now, after you’ve managed to bring your body into this body position, you need to put pressure on your other hand to start the stretch. You can also develop this stretch by touching the tips of your fingers together in the shape of a tea cup.

  1. Lateral Side Flexion of the Neck

Muscles Emphasized: sternocleidomastoid or “SCM”

You need to prolong your neck as much as possible. Now, slowly drop your ear to your shoulder and make sure that you aren’t collapsing your cervical spine. Well, this type of stretch can be further developed and advanced by sitting on a chair and holding onto the bottom of the seat. This method is going to make the tension down your arm and neck consistent. This will also let you target the upper traps.

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  1. Neck Rotation Stretch

Muscles Emphasized: sternocleidomastoid or “SCM”

You should begin this stretching exercise by rotating your neck in a slow manner, while keeping your chin a bit elevated to isolate the sternocleidomastoid. If you want to perform a deeper stretch, you will need to put pressure with the opposite hand from the direction that you are rotating.

  1. Neck Extension Stretch

Muscles Emphasized: sternocleidomastoid or “SCM”

Well, begin by putting your hands on your hips. In the meantime, you need to keep your spine long start to tilt your head back, ensuring that you aren’t collapsing your cervical spine.

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  1. Lateral Slide Flexion of the Neck with Hand Assistance

Muscles Emphasized: sternocleidomastoid or “SCM”

Here’s what you need to do: you need to prolong your neck as much as possible, while you slowly drop your ear to your shoulder. And, while you are doing this, you need to make sure you are not collapsing your cervical spine. You can advance this type of stretching by sitting on a chair and grabbing the bottom of its seat. Well, in this way you can create consistent tension down the arm and the neck, and it will let you target the upper traps.

  1. Half Kneeling Quad / Hip Flexor Stretch

Muscles Emphasized: psoas and quadriceps

You should begin in the half-kneeling position. And then, you should bring forward the right hip, and you should also start feeling a stretch in the front of your hip while you do that. Now, you should take your back foot and squeeze your back glute in order to add to the stretch on your hip flexors.

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  1. Forearm Extensor Stretch

Muscles Emphasized: forearm extensor

Well, you need to begin this stretching exercise by packing your shoulder and your back down. After that, you need to rotate your shoulder towards outside to get into the optimal position to stretch the forearm muscle. Now, when you’ve come into this position, you need to put pressure on your opposing hand to start the stretch. Note: you can advance this type of stretching by touching the tips of your fingers together in the shape of a tea cup.

  1. Lateral Shoulder Stretch

Muscles Emphasized: side deltoid

Here’s what you need to do – you need to put your arms across your body and put pressure on your arm to add to the stretch on your shoulder.

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  1. Standing Assisted Neck Flexion Stretch

Muscles Emphasized: trapezius muscle

You need to stand on the ground with your feet together. Note: you need to be sure that your spine is prolonged and slowly sit your hips back and round your upper back, pushing your chin to your chest at the same time.

  1. Lat Stretch with Spinal Traction

Muscles Emphasized: latissimus dorsi

Well, you need to begin this stretching by taking a firm grip on a bar and lift your feet slowly off the ground. Note: this type of stretching should be felt in your chest and lats. Well, in case you’ve totally taken your feet off the ground, you may feel traction in your lumbar spine. Or, you should also know that if you have recently undergone a shoulder injury or you have impingement of the shoulder, then you shouldn’t perform this stretch.

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  1. Lat Stretch at the Wall

Muscles Emphasized: latissimus dorsi

You need to put your both hands on the corner of a wall or post. And, while you are maintaining your spine prolonged, you need to push your hips out the side in a slow manner. And, if you are having problems with your lower back, don’t perform this stretching exercise.

  1. Child’s Pose

Muscles Emphasized: latissimus dorsi

While you are on the ground with your hands and your knees on the floor, you need to slowly bring your hips back until your forehead is on the floor. Note: but, if you want a better stretch in your hips, you should bring your knees wider. And your upper back should be positioned in the shape of an arch, and then you should externally rotate your shoulders to stretch your lats and chest muscles.

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  1. Standing Calf Stretch

Muscles Emphasized: soleus and dastrocnemius

This type of stretching exercise can be performed on a rack or on the edge of a stair step. You need to rotate your ankles a bit towards inside and outside to actively stretch your calf muscles.

  1. Front Split

Muscles Emphasized: psoas and hamstring

Note: this stretch is not recommended for beginners, because it’s king of advanced and it should be performed with extra caution, especially if you have any type of hip problems. You need to begin this stretch in a position of kneeling lunge. It can also be beneficial if you have the support of a chair while your hip flexors and hamstrings release.18

 

  1. Seated Forward Fold / Seated Toe Touch

Muscles Emphasized: hamstrings and calves

First, you need to sit into your seat bones and bend your knees if you need to. In this position, your legs will become stronger as your flexibility gets better. Then, you need to make sure your spine is as straight as possible, especially if you have back problems. Well, this type of stretch can also be done lying down on the back, with your feet up the wall.

  1. Single Led Forward Bend

Muscles Emphasized: hamstrings

You need to begin this stretch by having your feet positioned one in front of the other. Keeping your back straight, you need to bring your hands to your hips and start bending from the hips.

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  1. Deep Squat

Muscles Emphasized: glutes

This type of stretching exercise has general impact on all areas of your body. And, if you are experiencing any problems with your knees, or if you can’t keep your heels on the ground, then you need to perform your squat before proceeding. You need to begin this stretch by standing with your feet apart in the width of your shoulders and then start gradually lowering into deep squat. And, when you get to the position of deep squat, you need to bring your arms inside your legs and put a little pressure to the inside of your knees, sitting into the hips and heels. Note: this stretch exercise can also be performed lying on the back with the feet against the wall.

  1. Seated Half King Pigeon Pose

Muscles Emphasized: glutes

You should begin in a seated position and gradually pull your leg to your chest and rotate your hip towards outside. Make sure you keep your spine straight. This type of stretch should be felt in the glute.

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  1. Standing Calf Stretch at the Wall

Muscles Emphasized: soleus and gastrocnemius

Here’s what you need to do – initiate in the lunge position. You need to have the back of your foot a bit turned out. And now, gradually bring the back of your heel to the floor to stretch your calf muscles.

  1. Lateral Flexion at the Wall

Muscles Emphasized: external obliques

You need to keep your spine prolonged and slowly push your hips outside. Note: if you are experiencing any lower back problems, then you shouldn’t perform this stretch.

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  1. Supine Twist

Muscles Emphasized: glutes and external obliques

Well, this type of stretching exercise is really good and useful for people who suffer from sciatica pain and try to get rid of it. You should begin this stretch by lying flat on your back and then bring one leg across your body, and gradually rotate your gaze and upper body in the opposite direction. You should remember about this stretch is that you use your breath to open up your rib cage and sacroiliac joint and hip area without putting too much pressure on the lower back. But, if this type of stretch is too difficult for you, you need to stack both of your knees on top of each other, and when you are positioned this way, you will feel more stretch on the upper spine when the knees are higher, and more stretch on the lumbar spine when the knees are lower.

  1. Lateral Flexion with a Dowel

Muscles Emphasized: external obliques and latissimus dorsi

You need to keep your spine long, and gradually push your hips out to the side while keeping your shoulders rotated outwardly. Note: if you are experiencing some kind of lower back problems, don’t perform this stretch.

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  1. Triangle Pose

Muscles Emphasized: external obliques

Here’s what you need to do – first, you need to begin with a wide stand and with your front foot straight ahead, and your back foot at 90 degrees. Then, you need to put your front leg or on the floor, and sit back into your front hip, keeping your back straight. Now, rotate away from your front leg and you should maintain your look on the hand that’s not in the air.

  1. Chest Stretch at the Wall

Muscles Emphasized: pectorals

If you are a beginner, you need to face the wall with your thumb up. And now, you need to gradually rotate away from the wall in order to stretch your chest muscle. This type of stretch exercise should be felt in the belly of the muscle, but you should be careful not to stretch too far, because it may cause you a pain in the shoulder joint.

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  1. Assisted Chest Stretch

Muscles Emphasized: chest and latissimus dorsi

Here’s how to do this stretch – you need to begin this stretch by lying down on the floor and holding your palms faced up. And now, your partner should be seated in a deep squat and hold your hands. Note: while you are doing this stretch, you are supposed to feel a stretch in your chest and lats. The stretch should also cause some traction in your spine. If you have shoulder impingement, don’t perform this stretch.

  1. Seated Half Pigeon Variation

Muscles Emphasized: anterior tibialis

You need to begin this stretch by sitting with your feet positioned in front of you. You should put one hand behind your and rotate your hip outwardly and put one foot above the knee. Note: if you with to add to the stretch on your hip, you should gradually lean forwardly and start the movement by hanging at the hips.

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  1. Supine Shoulder External Rotation Stretch

Muscles Emphasized: subscapularis

Here’s how to perform this stretching exercise – first, you need to begin by lying on your back. After that, you should place your arm straight out to the side with your elbow at an angle of 90 degrees. The next thing you should do is to gradually bring the back of your hand to the floor. Note: if you can’t bring your hand close to the floor, and it’s still far away – this means that your rotator cuff and other muscles that control internal rotation are tight.

  1. Down Dog Variation at the Wall

Muscles Emphasized: pectorals and latissimus dorsi

Well, you need to stand far enough from a wall or rack so that when you touch the wall, your body gets into parallel position to the ground. You should move into this position by pivoting at the hips and make sure your spine is straight all the time. When you are in this position, you should move your chest forward and make a slight arch in your upper back and stretch your lats and chest muscles. Note: if you notice that your hamstrings are tight, you should try bending at the knees.

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  1. Assisted Chest Stretch Variation

Muscles Emphasized: pectorals

Here’s how to do this stretching exercise – first, you need to lie down on the floor with your face down and your palms faced down. Then, your partner should pull your hands back and you should feel a deep stretch in your chest muscles. Note: you should be extra careful and if you have shoulder impingement, you shouldn’t perform this stretch.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to share with your friends and family.

Source: beyoungbegreen.com

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