You probably have your cardio and strength training routines down pat, but many hardcore workout buffs have a tendency to forget about the importance of flexibility training.
Flexibility training will not only help improve your range of motion, but also decrease the incidence of injury to the joints. According to the Washington State University, you should perform flexibility exercises at least three times a week for five to ten minutes.
The following four flexibility exercises are simple to perform and will only take a few minutes to complete. Why not start incorporating them into your workouts today?
Seated Abdominal Twist
The American Heart Association recommends a series of seated stretches to increase flexibility in the mid-section of the body. To start, sit with your feet flat on the floor and shoulder width apart. Keep your spine straight as you sit in the chair. Place your hands behind your head and bend towards your hip. Return to the starting position. Switch sides and perform a total of six reps for each side.
Lunges are a classic flexibility exercise. The knees, calves and hamstrings are all targeted during lunges. For a side lunge, you must first stand with your legs apart. Lean your body to the left while bending the left knee. Keep flexing until you feel the stretch in the groin area. Hold the pose for five seconds before switching sides.
Upper Body Stretch
It is important to not neglect the upper body as you work on your flexibility. A simple exercise to do is upper arm raises. While standing with your feet shoulder width apart, hold one end of a towel with your right hand. Drape the towel behind your back and grip the other end of the towel with your left hand. Pull until you feel the stretch in your shoulder. Hold for five to ten seconds before releasing the stretch and repeating the move on the other side of the body.
On the floor, sit with your legs apart. Place both hands on your left shin and flex your body to stretch towards the knee. Keep the leg straight as you stretch and hold the move for ten seconds. Move back to the starting position and switch sides.
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