It’s true that stretching is neither glamorous nor hardcore, and it probably won’t give you the same rush that a run or HIIT class will. It is uncomfortable and it takes time, so people don’t like to do it. However, you can’t just do strength training and cardio without putting yourself at risk for injury and pain.
Love to work out, but never have time to stretch? Most people skip this simple practice, but it’s a great way to tune into your body and give your muscles some much needed attention. Luckily, improving your flexibility and mobility isn’t hard. It just takes a little time.
Try adding the stretches for flexibility that Atkins demos below into your routine to help relieve muscle tension and increase mobility—so that you can move through both the gym and life more freely.
Below is a simple routine. It’s short, simple and you can do it anywhere. Try this stretch sequence after every workout (or long workday!) this week.
- Start on your knees and stretch one leg out between your hands.
- Straighten your back while keeping your core engaged.
- Hold this pose for 30 seconds, focusing on your breathing.
- Then switch to the other leg and hold for 30 seconds.
Related article: 18 Exercises That Show You Exactly What Muscles You Are Stretching
Hip Flexor & Quad Stretch:
- Start in a lunge position with one leg resting on the ground.
- Tuck your pelvis under and lift your chest high.
- Press forward and you’ll feel the stretch in the hip resting on the ground.
- Hold for 30 seconds, and then repeat on the other leg.
- Starting from the same position as above, place your hands on the ground and lift your back leg up off of the ground.
- Twist your upper body to the right side, pushing through the heel of your foot.
- Keep your hips square and engage your core during the rotation.
- Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
- Start by lying down on your back.
- Raise your legs into the air at a 90-degree angle.
- Bend one knee outward, so your ankle is resting on the opposite knee.
- Place your hands behind the straightened knee and bring it closer to you.
- Hold the pose for 30 seconds and then switch legs.
- Start by sitting on the ground, spread your legs out to the sides.
- Stretch and reach your right arm to your left leg, hold for 30 seconds.
- Repeat on the other side for 30 seconds.
- You should feel this through your obliques.