The 4 Tightest Muscles — And Exactly How To Stretch Them
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Bit stiff? There’s a stretch for that…
These stretches work the muscles that get the tightest in women: hip flexors, glutes, hamstrings and chest. Stretching them improves range of motion and flexibility throughout your body, so don’t even think about skipping them.
First, do a complete warm-up, such as five to 10 minutes of walking, cycling or easy jogging. Warming up increases blood flow to the muscles, which will give you better results and reduce your risk of injury as you stretch. Stretch the tightest muscle or side first (a tight muscle will inhibit the flexibility of those around it). And don’t cut corners – hold each of these as long as you can (at least 30 seconds).
Stand on your left foot with your right foot behind you on a raised step or chair, hands on your hips. Lower yourself into a lunge until your right knee rests on the floor. Press your hips forwards and keep your torso upright. Repeat on the other side.
Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Open your left hip and move your left leg out to the side. Bend at the left knee so that your left foot points behind you. Bend your right knee 90 degrees so your right foot is in front of your left knee. Place your hands on the floor in front of you, then gently walk them forwards, keeping your back flat. Repeat on the other side.
Lie on your back and raise your right leg until it’s perpendicular to the floor. Loop a towel or band around your right foot and pull your leg towards you, keeping your leg straight. Keep your back flat on the floor and your left leg still. Repeat on the left side.
Stand facing a wall. Extend your right arm straight in front of you and place your right hand on the wall. Twist your body away from the wall, until you feel the stretch in your chest. Slowly bend your elbow as you lean towards the wall to isolate the stretch even more.