3 Stretches You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

I know many people aren’t a big fan, but stretching really is important. It improves flexibility, decreases the risk of injury, and can reduce muscle soreness. Mentally it is also a great way to calm the mind and de-stress.

Most of us know quad stretches, side bends, and other major muscle stretches from posters at the gym, workout videos, or high school PE. It’s great to stretch those, but there’s a lot of smaller supporting and stabilizing muscles that need love too. I’m going to go through three stretches that you’ve probably never heard of.

Rotator Cuff Stretch

1. External Rotator Cuff Stretch

Your rotator cuff is made of 4 little muscles that hold your arm in the shoulder socket.

-Place the outside of your wrist just above your hip.

-Grasp onto your elbow with the opposite hand and gently pull forward.

-Hold for 30 seconds.

-Repeat on the other side.

Torso Twist Stretch

2. Torso Twist on All Fours

Your core is crucial to all movements of the body, and it’s important to remember to stretch out its rotational muscles as well.

-Position yourself on all fours with hands under shoulders and knees under hips.

-Reach one hand under the body then up to the sky. Keep hips squared to the ground.

-Complete 3-5 reps with the same arm.

-Repeat on the other side.

Figure 4 Stretch

3. Figure 4 Stretch Seated on the Ground

This is my favourite stretch. It’s targeting a little muscle called the piriformis in the hip, and I think it feels so good.

-Sit with one ankle on the other knee and hands behind you.

-On the raised leg, flex your toes inward and pull the knee downward.

-Keep your chest high and open.

-Hold for 30 seconds.

-Repeat on the other side.

Do not stretch to the point of pain. If you feel faint, dizzy, or have other physical discomfort, talk to a professional.

I like to stretch for 10-20 minutes after my daily workout while my muscles are warm from exertion. I know others prefer to stretch upon waking up, before going to bed, or for a single longer duration on a weekly basis. Find what works for you. I discovered I’ve come to enjoy stretching now. It feels good in my body, and my mind appreciates the relaxation.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or trained in physiotherapy. I’m just sharing information I’ve learned. The instruction presented is in no way intended as a substitute for medical consultation.

Do you incorporate stretching into your life? What’s your favourite stretch?

Grace created Heartful Habits as a place of inspiration for what she calls living mindfully and heartfully. There she writes about living a mindful and heartful life with wellness tips, healthy recipes, natural remedies, beauty DIYs, green cleaners, social issues, fitness, and anything homemade. You can check Grace out and connect with her on Heartful Habits, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.