At Home Stretches for Strength & Flexibility
by Cam – Sunday, 29. March 2020
COVID-19 has left many of us stuck in our homes and outside our normal routines. For everyone’s safety and health it’s important we follow the guidelines set for us and make the best of our current situation. With the Velocity studios closed temporarily, we know it puts a strain on your fitness plans, and we hope you are able to utilize the time with our great instructors who are helping you power through via Instagram Live. Some of you may have sacrificed your office desks and ergonomic chairs for living room tables and stiff IKEA furniture, and with daily routines interrupted, it can be difficult to stay limber and fit during this challenging time. Here are some home routines to help you get through the day for both strength and flexibility, many of which you don’t even have to leave your chair for.
Stretches and Flexibility
If possible, set an alarm or keep an eye on the clock and try to utilize these stretches every 45 minutes to an hour. Take 5 minutes or so to focus on getting your reps completed.
Upper Body Stretches
Hovering over a keyboard all day can put a lot of strain on your neck and shoulders. Often you’ll feel pain in your trapezius muscle, an area that supports the weight of our arms among other functions.
With your arms hanging at your side, sitting or standing, move your shoulders up toward your ears squeezing hard. Hold for 1-2 seconds before rotating your shoulder blades back and then down into a relaxed position. Repeat this for 10 reps for maximum effect. You’ll find some tension start to release from your shoulders, upper back, and neck.
Another area of the body often affected by hunching over at a desk is your chest. To help release tension from pectoral and deltoid muscles you can do a very simple exercise that you don’t even need to leave your chair for.
For added effect feel free to grab some a resistance band and pull it overhead. If you don’t have that, no worries, just lace your fingers behind your chair or back as your arms are extended straight out. Exhale as you pull your shoulders back and lift your hands up. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat twice.
Still feeling tension in your neck? If so it might lead to headaches and more upper back tension.
Sitting in your chair, reach down and grab the side of the chair with the right hand and gently pull while tilting your head to the left, feeling a stretch down the right side of the neck and shoulder. Repeat on the other side. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds.
This upper back stretch targets your rhomboids, upper back muscles that connect between your spine and each of your two shoulder blades.
Clasp your hands in front of you and lower your head in line with your arms, try to keep this line as you move. Press forwards and hold for 10 to 30 seconds.
Also known as a trunk rotation, a movement that involves the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae and surrounding muscles.
Keep your feet firmly on the ground facing forward. Twist your upper body in the direction of the arm that is resting on the back of your chair. Hold this for 10 to 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side. Try to exhale as you lean into the stretch to increase your range of motion.
Lower Body Stretches
Hip and Knee Flexion Stretch
Sitting in the forward position for excessive periods of time can also strain your knees and hips. To help maintain flexibility, this stretch is especially helpful.
Lean back in your chair. Hug one knee at a time, pulling it toward your chest. Hold the pose for 10 to 30 seconds. Alternate to the other leg
Seated Hip Stretch
Some people prefer to sit with one leg crossed but this can create an imbalance in your lower body, which can cause pain in the sciatic nerve and glutes. To ensure both sides are equally limber, complete this stretch a few times a day.
While seated, cross the right ankle over the left knee and sit up tall. Gently lean forward, keeping the back straight and reaching out with the torso until you feel a tension in the right glute and hip. You can also press down on the right knee to deepen the stretch. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Inner Thigh Stretch
This builds on the previous exercise, opening the hips and get rid of tightness and tension in the lower body.
While seated, take the legs wide, toes out and lean forward with the elbows on the thighs. Keep the back straight and the abs contracted. Gently press forward while using the elbows to push the thighs out until you feel tension in your inner thigh. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds and repeat several times a day.
To stretch your hamstrings, remain seated while extending one leg forward. Reach toward your toes. Hold this position for 10 to 30 seconds and repeat with the other leg. You can also do this exercise with both legs extended.
We hope these help you get through the day, improve both your strength and flexibility, and your overall well-being.
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