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Stretching 101: The Key To a Healthy Workout

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While most people who exercise regularly or seriously know that stretching is a key part of a healthy regimen, many people restrict themselves to touching toes and stretching hamstrings. During a run or exercise session there are many muscles at play – they need a good stretch as well. The following is a list of the best stretches for every body part:

Feet

While this might not seem obvious, the muscles in the bottom of your foot connect to others in the legs. Tightness in the toes can lead to poor ankle mobility or leg cramps.

Ankles

Your ankles provide support and stability and soak up a lot of stress during weight training, squatting, running and jumping.

Calves

The calves absorb a lot of the shock that body is hit with during workouts that include running, jumping, and squatting. Tightness in the calves can cause knee pain later on.

Hamstrings

While toe-touching stretches do relax the hamstring muscles, it’s not really enough to tackle this very large piece of tissue that is heavily abused during weigh training and cardio.

Quads

Cardio workouts that burn a lot of calories make serious use of the quad muscles. Frequent repetitions of squats and lunges can cause a lot of tension in the muscle that, if left untreated, can lead to stiffness and pain later on. Try the following effective stretch that involves the knee and the hip together.

Hip Flexors

The hip flexors get put under stress by people who sit at a desk all day long, since your legs are held at a 90-degree angle from your hips for hours at a time, instead of being extended at 180-degrees, which shortens the length of your hip flexors. This modern phenomenon can lead to pain throughout the legs. A hip flexor stretch can alleviate the problem.

Hip Adductors

If you don’t know what a hip adductor is, you probably have at one time felt pain in your groin while working out. That’s it. These muscles bring your legs together and apart. Neglecting these muscles can lead to incorrect pelvis positioning and further lack or core strength. A simple stretch can prevent locking and a pulled groin.

Piriformis

Your glute muscles get sat on all day long. This situation can lead to subsequent tightness and inflexibility in the piriformis muscles.

Lats

Your lats are the muscles that give your torso a beautiful triangular shape. Stiffness in these areas can lead to shoulder pain and problems, affecting the whole back with time. People who do pull-ups or any kind of upper-back weight training would be smart to avoid shoulder and neck pain stretching the lats.

Chest

The chest gets a lot more stress during workouts than we imagine. The countless bench presses and pushups that most people do will eventually tighten the chest. Loosen the tightness in the front of your body by don a side-lying chest opener.

Shoulders

Broad shoulders are coveted by many strength-trainers. They focus attention on these areas and cause a lot of tightness. An overhead wall stretch will loosen the muscles around the joints.

Neck

Weight training that utilizes upper body muscles often affects the neck muscles as well.

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