The Best Stretching Exercises for Beginners
New to stretching? Or maybe you don’t have enough hours in the day to fit in a stretch session? We get it. If you’re new to working out and barely making time to fit it in your schedule, stretching might not be the easiest task to add in there.
Luckily, we’ve made it easy for you and have outlined some of the best and simplest stretches for beginners.
And here’s our first tip, taking on a comprehensive stretching routine can actually help you get stronger! Stretches still take effort, they also help prevent injury by lengthening shortened muscles, allowing you to perform at your best. You can stretch after your workout to relax.
Even if you don’t work out regularly these stretches can help. Many people with desk jobs have a unique host of problems that can be relieved from stretches. Instead of waiting until you’re in so much pain that you need to schedule a massage, incorporating these stretches a few times a week can make a world of difference.
This beginner stretching routine is easy to complete and yet, covers your entire body:
- Lunging Runner Stretch
- Standing Side Stretch
- Forward Hang
- Back Twist
- Supine Hamstring Stretch
Completing these stretches as part of your daily routine can only make you stronger while helping to prevent injuries from overtraining. So, let’s get started:
1. Lunging Runner Stretch
You don’t have to be a runner to complete this stretch. If you use your hamstrings, glutes, or any other muscle groups in the lower body, you’ll like this stretch exercise.
In two easy steps, you can complete this stretch.
- First, step with your right foot forward and lower yourself into a lunge position placing your fingertips on the floor as if you were going to take off into a sprint (you can add pillows or a yoga blog if you can’t reach the floor)
- Next, breathing in and in one swift motion, exhale as you straighten your right leg. Then slowly return to the lunge position
- You can repeat this stretching exercise four or five times on the same side and then switch sides.
2. Standing Side Stretch
This stretch is great for your upper body and obliques. It helps whether you’ve been sitting at a desk all day or working out your upper body.
- First, stand with your feet together and your arms overhead
- Hold your hands together (either clasp or intertwine your fingers) and inhale as you reach upwards
- Next, breathe out and bend your upper body to the right. Hold this pose for the duration of five slow breaths
- Slowly return to the center and repeat on the left side
- You can do this stretching exercise three or four times on each side before moving on in your routine. Make sure to keep the movements slow and controlled while only tilting to the side (not forward or backward) with your feet firmly planted on the ground.
3. Forward Hang
This stretch is exactly what it sounds like… hanging out while bending forward. But don’t discount it right away, it actually feels really good.
- Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent
- Interlock your fingers with your arms behind your back, or hold onto a towel if your hands don’t touch together
- Next, breath in and straighten your arms back while expanding your chest towards the ceiling
- On your exhale, bend forward at the waist and let your hands stretch over your head.
Hold this movement for 30 seconds to a minute.
This is an excellent stretch for beginners to do quickly throughout the day while at work as we spend so much time hunched over a computer or desk, it’s a good way to release any tension in the back and shoulders that has built up.
4. Back Twist
Another good stretching exercise for beginners to release a tight back and upper body.
- Start seated on the floor with your legs straight in front of you
- Bend your right knee up and step the right foot over the left leg so it falls flat on the ground beside your thigh. You can put your right hand on the floor beside you for support
- Bend your left elbow and turn to the right, putting the elbow on the right side of your right knee and inhale as you sit up tall (don’t lean back)
- As you breathe out, twist into the stretch by pressing the back of your arm into your leg while sitting tall and looking over your right shoulder
Hold this stretch for 30 to 40 seconds on the first side and slowly return to the center, putting your leg down and switching sides.
Your back may crack as you breathe and sink deeper into this stretch. You will feel it in your back and maybe your glutes. To make your exercises more effective you may do resistance band stretches.
5. Supine Hamstring Stretch
This is a great stretching exercise if you are doing any lower bodywork or are on your feet all day.
- Start by lying flat on your back on the floor or a yoga mat
- Bend your knees up but leave your feet on the floor
- Lifting one leg into the air with a slight bend in the knee, put your hand around your leg under the knee and pull it towards your chest
- Keep your lower back on the ground (do not lift your butt into the air as you pull on your leg, you will not feel the stretch this way)
Hold the stretch for 30 seconds on each side, release the leg slowly to the ground and repeat on the opposite side.
Now hopefully you have learned a few stretches you can quickly and easily add to your routine. Whether you are a desk worker or new to working out and need some inspiration and direction when it comes to stretching, these stretches are easy to complete and effective for many people who try them.
Remember, if a stretching exercise ever hurts, stop it. Stretching should be a little uncomfortable but it should never hurt you. Try something else or ask a personal trainer what stretches could be right for you if you have an existing injury or stretch beings to hurt.