8. Hamstrings / Inner Thigh / Lower Back Stretch
Sit with your back straight, legs apart, knees bent or straight, depending on your flexibility.
Keeping your back straight, exhale and lean forward at your hips with your arms extended. Go as close to the floor as you can without over-stretching. Hold for twenty seconds.
In this program, you will do static stretching which involves holding a stretch position for about twenty seconds without bouncing. When you perform your stretch, take a deep breath in, and then exhale as you go into the stretch and hold the position for twenty seconds as you continue to breathe deeply. As you hold the stretch you can try to take it a bit deeper.
7. Seated Hamstring / Side Bend
Sit with your back straight, your right leg extended out to the side, your left leg bent.
Keeping your back straight, exhale and lean forward toward your extended leg while lifting your left arm over your head to stretch your waist. Hold for twenty seconds.
The best time to stretch is after your workout, because this is when your muscles are warm and you can stretch the connective tissues (the ligaments and tendons) more deeply and with less risk for injury.
If you stretch when your muscles are cold (for example, as soon as you wake up in the morning), you have much more limited flexibility and higher chances of hurting yourself.
6. Shoulder / Chest Stretch
Sit with your back straight, legs crossed, your hands locked behind your back, and your shoulders pulled back.
Keeping your back straight, exhale and squeeze your shoulder blades together, while keeping your chest forward. Hold for twenty seconds.
During a stretch, you should feel tension and a bit of discomfort in the muscles that you are stretching, but you should never feel sharp pain. If you do, you must ease up on the stretch immediately or you risk injuring yourself.
You also should ease up on a stretch if you start to feel the muscles shaking – this is an indication that you have activated the stretch reflex, meaning you are over-stretching and your body is trying to compensate for that by actually contracting, rather than lengthening.