When’s the last time you built a workout routine around your flexibility? We’re betting it’s been a while.
Let’s face it, as balanced as we try to be with our fitness routines; it’s generally a lot more fun to pursue the kind of exercises that are going to give you serious strength and major muscles. When you head to the gym, there’s a good chance you want to focus on things like endurance and power, not just mobility.
However, if you’re not giving your stretching routine the right amount of TLC, the rest of your fitness regimen is likely to suffer.
That’s why, here at Blitz’d Magazine, we’re sharing our ultimate guide to stretching exercises with you. We’re pretty great like that.
We’re gonna transform you from an achy post-workout mess into a limber Stretch Armstrong.
Stretching for beginners: Why stretching matters
So, why should you be worrying about finding the best stretches for your fitness regime anyway?
You’ve got your protein shake, you’ve done a quick warm-up, shouldn’t you be ready to rock by now? Well, not necessarily.
Stretching makes you looser, more mobile, and more malleable.
All of those things turn you into a more elastic and effective workout machine. The more you stretch, the more you can push your body to accomplish something that’s usually way beyond your limits. Additionally, stretching ensures that you’re properly warmed up for your workout routine. That means fewer aches and pains after you’re done pumping iron.
According to founder of JDP Fitness, Jason Patmore, when men work on their muscles, those muscles contract, getting shorter and tighter. Stretching the muscle lengthens it, preventing discomfort and improving your recovery times.
Still not convinced?
What if we tell you that the best stretching exercises for men can also give you more stamina and prowess in the bedroom too?
Stretching increases blood flow elevates energy levels, and improves your range of motion. All of those things combined equal one hell of a night in.
Creating your daily stretching routine
Just like a strength workout, or a leg routine, stretching focuses on one specific aspect of physical growth. When you do the best stretches on a regular basis, you make your muscles more pliable, and more capable of withstanding strain. Stretching even means that you can list more long-term because your muscles know how to cope with more pressure.
The deeper you get into this flexible subcategory of fitness, the more techniques you’ll discover.
There are full body stretches out there, like this one:
Or you can focus on specific individual stretches that target problem areas in your body. For instance, leg stretches come in handy for people who do a lot of running and cycling.
However, since we’re focusing on beginners today, let’s narrow things down a bit. The two significant kinds of stretch workout exercises fall into the categories of:
Movements with a progressive range of motion. Take a kick-boxer for instance; they’ll start by doing some basic leg stretch swings to improve their movement and flexibility. Eventually, the best fighters will get to a point where they’re kicking at head height during their warmups, just like Bruce Lee.
Dynamic stretching routines mimic the exercise you’re about to do, to get the right muscles engaged.
Static stretches do what they say on the tin. These exercises focus on holding specific poses and positions for a certain length of time. Yoga is full of static stretching. Static stretching is great for getting your muscles nice and loosey goosey. However, a static stretch won’t be ideal before vigorous exercise.
The Medical Science in Sports and Exercise journal says that static stretching exercises before high-octane movement decreases performance and power.
The best stretching routine for beginners
Here’s the thing, stretching exercises are kind of like a well-fitted suit.
There’s no one-size-fits-all. You need to find out what’s comfortable based on your exercise goals and what you want to accomplish. If you’re training to be an MMA fighter, concentrating heavily on leg stretches will only get you part-way there.
However, after some pretty extensive research, the team at Blitz’d has found a few stretching exercises for men that are excellent for beginners from a range of backgrounds. We’d recommend taking 4-6 of these stretches and turning them into a custom routine.
Let’s take a look:
1. Half-kneeling hip flexor
It’s all in the hips.
Your hips aren’t just there for dancing, fellas. You need them for everything – from running and lifting to making an impact in the bedroom.
A half-kneeling flexor stretch will engage your glutes, stretch your hip muscles, and most importantly, eliminate lower back pain. This exercise is excellent for people who spend a lot of time sitting, either in the office or on the sofa.
Get onto your knees and lift your left leg so you’ve got one foot on the floor. As you exhale, lean forward until you feel a slight pull in your hips and upper thighs. Keep your right knee in contact with the floor and hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Come back to the seating position after and perform the stretch on the opposite side. You don’t want to be lop-sided.
Pro Tip: Do these stretching exercises for men when your muscles are warm. Right after a workout or a hot shower are great moments.
2. Bench chest stretch
The hip flexor stretch is great for people interested in leg stretches – but what if you want something a little more centre focused?
The bench chest stretch loosens tightness around your pecs and helps the blood to move around your arms and chest. This is a great stretch to do before you challenge yourself with any major lifting.
Start by lying flat on a bench with a light weight in each hand. Don’t push yourself too hard here – you can impress the local gym babes later.
Press your back into the bench and stretch your arms out at shoulder height, palms facing up. Let the weight slowly stretch out your biceps and chest and hold for thirty seconds. You can repeat this about 2-3 times in total.
Pro Tip: Bench chest stretches are great pre-workout, or to eliminate soreness after a rough lifting session.
3. Cervical retraction (chin tuck)
A good stretching routine for beginners can be simpler than you think.
You don’t need to be the next Chuck Norris to benefit from a basic stretching routine. Even the average Joe with the occasional back or neck ache can feel better with a good stretch.
The cervical retraction stretch or chin tuck specifically targets those of us addicted to our smartphones. If you spend a lot of time demolishing your posture while looking at screens all day, this stretch will keep your neck, back and shoulders strong.
Tuck your chin in towards your Adam’s apple, and hold your head forward gently with your fingers.
Pro Tip: You’ll need to hold this position for about 20 seconds and repeat it up to 10 times to feel the benefit.
4. Standing side bend
We’ve targeted leg stretches, your chest, and your neck so far.
Now let’s hit those abs.
A standing side bend is one of the best stretching exercises for beginners to try because it warms up the muscles in between your ribs and your abs. These muscles are excellent for things like throwing and punching.
Stand up straight with your feet about a hip-width apart and raise your left hand over your head. Keep your right hand down low by your side, and engage your abdominal muscles. Bend at the waist towards your right, as if you’re going to touch the floor with your right arm. Hold the position for a few seconds, then come back to centre. Repeat on the other side.
Pro Tip: Add this exercise to your stretching routine throughout the day to help you stand taller, breathe better, and accomplish more.
5. Windshield wiper
Time to channel your inner Jaguar lads.
We’re talking about the cat and the car.
The windshield wiper is excellent for guys who wanna expand their range of motion through full body stretches. Yes, it’s not going to look as impressive as a bench press – but it gets the job done.
Start by lying down on a bed, the floor, or the middle of your office if you must, and pull your knees to your chest. Lift your legs straight into the air, and, while they’re extended, lower them to your side, holding the stretch for at least ten seconds. You’ll need to repeat the stretch on both sides to loosen any knots in your back and stomach.
Pro Tip: We’d recommend this exercise for first thing on a morning when you’re feeling exhausted from a full night of playing Xbox the night before.
6. Child’s pose
Sometimes, to be a better man, you need to channel your inner child.
One of the best stretching exercises for men comes from the realm of yoga.
The child’s pose will soften and relax your lower back, eliminate tension in your arms and shoulders, and relax the muscles in the front of your body.
Start by getting onto your hands and knees and spreading your knees apart. Bring your big toes together, so they touch, then sit on your heels and lengthen your spine. Bend forward to rest your chest between your thighs and touch your forehead to the floor.
Not only is this stretch excellent for cooling down after a tough workout, but it will help you to feel awesome when you want to relax for bed too.
Pro Tip: Use this exercise to wind down, or try the child’s pose full body stretches to give you a boost of energy before you go to the gym each morning. Stretching can help to improve the flow of oxygenated blood in your body to make you feel energized. Science!
Let’s get stretching
There are plenty of amazing stretching exercises for men that are great for boosting everything from energy to strength and virality.
If you want to upgrade your exercise routine and accomplish more, we’d recommend implementing a stretching routine into your fitness regime every day. The more you stretch, the further you can push yourself without getting hurt.
Stay tuned for more health and fitness advice from Blitz’d!