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Stretches for gym enthusiasts

Relax your muscles after workouts by following physiotherapist Charissa Fermelis' list of stretches.

Woman practicing pilates on a yoga mat

  1. Lying Hip Rotation
  2. Bridge
  3. Pendulum
  4. Sky Squat Reach
  5. Extended Side Angle
  6. Squatting Internal Rotation
  7. Revolved Crescent Lunge
  8. Candle


1. Lying Hip Rotation

Woman doing lying hip rotation stretch

  • A simple and effective method of mobilising all the joints in the body from the waist down. Have your feet slightly wider than your hips, and take both legs over to one side. Further the stretch by feeling your knees reach away from you, promoting length along the thigh bones.
  • Use your waistline muscles to rotate the pelvis and legs to the opposite side, continue rolling from left to right and feel the thigh bones swivelling in the hip sockets.
  • This can also be done with the legs together to focus the rotation to the lower back.

2. Bridge

Woman doing bridge stretch

  • A modification of the backbend, this move focuses on lower body strength. Leave your arms on the floor reaching towards your toes.
  • Press the soles of the feet firmly into the floor and push the pelvis up off the floor with the tailbone chasing the pubic bone. You will feel a stretch down the back of the neck and strong activity in the back of the legs.
  • Press your arms firmly back into the floor and interlace your fingers underneath you, which will provide stability for your spine.

3. Pendulum

Stage one of woman doing pendulum stretch

Stage two of woman doing pendulum stretch

Stage three of woman doing pendulum stretch

  • A similar starting position to the lying hip rotation exercise, although the focus is now on abdominal strength and control. Lying on your back with your legs pointed up into the air, gently rock your pelvis from side to side, with your legs tilting from left to right like a pendulum.
  • If you have tight hamstrings and are unable to fully straighten your legs, bend your knees to take the legs to a 90° angle.
  • Focus on the movement being powered and controlled around your waist.

4. Sky Squat Reach

Stage one of woman doing sky squat reach

Stage two of woman doing sky squat reach

  • With your feet slightly wider than your hips, start with your legs turned out by externally rotating them within the hip joint.
  • Bring your hands together in front of you and lower yourself into a deep squat. Aim for perfect symmetry between the legs and elongation throughout the spine. Your sitting bones should be reaching evenly to the floor.
  • Add a chest rotation by reaching one arm towards the ceiling, opening across the chest and twisting through the ribs and waist.

5. Extended Side Angle

Woman doing extended side angle stretch

  • A very similar set up to the hip rotation stretch, except instead of twisting your chest towards the front leg, rotate your chest away, so you have the same hand as foot on the floor in front of you.
  • Aim to sink your pelvis down to the floor, and to have a perfectly vertical alignment from the bottom hand, through your arms up towards the top hand.

6. Squatting Internal Rotation

Stage one of squatting internal rotation stretch

Stage two of squatting internal rotation stretch

  • Start in a similar way to the sky squat reach. Feel centred and evenly balanced in the deep squat.
  • Release one heel from the floor so you’re able to pivot on the ball of the foot, to rotate the whole leg inwards from the hip joint.
  • Try to find a freedom in the hip, knee and ankle that allows the leg to rotate without restriction, moving from one leg to the other.

7. Revolved Crescent Lunge

Stage one of revolved crescent lunge stretch

Stage two of revolved crescent lunge stretch

Stage three of revolved crescent lunge stretch

  • Begin by kneeling with your right leg forward, ensuring your hip, thigh, knee, shin, ankle and foot are pointing straight ahead.
  • Lunge forward to extend the back hip and place the left hand alongside the inner arch of the front foot.
  • Rotating your chest towards your knee, you can reach your free arm up to the ceiling to further rotate the chest and rib cage.

8. Candle

woman doing candle stretch

  • Begin lying on your back with your legs together and your arms reaching straight down to your toes.
  • Press your arms into the floor, raise your legs off the floor and point your toes up to the ceiling, then to the wall behind you. You will need to peel your tailbone and pelvis off the floor and aim to have your legs parallel to the floor. At this point place your hands either side of your lower back for support.
  • From here, begin to extend the toes towards the ceiling to end up in the vertical candlestick.

Stretch out your whole body with the be. Stretching Guide.

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