So often we just stretch
and we never activate those underactive muscles.
And then we don’t fully see the full benefits of that stretching
because we’re not changing our recruitment pattern.
Hey, guys! It’s Cori from Redefining Strength.
And today I want to share with you 7 stretches
you can do daily to loosen up from head to toe.
Because if we have mobility restrictions,
even say at our feet and ankles
that can lead to shoulder issues
that we might not even realize are connected.
So what are the 7 stretches you can do daily to loosen up?
Stretch #1 is the Foot Stretch to Bear Squat.
Our feet are our foundation.
And issues of immobility there
can lead to aches and pains higher up our body.
That hip pain we might be having now
may be connected to an ankle injury that we had even 10 years ago
that we didn’t really rehab correctly.
So not only is a key that we actually address aches and pains when they occur,
but it’s the key that we are constantly doing that mobility work
to make sure that they don’t add up to other aches and pains in other areas of our body.
The Foot Stretch to Bear Squat
is one of my favorite mobility drills,
to improve your foot flexibility and your ankle mobility.
It’s a great move to do not only throughout the day,
but even as part of your warm-up before you squat,
because limited ankle mobility can hinder our squat depth.
So if you ever wanted to squat deeper,
it might be that you need to actually work on your ankle mobility.
It’s best to do this stretch without your shoes on.
That way you can fully sit back
and actually stretch out the fascia underneath your feet.
If you struggle to sit back on your heels,
you can do this standing as well.
After sitting back towards your heels to stretch out the bottom of your foot,
you might even find that your big toe feels locked up.
Hold here for a little bit and even gently rock side to side.
Then you are gonna put your hands down in front of your knees
and push your heels down towards the ground,
to really stretch out your calves and mobilize your ankles.
This move is working on your ankle dorsiflexion,
to your ability to draw your toes up towards your shin.
This is really key if you do want to squat deeper or even improve your running gait.
Remember our feet are our foundation,
so immobility there can affect our movement patterns all the way up our body.
So make sure you’re including this move daily,
and even as part of your warm-up before your runs or your lifts.
Stretch #2 is the Half Kneeling Groin and Ankle Stretch.
Again we are going to address ankle mobility with this movement.
This move is not only great to do to improve your ankle mobility
but also address adductor tightness.
Adductors can become tight because we spend so much time seated at our desk.
They are also hip flexor.
So if you’ve ever had knee pain, hip pain, lower back pain,
if you want to address anterior pelvic tilt,
because you might have excessive arch to your lower back,
you need to address adductor tightness.
So you wanna stretch at your inner thighs.
If you’re a runner and you’ve ever suffered from IT band issues as well,
this is a key move to include before your runs.
To do this exercise, you’re gonna kneel on the ground.
The great part about the stretch is
you are actually going to also activate your glutes as you do it.
The further out you set your foot from your knee on the ground,
the more you’re going to really work on stretching your adductors.
The closer you put your foot to your other knee,
the more you can really work on that ankle mobility.
Make sure you are really using your glute to drive the stretch
and also engage in the glute of the knee that’s up.
That’s gonna help you engage that glute max and really strengthen your glutes
as you stretch to improve your hip mobility and stability.
If you have knee pain, you might want to put your foot
a little bit further out from your knee on the ground,
because that way you’re not driving your knee over your toes as much.
It’s really key though that
we address adductor or inner thigh tightness,
because it can restrict our hip mobility and leads that knee valgus,
which can lead to knee overload
and many knee aches and pains.
Stretch No.3 is the Figure 4 Kickbacks.
If you want to improve your hip mobility and stability,
you got to make sure that you’re also activating your glutes,
as you stretch your hips through a full range of motion.
This 90-90 stretch will not only activate your glutes
but really stretch out tight hip flexors.
You are gonna put both of your knees bent to 90 degrees.
One leg is gonna be in front.
You are gonna want to think about slightly hinging forward
to stretch out your hips more
keeping your belly button over that front leg.
You then are gonna place your hands down on the ground.
You lift that back leg up to hover off the ground.
It’s really tempting to lean in a way and sort of cheat
and try get more range of motion and lift that like higher.
But you want to focus on only lifting the leg
as high as you can actually control with that glute.
You’ll then hold the leg up to engage the glute medius.
You’ll then slightly drive that heel back
to engage your gluteus maximus.
This is a great way to really improve that hip stability,
because you’re activating that underactive muscle as you’re stretching.
So often we just stretch and
we never activate those underactive muscles.
And then we don’t fully see the full benefits of that stretching,
because we are not changing our recruitment patterns.
It’s the key we loosen those tight muscles
and then get those underactive muscles working.
Stretch No.4 is the Active Star Stretch.
I love the Star Stretch to start working on our spinal mobility
and even stretch out our glutes.
If you’ve ever had piriformis issues,
this is a must-do move.
The one thing with the basic Star Stretch is that
a lot times we’re not just rotating through our spine,
we are sort of cheating and letting our knee come open,
and we’re not holding it still to work on that spinal mobility.
By using the roller with the stretch,
we can make sure that we are really stretching our glutes,
and actually twisting through our spine.
We want to make sure that when we’re doing stretches,
we’re getting the full benefit from them,
and actually targeting the areas we wanna work.
By holding your knee on the roller,
you’re really gonna focus that spinal mobility.
And then nice dynamic movement
will help you relax more into the stretch.
Make sure you really breathe as you open up.
This is a great way to work on that thoracic mobility
and even open up your chest if you spend a lot of time seated at your computer.
Just make sure to hold the knee on the roller
and not allow it to sort of open up,
because you want to focus on that twisting motion through your spine.
You’ll also feel that upper-glute area stretching,
because you’re gonna be targeting that piriformis with the stretch.
Stretch #5 is the Snow Angel.
It’s really important that we address shoulder aches and pains
by working on our shoulder mobility and stability.
Because if we don’t address shoulder mobility issues,
we can end up with not only neck and shoulder and upper back aches and pains,
but even elbow issues.
A lot of times that elbow tendinitis that we’ve suffered from
that keeps on coming back
is due to shoulder mobility restrictions.
So if we spend a lot of time seated at our computer,
it’s really key that we open up our shoulders
and we make sure that we work on a full range of motion and stability
through that full shoulder movement.
The Snow Angel is not only a great stretch,
but also a great activation move.
It will also work on your thoracic extension.
You’re going to lie face down on the ground
and move your shoulders through internal and external rotation,
taking your hand from behind your head to behind your back.
As you do this, make sure you keep your chest slightly lifted from the ground.
You don’t wanna arch your lower back,
so if you find that you do, you can also do this standing facing a wall.
But this is a great way to strengthen your rotator cuff
and improve your shoulder stability, as well as your shoulder mobility.
It’s always key that we strengthen through a range of motion
if we want to maintain that range of motion.
So again, while we wanna stretch, we wanna make sure that
we are activating those underactive muscles and strengthening them,
so that we keep the range of motion we are working hard for.
Stretch No.6 is the Wrist Extension.
It’s the key that we work on our wrist mobility
if we want to keep our elbows, shoulders and upper back and neck healthy.
Our wrist and hands are our foundation
during moves like the push-up and the plank.
If you’ve ever felt pain during those movements,
it might be because you lack wrist extension.
We spend so much time typing
that our fingers and wrist are constantly flexed.
When we then go do push ups, we’re then demanding a lot of wrist extension,
and that can be hard on our wrists.
Often we blame it on a lack of wrist strength,
when it’s actually immobility that’s causing the aches and pains.
So it’s key that we work on our wrist extension
if we then wanna go do these movements without leading to wrist,
elbow or even shoulder aches and pains.
Improving your wrist extension
is not only key if you’re doing a ton of push-ups and planks.
It’s also key that you do this stretch
if you’re doing a ton of pull-ups, or even barbell or dumbbell work.
With the constant gripping,
we were constantly overusing those flexors.
And then they can become tight and lead to not only wrist but also elbow pain.
So if you’ve had elbow pain with say, pull-ups,
you wanna include this stretch in your routine.
To do the stretch, you can do it standing by using your other hand.
You can simply pull back on your fingers as you extend your arm out in front.
You can also do both sides at once by kneeling on the ground.
Just make sure that you’re easing into the stretch
and not forcing anything.
You want to breathe into it and really focus on that wrist extension.
We want to make sure that we’re working on our wrist mobility though,
and not ignoring this area, even if we don’t have aches and pains right there.
Because we have to remember that our wrists and our hands
are our foundation during movements like the pull-up and the push-up,
when we’re gripping something or pushing off the ground.
And if we don’t have proper mobility there,
that can lead to those aches and pains all the way up our kinetic chain,
and even impact the activation of our upper body during those movements.
Stretch No.7 is the 3-Way Neck Stretch.
If you’ve ever had tension headaches or neck and shoulder pain,
this is a must-do move.
And the great part is you can do it when you are seated right at your desk.
This stretches out some of those commonly overactive muscles,
like neck muscles, and even our upper trapezius.
The 3-Way Neck Stretch is great,
because it addresses three commonly overactive muscles.
The upper trapezius, levator scapula and sternocleidomastoid.
These can lead to not only jaw aches and pains,
but even tension headaches and shoulder issues.
So it’s really key that we loosen these muscles up
especially when we are spending so much time hunched over a computer.
This stretch is great because you can literally do it seated at your desk.
You’re going to pull your hand behind your back,
which will also work on your shoulder internal rotation.
You’ll then lean your head away.
You’ll look up towards the ceiling, and then even down towards your armpit.
You wanna hold and breathe
and make sure you’re not shrugging your shoulders as you do the stretch.
You don’t want to pull too hard,
and you want to make sure that you’re actually keep your shoulders down,
as you look up and down.
It’s been a little time on one side,
and then switch looking up and down again.
Make sure you, that you actually look all three directions,
if you wanna address all three muscles.
Using these seven stretches daily,
you can help loosen up from head to toe.
Make sure to check the video description for a great series to do with them.
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So often we just stretch