Herculean Strength

stretching and mobility

How You Should Stretch Your Muscles; How to Improve Mobility in 2022

Stretching and mobility work is overlooked by the majority of gym goers, despite being fundamentally important for injury prevention, strong joints, improved range of motion, and a better posture.

In this article we will go into why you should stretch, how to stretch, and break down each stretch by body part.

There are also a variety of conditions that stretching can alleviate. Those who suffer from lower back problems, for example, can reap various benefits from stretching and mobility work in an effort to live a more pain-free life.

OE Zeus Juice Banner

Athletes SHOULD also employ a stretching and mobility routine into their training for a myriad of reasons relating to their performance.

Aside from the immediate physical benefits to be had from stretching, there are also psychological benefits from this high ROI activity.

If you want to take your athleticism to the next level we recommend you check out this program here.

Why You Should Stretch

stretching and mobility
Why you should stretch

Stretching can be a gamechanger for your self-improvement.

Not only will your lifting numbers increase and your athletic performance soar, but there are also various mental benefits to stretching.

Lifters and athletes alike will enjoy a greater range of mobility which can translate to faster running times, more weight moved, and better striking ability.

Aside from improving mobility, stretching can also catalyze the post-training recovery process, diminish soreness, and prevent tightness from sitting in.

Various conditions such as “butt wink” and pelvic tilt can be addressed by introducing stretching and mobility work into your routine.

People who suffer from lower back pain should include a daily stretching routine to prevent tight hamstrings and/or hip flexors from exacerbating the issue.

Adding some stretching and mobility work on a daily basis can help prevent future conditions such as pelvic tilt, lower back issues, etc., from emerging in later life.

Spinal decompression work can go hand in hand with stretching and mobility work for a long lifting career.

If you want to have a good, strong posture, we advise you to practice a daily stretching routine.

Athletes wishing to take their training to the next level should check out our specialized programs tailor made for contact sports here.

Types of Stretches

8 Upper Body Stretches (Neck and Shoulder Stretches) | Nourish Move Love

When the average person thinks of stretching, he/she may think about basic hamstring stretches before a run or giving the quads a good tug to limber up.

There’s more than one way to stretch.

Isometric/Static

Isometric/static stretching is the most common form of stretching seen at the gym.

Millions of gymgoers can be seen throwing in some halfhearted hamstring stretches or anterior deltoid stretches before taking on their heavy lifting.

Why delay gratification any longer?

Who wants a plain salad as a starter before a juicy ribeye as the main course — the main course being to lift weights.

But, a quick word of caution: you should look to do isometric/static exercises either first thing in the morning, last thing at night, or after training to prevent tightness from settling.

Isometric exercises to loosen yourself up aren’t exactly the best idea before a heavy training session — especially if you are doing them cold — as it can increase your risk of injury.

Dynamic

These exercises can be done as a warmup or to prepare for strenuous exercise.

Many athletes can be seen doing their dynamic drills before a game, a run, or a lift.

Assuming that you already have a solid mobility regimen in place, you should devote some time before each training session to do your dynamic warmup exercises.

Below, we will recommend some exercises to optimize your body before vigorous activity.

Best Stretches You Can Do

For optimal success you should incorporate a mixture of compound and isolated stretching to improve your mobility around your body.

Additionally, you should seek to perform both isometric holds and dynamic stretches to get the most out of your mobility work.

Remember, as part of your warmup, you should choose dynamic stretching over isometric stretching for injury prevention and to get accustomed to the movements you will be performing before strenuous activity.

You may perform isometric holds at other times or as part of your “cool down” following your training session.

Upper Body

We will attempt to segment the entire body by muscle group so that no part of you misses out, starting with your upper body.

Most people neglect upper body drills until they begin to feel tight.

This isn’t the way to go.

You might see some people holding a pec stretch, flail their arms about, or even improperly execute a rotator cuff movement before they start repping out 135 on the bench.

Below we list various exercises that you can do to take your training to the next level.

Pectorals

The chest muscles are the easiest muscles in your upper body to stretch out.

All you need is a door frame and a couple of minutes of your time.

Upper Back/Latissimus Dorsi

Again, all you will need to stretch out your lats is a doorframe and a couple of minutes.

Traps

Rear Deltoid

The Deltoids can be stretched with no equipment or doorway.

Biceps

Another great stretch that doesn’t require much equipment.

Triceps

You only need yourself for this one.

Forearms

You just need a few moments of your time to complete this exercise.

If you want to take your athleticism to the next level we recommend you check out this program here.

Lower Body

Although the upper body tends to be more neglected, the lower body needs more love.

A tight lower body can lead to a whole slew of problems from a bad posture to lower back issues and sciatica.

Poor mobility in your lower body can also lead to a variety of injuries as well as reduced athletic output.

The best athletes enjoy supple joints and a remarkable range of motion.

OE Zeus Juice Banner

Quadriceps

These are one of the most important muscles to be treated. Gait issues, inefficient movement patterns, and injury can occur with tight quads.

Hip Flexor

Tight Hip Flexors are to blame for a host of pains and aches, plus they can attenuate your strength gains in Olympic Lifts, Vertical Leaps, and hinge-pattern movements.

In my personal experiences, as somebody who suffers from lower back issues, hip flexor work can directly contribute towards reducing discomfort in my lower back, in addition to hamstring isometric/static holds.

All you’ll need for this hold is a pillow for your knee.

Hamstring

This is the OG of static stretches. Most people at some point in their lives will suffer from tight hammies.

And did you know that the majority of back pain is caused by tightness in these pesky muscles in the back of your leg?

Tears, pulls, and all sorts of injuries can occur due to tightness. Many an athlete’s career has been blighted by hamstring problems — Lionel Messi and Michael Owen to name a few.

Calves

These little muscles that you cannot grow need to be shown some love too.

Glutes

You use these muscles all the time — so why aren’t you doing anything to limber them up.

If you suffer from pelvic tilt issues, you need to be doing more to ensure your derriere isn’t too tight.

Adductor

You’ve gotta hit this muscles if you want to do the splits.

If you pull sumo or want to squat big you cannot neglect your adductors in training.

Abductor

You rarely see anybody, even seasoned athletes, stretch out their abductors. But here’s how it’s done:

Trunk

If you want to take your athleticism to the next level we recommend you check out this program here.

Dynamic Drills

You should choose to program these drills before your workouts or on an active rest day.

Banded Good Mornings

The Banded Good Morning is another one of those exercises you might see newcomers or casual lifters doing.

Some of you may not be able to do Romanian Deadlifts or Reverse Hyperextensions.

This is where Banded Good Mornings can come in handy as either a replacement or a warm-up.

By working the same muscles as a Romanian Deadlift or Reverse Hyperextension, you will begin to strengthen muscles that support your posture.

But this exercise can help you, a serious lifter, make significant gains.

The Banded Good Morning can help with improving hamstring and hip mobility, activate your Central Nervous System (CNS), forge mind-muscle connection in your posterior chain, help you unround your lower back, and warm you up before a strenuous set of Squats or Deadlifts.

I, personally, much prefer this exercise as a warm-up before taking on some heavy lower body exercise due to the aforementioned benefits.

Some lifters struggle with activating their glutes; the Banded Good Morning can assist with promoting gluteal activation and teaching an up-and-coming lifter proper hinge pattern movements.

Like with Band Pull Aparts, these can be done every day and are low impact.

Dead Hangs

Ok, so these technically aren’t a dynamic drill, but they’re more taxing than static holds and should be done either every day or before a lifting session.

This exercise is fantastic for improving your posture.

It unrounds your shoulders, stretches your pecs and anterior deltoids, as well as decompresses your spine.

The dead hang is a simple classic — literally just hold onto a pullup bar and hang.

You don’t need to be a proficient callisthenics bro to do a dead hang. Heck, if you can’t even do a pullup, get some straps and hang!

The dead hang is a nice, simple, easy addition to your pre-workout routine or as you warm up.

We know that stretching can be very tedious to do. Exerting your energy on a lengthy stretching routine before training is fairly boring, but dead hangs can stretch most of your upper body.

If you don’t stretch — which you should — you should at least attempt a minute of dead hangs, spread out over as many sets as necessary, before starting your workout.

With the exception of your triceps and anterior deltoids, hanging on a bar can loosen you up before taking on an epic workout.

If you’re not religiously bulletproofing your shoulders through a targeted workout regimen, adding dead hangs can help you avoid injuries.

Athletes who throw — like baseball pitchers, quarterbacks, and cricket bowlers — or strike — such as boxers and martial artists — should consider dead hangs before dynamic activity in addition to their pre-existing warm-up routine.

Not only will it help protect the joint from injury, but also enable you to throw or strike with more venom.

Banded Crab Walks

Again, this is another exercise you might see casuals and newbies perform, but is perhaps one of the better warm-up and dynamic mobility exercises out there.

By tying the resistance band just above your knees, walk from side to side with an emphasis on activating your glutes and abductors.

Powerlifters and strength athletes could benefit enormously from this warm-up exercise as it aids with hip mobility, CNS activation, and inducing blood flow to muscles that will soon be used in working sets.

Sumo deadlifters and squatters have the most to gain from this easy dynamic Resistance Band exercise as it mimics the starting positions of each movements.

Unlike the Banded Good Morning, we recommend to use this exercise as a warm up for heavy lifting or sports.

Duck Walks

This exercise requires a fair bit of balance to pull off, but it can work some very neglected muscles as well as prepare you for exercise.

Athletes can benefit greatly from sprinkling Duck Walks into their programs.

Duck Walks help to strengthen the muscles around the shins/ankles, improve ankle mobility (which is crucial for squatting, deadlifting, and running), relieves tension from the quads, hammies, and groin, and it looks gnarly.

Romanian Deadlift

We have written at length about the Romanian Deadlift. This is the best exercise to help you correct a bad posture, increase sprint speed, correct imbalances, strengthen your posterior chain, prevent injury and more.

No serious athlete’s program would be complete without the addition of Romanian Deadlifts.

Moreover, it helps stretch out your hamstrings.

For the purpose of this specific movement, you should include it as a warm up before heavy deadlifts or squats simply due to its ability to mimic

Deep Squat Hold

Again, it’s not technically a dynamic movement, but it should be performed before a heavy squatting session or running.

No isometric hold can improve your overall athleticism as much as a Deep Squat Hold.

Squat Hold Resting Position to Relieve Muscle Pain and Tightness

Athletes have the most to gain from doing deep squats as they can improve their sprinting speed, agility, and jumping ability.

Before each lower body session, to squat to the best of your ability, you should hold a deep squat for 20-30 seconds or until you feel fully loosened up.

There’s no need to add weight to the bar and increase spinal loading — especially when your lower back could be rounded, therefore compromised, through what’s called “buttwink”.

And not only will it help with athletic movements, but it will also improve mobility. Decent mobility can go a long way to prevent injuries from arising along with improving the quality of your squat.

Not only does the deep squat hold help improve hip mobility, while stretching your quads, calves, and glutes, but it also improves ankle mobility, which again, can go a long way to help you avoid injuries.

Being able to squat more fluidly will also enable you to load up the bar with more weight as your technique improves.

So, what are you waiting for?

Like with dead hangs, we recommend holding the deep squat for a minute over as many sets as you need.

Cat Camel

This exercise helped me get back on my feet when I was first diagnosed with stenosis. Although it’s not a traditional exercise you’d expect to see in this kind of list, it helped me enormously.

We also believe in optimal spinal health instead of acting irresponsibly in your youth — only to pay for it later on down the line.

Lower back

Since the lumbar spine is a sensitive area that is often subject to discomfort and even career-ending injury, you should take extra special care in prehabbing the area.

There are many movements you can incorporate into your daily routine to avoid pain or tightness from flaring up or exercises you can perform whenever you suffer from stiffness.

Simple pre-workout/exercise dynamic drills

There are various dynamic drills you can use before exercising or sport to help you take your performance higher.

As demonstrated below, you can pick and choose movements that work best for you.

Don’t hesitate to email us at herculeanstrength1@gmail.com for personalized coaching and a client questionnaire if you’d like DEDICATED tailor-made personal training on strength training, building muscle, losing fat, developing athleticism, and more — all to your liking, lifestyle, habits, and taste!

Otherwise, don’t forget to claim your FREE eBook detailing how to lose 20lb of fat while building muscle in 12 weeks! You can claim it here.

Alternatively, you can pick up a FREE eBook on fundamental strength principles offering an introductory workout program.

Translate »