Strength training is a crucial part of the regimen for fitness enthusiasts. While strength, endurance, agility, and stamina are necessary to stay fit and in good shape, flexibility is an ignored part of many routines.
Stretching and enhancing flexibility in your body are essential to keep the major joints of your body engaged. It alleviates the intensity of soreness in muscles post-workout and reduces the risk of injury.
If you would like to enhance your training routine, then include these five exercises that can elevate your strength training by improving flexibility.
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Standing Hamstring Stretch
Your rear thigh muscles are an ignored part of your stretching routine, and performing a few exercises to activate them is critical.
Standing hamstring stretches can improve flexibility by stretching your lower back and thigh muscles significantly.
This exercise is useful for athletes or runners who might experience knee pain or lower back pain as it can ease the ache and improve flexibility in the area to reduce the risk of many chronic problems.
Exercise is also useful while bodybuilding to elevate mobility. Keeping up with stretching exercises along with utilizing anti-estrogen supplements such as Arimidex will keep the side effects of steroids in check.
- Keep your right heel over a chair or any other elevated surface at least two feet tall and keep your left foot on the floor.
- Bend your right knee and lean forward to maintain balance while keeping your back completely straight.
- Let your hamstrings stretch for at least 20 seconds before you relax.
- Repeat three times and switch and perform the exercise with your left leg.
Alternatively, you can do a standing hamstring stretch without an elevated surface.
Instead of placing your left leg on a platform, place it a few inches in front of your right foot and lift your left toes.
Bend your right knee while pulling your abdomen inwards and lean forward from your hips to stretch your hamstrings.
A fire hydrant is an effective bodyweight exercise that does not require any equipment.
There are several variations to the exercise, and the main purpose of it is to strengthen your glutes and legs and reduce the risk of a lower back injury.
Performing fire hydrant with weights can offer amazing strength training and improve flexibility in the hip region.
- Get on your four limbs, and place your hands shoulder-width apart and your hips right above your abdomen.
- Tighten your core and look down.
- Lift your left leg and place it at a 45-degree angle away from your body.
- Maintain a 90-degree angle at your knee and remain in the position for two seconds.
- Return to the starting position to relax.
- Perform three sets of 10 reps each on each leg.
Tip: Try not to shift your weight on the other side. Keep your core and pelvis stable and move only the lifted leg to activate your glutes properly.
Point the fingers of the lifted leg towards the opposite wall to encourage a full hip rotation.
You can start using ankle weights once you master this exercise to challenge your glutes and legs. Fire hydrant kicks are also beneficial to improve flexibility and strength.
- When you lift your leg, try to straighten and extend your leg and hold the position for two seconds.
- Bring your knee to a 90-degree position before you return to your original position to relax.
The Thoracic bridge exercise is crucial for strengthening the region between the neck and the abdomen, especially the spine to improve flexibility and mobility in the region.
It does not require any special equipment but can be a challenging choice of exercise for beginners.
Bridges are highly effective to improve performance and stimulate the functioning of abdominal organs. It relaxes stiffness in the back and relieves lower back pain.
- Start on your hands and knees. Place your hands below your shoulders and knees under your hips.
- Slowly lift on to your hands and balls of your feet.
- Move your left leg under your body and lift your right hand. Make sure to place your left foot flat on the surface.
- Flex and rotate your hips towards the ceiling and shift your pressure to your glutes to extend your hips as much as possible.
- After raising your hip, take your right hand towards the ground while rotating your chest to face the floor.
- Try to reach your right hand as much as possible towards the ground while maintaining the rest of your body to open towards the ceiling.
- Hold in the position for 10 seconds.
- Relax your hip and drop them from the position you were holding. Place your foot back and bring your hands back to the ground.
The goblet squats are the best form of workout to engage all the major muscle groups of your lower body. It strengthens the core and engages your entire body to improve strength and mobility.
Holding the kettlebell on the front side of your body also engages the quadriceps and strengthens it.
Unlike many other squats, the goblet squat particularly improves your form and eliminates the causes of common mistakes that increase the chances of injuries.
You will only need a kettlebell or dumbbell to perform the exercise.
- Stand with your feet placed slightly wider than your hip-distance and your toes facing outward.
- Pick up the kettlebell and hold it using both hands in front of your chest. Try to place both hands on either side of the handles and bend at your elbows to align the goblet with the center of your chest.
- Look straight and make sure your back is straight throughout the squat to perform it with the proper technique.
- While engaging your cores, slowly press your hips back and start bending your keens to reach the squat position.
- Remember to inhale while you move downwards. The kettlebell or dumbbell should be close to your body throughout the exercise.
- Bring your hips parallel to your knee and retain the position for about 2 seconds.
- Press through your heels and return to the first position to relax. Exhale while you rise and engage your glutes and core to complete the squat.
- Perform three sets of 10 reps.
Tip: Use small weights initially to get the right form and technique to perform the goblet squat. You can try deep goblet squats where you go all the way down once you perfect the technique.
Seated Torso Twist
The Seated Torso twist strengthens your glute and works your abdomen to improve mobility and flexibility near your hip and spine area.
- Sit and hold the medicine ball at chest level. Bend your knees and lean back to engage your core and lift your feet off the floor.
- Remember to keep the torso straight at all points and shift the pressure to your abs.
- Rotate your chest towards the right and touch the medicine ball to the floor close to your hip.
- Come back to the position in the center and rotate towards the left and repeat the same.
Tip: Beginners may find it difficult to balance with their feet up. In that case, you can place your feet on the floor and simply rotate your torso to work your core and hips.
Include these exercises in your regimen to achieve strength and flexibility in various parts of your body.
Remember to follow the right technique to perform each of these exercises as they are strengthening moves and could cause injuries if performed with poor technique.