Flexibility Exercises

Stretching Exercises for Flexibility

Improve your flexibility with these 12 exercises. Formatted for printing, print each exercise and write your progress on the back of the page.

Exercise List

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Neck Stretch Side Stretch Diagonal Neck Stretch Executive Stretch
Foot Rotation Hand Shake Hand Massage Wrist Stretch
Shoulder Shrug Shoulder Stretch Neck & Shoulder Stretch Bridge Pose – Neck Alignment
Chest Upper Back Back of Upper Arms Calf
Back of Thighs Back of Thighs Front of Thighs Front of Thighs
Outer Thighs Inner Thighs Inner Thighs Lower Back
Lower Back Lower Back Torso

 

Flexibility Exercise - Neck Stretch 


Instructions

  1. Tilt head to one side (ear towards shoulder).
  2. Hold for 15 seconds.
  3. Relax.
  4. Repeat 3 times on each side.

What it does:  Stretches neck muscles.

How to do it: Sitting on the edge of a chair (sit tall), drop your left ear toward your left shoulder until you feel the stretch. Hold for 15 seconds and return to the center. Repeat with your right ear towards the right.

Tip: Be sure to sit tall.

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Flexibility Exercise - Side Stretch


Instructions

  1. Clasp hands behind your head.
  2. Keeping your spine straight, bend to the left as far as you can comfortably bend.
  3. Hold for 15 seconds.
  4. Repeat 3 times on each side.

What it does:  Stretches torso muscles and allows your lungs to expand.

How to do it: Stand tall and clasp hands behind your head. Hold for 15 seconds and return to the center. Repeat with your right side. Do this 3 times.

TIP: Be sure you are standing tall.

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Flexibility Exercise - Diagonal Neck Stretch


Instructions

  1. Turn head slightly and then look down as if looking in your pocket.
  2. Hold for 15 seconds.
  3. Relax.
  4. Repeat 3 times on each side.

What it does:  Stretches neck muscles.

How to do it: Sitting on the edge of a chair (sit tall), turn your head to the left and drop your left ear down until you feel the stretch. Hold for 15 seconds and return to the center. Repeat with your right ear towards the right.

Tip: Be sure to sit tall.

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Flexibility Exercise - Executive Stretch


Instructions

  1. While sitting, lock hands behind head.
  2. Bring elbows back as far as possible.
  3. Inhale deeply while leaning back and stretching.
  4. Hold for 20 seconds.
  5. Exhale and relax.
  6. Repeat 1 time.

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Flexibility Exercise - Foot Rotation


Instructions

  1. While sitting, slowly rotate each foot from the ankle.
  2. Rotate 3 times in one direction, then 3 times in the opposite direction.
  3. Relax.
  4. Repeat 1 time.

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Flexibility Exercise - Hand Shake


Instructions

  1. While sitting, drop arms to the side.
  2. Shake hands downward gently.
  3. Repeat frequently.

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Flexibility Exercise - Hand Massage


Instructions

  1. Gently massage the inside and outside of the hand using the thumb and fingers.
  2. Repeat frequently (including before beginning work).

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Flexibility Exercise - Wrist Stretch


Instructions

  1. Hold arm straight out in front of you.
  2. Pull the hand backwards with the other hand, then pull downward.
  3. Hold for 20 seconds.
  4. Relax.
  5. Repeat 3 times each.

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Flexibility Exercise - Shoulder Shrug


Instructions

  1. Slowly bring shoulders up to the ears and hold for approximately 3 seconds.
  2. Rotate shoulders back and down.
  3. Repeat 10 times.

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Flexibility Exercise - Shoulder Stretch


Instructions

What it does:  Stretches the back of your shoulders which can get compressed by the weight of your head.

How to do it: Tighten your abs, sit tall and extend your right arm, palm down – straight out at shoulder height. Now take your left hand at your left elbow and bring the right arm in close to your chest.

Hold for 5 breaths, relax and switch arms. Stretch each side 3 times.

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Flexibility Exercise - Shoulder & Neck Stretch


Instructions

What it does:  Stretches neck and shoulder muscles.

How to do it: Stand tall with your core tight. Hold a strap or stretch band in your left hand with palm toward you and elbow bent. Reach down your back as far as you can.

Take your right hand with an outward palm and bending your elbow, grab the strap as far up your back as you can.

Do this for 5 breaths, relax and switch hands.

Tip: Be sure to picture your belly button toward your spine and stand tall.

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Flexibility Exercise - Easy Bridge


Instructions

  1. To a count of 3 reach your arms over your head and lift your hips off the floor. Head, shoulders, arms and feet remain on the floor.
  2. Keep your bottom soft and core tight and hold for a count of 3.
  3. Lower your arms and slowly roll your spine back to the floor.
  4. Repeat 5 times.

How to do it: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat. Your feet should be about 12 inches from your hips.

Tip: For a tight core, picture your belly button getting closer to your spine and breathe normally.

What it does:  Restores back curve and stretches neck alignment.

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Chest Stretch


Chest StretchStanding Shoulder Squeeze

  • Standing, clasp your hands behind your lower back.
  • Straighten and extend your arms and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  • Do this for 3 seconds, and then release.
  • Repeat 5 to 10 times.

What it does:  Stretches your chest and shoulders.

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Upper Back Stretch


Upper Back StretchUpper Back

  • Stand straight with your feet shoulder width apart.
  • Clasp your hands together with the thumbs pointing down.
  • Straighten your arms and round your shoulders as you reach forward.
  • Hold the stretch for 10 – 30 seconds.

What it doesStretches your upper back, shoulders and middle back.

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Back of Upper Arms


Upper Arm StretchTricep Stretch

  • Stand tall with feet hip-width apart, arms extended overhead.
  • Bend your right elbow and reach your right hand to touch the top middle of your back.
  • Reach your left hand overhead and grasp just below your right elbow.
  • Gently pull your right elbow down and toward your head.
  • Switch arms and repeat.

What it doesStretches your neck, shoulders, back, and triceps (back of arms).

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Calf Stretch

Calf StretchUpper Calf Stretch

  • Stand with your hands against the wall. Keep your back leg straight.
  • Push heels down and slowly lean forward until you feel a stretch in the back of the calf.
  • Repeat with both legs 2-3 times.

What it doesStretches upper calf.

Lower Calf Stretch

  • Standing with your hands against the wall. Keep your back leg straight.
  • Bend knees of both legs.
  • Push heels down and slowly lean forward until stretch is felt in the back of the calf.
  • Repeat with both legs 2-3 times.

What it doesStretches lower calf.

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Back of Thigh Stretch


Back of Thighs StretchLying Hamstring Stretch

  • Lying on your back, slowly bring your knee towards chest.
  • Gently extend leg with knee slightly bent and hold when in a comfortable stretch.
  • Repeat with both legs 2-3 times

What it doesStretches your Hamstrings.

 

Sitting Hamstring

  • While sitting, bend left knee and extend right leg with knee slightly bent.
  • Bend at the waist towards your left foot.
  • Hold your lower leg for support.
  • Repeat with both legs 2-3 times.

What it doesStretches your Hamstrings.

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Back of Thighs Stretch


Standing Hamstring Stretch Back of Thighs - Standing Stretch

  • Standing with your left leg in front of you (can place your foot on a stair step).
  • Bend right knee.
  • Lean forward placing hands on bent leg.
  • Keep back straight and hold. Repeat with both legs 2-3 times.

What it does: Stretches your hamstrings.

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Front of Thigh Stretch


Standing Quad Stretch

Front of Thighs - Standing Stretch

  • Stand with your feet together.
  • Bend your left knee and use your left hand to pull your left foot toward your glutes. Keep your knees together.
  • If you need to, put one hand on a wall for balance.
  • Squeeze your glutes to increase the stretch in the front of your legs.
  • Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
  • Repeat on the other leg.

What it doesStretches your quads.

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Front of Thigh Stretch


Front of Thigh Stretch

Stretch Front of Thighs - Lying

  • Lying on your stomach, bend your right knee to it’s limit.
  • Grab your foot (right) with your right hand.
  • Gently pull your foot towards your glutes (bottom) so that you feel a slight stretch on the front of your thigh.
  • Hold for a count of 6, then relax.
  • Repeat 3-10 times.

Note: Avoid pain. Do NOT stretch so far that you feel pain. This should be done gently.

What it doesStretches your quads.

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Outer Thigh Stretch


Outer Thigh StretchFigure Four Stretch

  • Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor.
  • Cross your left foot over your right quad.
  • Lift your right leg off the floor. Grab onto the back of your right leg and gently pull it toward your chest.
  • When you feel a comfortable stretch, hold there.
  • Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
  • Switch sides and repeat.

What it doesStretches your hips, glutes, lower back, and hamstrings.

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Inner Thigh Stretch


Adductor StretchInner Thigh Stretch

  • Stand upright with your legs shoulder width apart.
  • Slowly lean to your right while bending your right knee until you feel a slight stretch in your inner thigh.
  • Keep your left leg straight.
  • Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Return to the starting position.
  • Repeat 5 more times.
  • Switch legs, leaning to your left.

What it doesStretches your inner thighs (hip adductors), hips, and groin

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Inner Thigh Stretch


Inner Thigh - Reclining Bound Angle PoseReclining Bound Angle Pose

  • Lie on your back.
  • Bring the soles of your feet together and allow your knees to open up and move closer to the floor.
  • Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

What it doesStretches your inner thighs, hips, and groin.

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Lower Back Stretch


Lower Back StretchLower Back Twist

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Extend your arms out to the side in a “T” position.
  • Keep your shoulders on the ground as you gently roll both knees to one side. Do this motion slowly.
  • Keep in place for 20 to 30 seconds, then return to the starting position.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Note(s): If the stretch is too much for you, place a pillow or stack of blankets under your knees when you twist to each side.

This is a variation from the picture, which shows both arms stretching in the opposite direction of your knees.

What it does Stretches your lower back and glutes.

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Lower Back Stretch


Knees to Chest StretchKnees to Chest

  • Lie on your back and pull your knees into your chest with both hands.
  • Keep your lower back on the floor.
  • Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

What it does:  Stretches your lower back and glutes.

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Lower Back Stretch


Knee to Chest StretchKnee to Chest

  • Lie on your back with both legs extended.
  • Pull your right knee into your chest, while keeping the left leg straight and your lower back pressed into the floor.
  • Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
  • Repeat on the other leg.

What it doesStretches your lower back, hips, and hamstrings.

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Torso Stretch


 

Hip Abductors

Torso Stretch

  • Cross your right leg over your left leg.
  • Look over your right shoulder while turning your trunk and pushing back on knee with left elbow.
  • Repeat with both sides 2-3 times.

What it doesStretches hip abductors.

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