Skip to content

Stretches

Stretching Video Library


Neck Stretches

Compliments of Kurt Witmer, personal trainer (Email: info@witmertraining.com)
Read More>>>

With all the sitting and computer work that we do, the neck tends to get stiff and you may even begin to experience headaches. Try these stretches to help relieve that sore neck.

As with any stretching you must make sure that the stretch is gentle, and to hold for up to 30 seconds. Really pay attention to your breathing; nice deep belly breathes, and try to breathe into the stretch. A stretch should never feel painful. Repeat 2-3 times per day.

Neck Stretches

chin to chest (posterior cervicals)

First try to touch your chin to your chest. From there you can interlock your hands behind your head and gently pull down to apply a greater stretch. Hold 30 seconds, repeat 2-3 times per day.


Neck Stretches

ear to shoulder (upper trapezius)

Sit upright in a chair, preferably one with no arms. Gently tilt your head to the side, and try to touch your ear to your shoulder. Leave the opposite arm hanging straight down. To increase the intensity of the stretch you can use the arm that’s on the same side as the tilt and help gently pull your head down closer to your shoulder. You should feel a nice stretch coming up from the shoulder and ending at the skull. Hold 30 seconds, repeat 2-3 times per day.


Neck Stretches

chin to armpit (levator scapula)

This stretch is similar to the ear to shoulder stretch, the difference is the way you tilt your head. Tilt your head like your trying to sniff your armpit. Use the arm on that side to help gently add pressure to increase the intensity of the stretch. This stretches the muscles that run right into the base of your skull. Hold 30 seconds, repeat 2-3 times per day.

Information in these articles was provided by Kurt Witmer, RHN, C.H.E.K Exercise Coach, CPT. To consult Kurt for a custom personal training program email: info@witmertraining.com


Low Back & Buttock Stretches

Compliments of Amanda Graham, BA (kinesiology) (Email: balancedlifeandfitness@gmail.com)
Read More>>>

Many daily activities often result in tight back muscles. Over time this can cause significant back pain and increase your risk for back injury. Complete the following stretches to help prevent back pain or assist in reducing present back aches.

Safe stretching tips:

  • Never stretch beyond a point that you cannot breathe comfortably.
  • Continue breathing throughout the stretch. Complete a deep, slow inhale followed by a deep, slow exhale.
  • Do not bounce.
  • Focus on pain free stretching. If you have any sort of abnormal pain, you need to consult Dr. Grant Cummings, Amanda Graham or Kurt Witmer.
Side Bends

Side Bends

Low Back-Side Bend Stretch (Quadratus Lumborum)

Stand with your feet approximately shoulder width apart. Raise your right arm straight up and lean to your left side. Keep your torso in line with your lower body. Do not lean forward. Be sure to continue breathing and only bend to a natural tilt. (If you cannot breathe comfortably, you are stretching too far). Hold 30 seconds. Repeat other side. Complete 2-3 times per day.


Twists Laying Down

Twists Laying Down

Low back – Twists Laying Down (Lumbar paraspinals)

Lay on your back with your legs straight. Pull your right knee in towards your chest and gently twist to your knee to your left side. Use your left hand to gently bring your right knee closer to the ground. Take your right arm straight out to the side and turn your neck to look at your right hand. Your left leg should remain straight. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat other side. Complete 2-3 times per day.


Twists Siting

Twists Siting

Low back – Twists Sitting (Lumbar paraspinals)

Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Bend your right knee and cross your right foot over your left leg allowing the sole of the foot to rest flat on the floor. Twist your torso towards the bent knee. Hook your left arm around your right knee and use your arm to gently push on the knee creating a greater stretch. Hold 30 seconds. Repeat other side. Hold for 30 seconds. Complete 2-3 times per day.


Cat Stretch

Cat Stretch

Low back – Cat Stretch

Position yourself in a 4 point kneel with hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Start with a flat back and begin by rounding your spine toward the ceiling and tucking your tailbone under while dropping your head down. Exhale as you round your spine forming a “c” shape. Hold for 10 seconds and inhale return to neutral position (flat back). Repeat 5 more times. Complete 2-3 times a day.


Child's Pose

Child’s Pose

Low back/Upper Back-Child’s Pose

Kneel and sit on your feet with your knees slighter wider than your hips. Bend at the hips as you bring your upper body forward and reach your arms forward. Allow your chest and forehead to fall towards the floor. Keep your shoulders relaxed and away from your ears. Hold for 30 seconds-1 minute. Repeat 2-3 times a day. This stretch not only releases strain throughout your back but also your knees, ankles and hips.


Knee to Chest

Knee to Chest

Buttock – Knee to Chest (Gluteus Maximus)

Lie on your back with knees bent and feet close to the buttocks. Bring your right knee to your chest. Keep your left foot flat on the floor, or for a greater stretch, straighten your left leg. Hold for 30 seconds. Relax, lower foot to the ground and switch legs. If that stretch feels ok, bring your knee across your chest towards the opposite shoulder. Hold 30 seconds. Complete 2-3 times a day.


Buttocks - Seated

Buttocks – Seated

Buttock – Seated (Piriformis)

Sit in a chair. Place your right ankle on your left thigh. Use your right hand to gently press down against your right thigh to open your hip. You can intensify this stretch by folding forward at your waist, bringing your chest towards your left thigh. Be sure to keep both butt cheeks evenly on the chair. (You may be tempted to lean onto one side.) Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on other leg. Complete 2-3 times a day.


Buttocks - Laying Down

Buttocks – Laying Down

Buttock – Laying Down (Piriformis)

Lie on your back with your knees bent. Cross your right ankle onto your left thigh. Grasp your hands underneath your left thigh and pull your left leg in towards your chest. You should feel the stretch on the outside of your RIGHT leg. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on other leg. Complete 2-3 times a day.At anytime if any of these stretches do not feel right, you need to stop doing them. You know your body best! Please consult Amanda Graham @ balancedlifeandfitness@gmail.com for a customized stretching or fitness program.


LOWER BODY STRETCHES

Compliments of Amanda Graham, BA (kinesiology) (Email: balancedlifeandfitness@gmail.com)
Website: www.balancedlifeandfitness.ca
Read More>>>

As a result of sitting throughout the day, many people develop tight leg muscles. As our knees are bent in this position at our desk all day, the muscles that flex the knee joint become used to being in this shortened position.

Tight leg muscles can cause many common lower body injuries during daily activities and to the development of back pain. To prevent this, it is important to perform leg stretching exercises to loosen tight muscles. Most likely if you have a sore low back, you are also tight in your lower body.Complete the following stretches to increase your flexibility, prevent injuries and reduce current low back or lower body pains.

Safe stretching tips:

  • Never stretch beyond a point that you cannot breathe comfortably.
  • Continue breathing throughout the stretch. Complete a deep, slow inhale followed by a deep, slow exhale.
  • Do not bounce.
  • Focus on pain free stretching. If you have any sort of abnormal pain, you need to consult Dr. Grant Cummings, Amanda Graham or Kurt Witmer.
Hamstring Stretch - Standing

Hamstring Stretch – Standing

Hamstring Stretch-Standing

Stand up straight and cross your right foot in front of your left. Hinging at your waist, slowly lower your forehead toward your right knee. Allow your neck to relax and upper body to hang like a rag doll. Keep both knees straight but not hyper extended. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat by crossing your left foot in front of your right. Complete 2-3 times a day.


Hamstring Stretch - Seated

Hamstring Stretch – Seated

Hamstring Stretch-Seated

Sit on the floor with both legs out straight. Extend your arms straight up overhead and reach forward, bending at the waist, keeping your back flat. You can use a towel or yoga strap if you cannot reach your toes. Hold for 30 seconds. Complete 2-3 times a day.


Hip Flexor Stretch

Hip Flexor Stretch

Hip flexor Stretch

Start on your knees. Step your right foot forward into a lunge position. Keep your right knee at a 90 degree angle and your back knee on the ground. (You may need to place a towel or pad underneath your back knee as a cushion). Bring your torso into an upright position and gently push your hips forward. For a deeper stretch, reach your right arm straight up. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on other side. Complete 2-3 times a day.


Quad Stretch

Quad Stretch

Quad Stretch-Proximal (rectus femoris)

Fold up a towel and place it about 8-12 inches away from a wall. The closer you are to the wall, the more intense this stretch will be. Kneel down and place your left knee on the towel and your toes against the wall. Place your right foot on the ground in front of you in a lunge position, and lower your hips down until you feel a stretch in the front of your left quad and or hip. Make sure your right knee is directly above your ankle. Place your hands on your front knee to help keep your torso straight. Hold for 30 seconds. Then slowly release out of this position. Complete 2-3 times a day.


Calf Stretch - Standing (Gastrocnemius)

Calf Stretch – Standing (Gastrocnemius)

Calf Stretch-Standing (Gastrocnemius)

Face a wall and stand 12 inches away from it. Extend one leg behind you, keeping both feet flat on the floor and your rear knee straight. Lean toward the wall until you feel tension in the calf muscle of the extended leg. (You can put your arms on the wall for support.) Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on your other leg. Complete 2-3 times a day.


Calf Stretch - Standing (Soleus)

Calf Stretch – Standing (Soleus)

Calf Stretch- Standing (Soleus)

Stand on a step on the balls for your feet. Hold the rail for balance. Keeping your right toe on the step, slowly lower the heel of your right foot until a stretch is felt. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on your other leg. Complete 2-3 times a day.


Calf Stretch - Seated

Calf Stretch – Seated

Calf Stretch-Seated

Sit with your feet out in front of you. Using a yoga strap or a towel, place the strap around the top of your foot. Gently use your upper body to pull your toes toward you. Stop when you feel a comfortable stretch in your calf muscle. Hold for 30 seconds. Complete 2-3 times a day.


Anterior Tibialis Stretch

Anterior Tibialis Stretch

Anterior Tibialis Stretch

Sit down with your shins touching the ground and your buttocks resting directly over your feet. Place your hands behind your body and lean back slightly. Hold for 30 seconds. Complete three times a day.


At anytime if any of these stretches do not feel right, you need to stop doing them. You know your body best! Please consult Amanda Graham at balancedlifeandfitness@gmail.com for a customized stretching or fitness program.


Shoulder & Arms Stretches

Compliments of Kurt Witmer (Email: info@witmertraining.com)
Read More>>>

Stretching is an integral part of any fitness regime. Stretching helps reduce muscle soreness, improve or maintain range of motion, and help good posture. Many times the flexibility portion gets overlooked amidst the cardio and strength training being deemed more important.

Skipping out on stretches means that the muscles will start to shorten, reducing the range of motion. This will also affect posture, like having your shoulders roll forward from sitting in the computer position for too long. Shortened muscles can weaken their opposing muscles – like having short hip flexors can weaken your glutes. Also, the risk of pulling a muscle is more common.

Here are a group of stretches that you can do after a workout as part of a cool down or throughout your day. Hold each stretch for 15-30 seconds and do 2 sets.

Chest Stretch

Chest

Find a doorway to use. Put your arm up and bend your elbow to 90 degrees. Your forearm should be aligned with the door. Step through with your foot that is on the same side as the stretch. Lean forward to feel a stretch across the chest. This is an important stretch for helping posture and shoulder health, and if your looking for more help then check out my shoulder article.


Rear Shoulder & Back StretchesRear Shoulder & Back Stretches

Rear shoulder and back

This stretch can be used in 2 ways. Pull your arm across your body and use your other arm to pull for a further stretch. For emphasis on the shoulder you will have to prevent the shoulder blades from moving apart. To do that you will have to press your side into the wall. To emphasize the middle of the back just do it without the wall.


 Tricep Stretchbicep Stretch

Biceps and Triceps

For triceps, the back of your arm, just reach over your head to touch the middle of your back, like you were trying to scratch it. From there just use your other arm to pull it further down.

To stretch the biceps just hold your arms straight out in front of you with the palms down. Then just swing them straight back and hold the stretch.


Forearm StretchesForearm Stretches

Forearm

Go on to your hand and knees. Place your palms on the floor and gently turn your pinkies toward your chest. The other part is with the back of your hands down on the ground while turning the pinkies away from your chest.


Stretching is best done with foam rolling beforehand. You can check out the foam rolling article for more info.

Also, please keep in mind that there should be no pain with any of these stretches. If you experience pain then you will need further assessments to fix it.

To have a complete fitness assessment to figure out your weaknesses and correct them, contact Kurt at info@witmertraining.com


Cummings Chiropractic Family Wellness | (403) 243-8118

Offering wellness care to the residents of Calgary, Okotoks, and Cochrane