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8 Beginner Stretches to Move Through If You’re Far From Flexible

Tehrene Firman

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Many people simply don’t stretch enough because they’re “not flexible.” But to get flexible, you need to stretch. If you can barely touch your toes without a grimace, you’re not going to want to add it to your daily routine even though stretching is something you enjoy. Anyone who thinks they have to be able to bend over backwards to get a decent stretch just needs to start with beginner stretches for flexibility that let you ease into it slowly.

Stretching is something we neglect a lot of the time, but taking a few minutes out of your day to stretch is really going to benefit you,” says Maddie Lymburner, creator of MadFit. “It’s going to make you a lot more mobile, prevent injuries, and you’re going to feel a lot better in general.”

If you’d like to become a little more bendy, these are the best beginner stretches for flexibility that target your hip flexors, back, and beyond.

The best beginner stretches for flexibility

1. Reclined hand to toe pose

  1. Lie on your back and bring a yoga strap around the ball of your foot.
  2. With a strap in each hand, extend your leg up and press your top heel to the ceiling like you’re making a footprint on it. Take a few slow, deep breaths.
  3. Bring both straps to your right hand, and bring your left hip to your left hip bone.
  4. Keeping your foot flexed, send your heel out to the side. Stop before your left hip pops off the floor, keeping both sides of your hips glued to the floor. Take a few slow, deep breaths.
  5. Inhale to bring your leg back to center. Switch the straps to your left hand, and open your right arm to a “T” shape with your palm facing up.
  6. Gaze toward your right hand as you twist your left leg over your body, stopping before your hip pops off the floor so both sides of your hips are glued to the floor.
  7. Repeat on the opposite side.

2. Standing straddle

  1. With your legs wide, bend forward with your fingertips on the floor in front of you. Your toes should be turned slightly inside of the heels.
  2. Take a big breath in and, pressing down through the edges of your feet. Exhale and fold over and bring your head closer to the floor. Take a few deep breaths and release.

3. Thread the needle

  1. Start in a tabletop position.
  2. Sweep your right hand up toward the ceiling, opening your chest.
  3. Take a deep breath, and thread your right hand underneath your body as you exhale.
  4. Complete three reps, then rest your head on the floor as you hold the stretch.
  5. Repeat on the opposite side.

4. Low lunge into pigeon pose

  1. Get into a lunge position with your right knee on the floor and left leg at a 90-degree angle with your knee over your ankle.
  2. Putting the weight into your hip flexor, bring your arms up and sit into the stretch. You can also put your hands on your knee. Hold for 10 seconds.
  3. Drop your left leg into a pigeon pose and hold for 10 to 20 seconds. Brin your leg in closer to your body and drop your hands to the mat. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds.
  4. Repeat on the opposite side.

5. Hip flexor stretch

  1. Sitting on a mat, bring your right ankle over your left knee. Try and keep both of your shins parallel.
  2. Gently press your right knee down with your right forearm.
  3. Rest your elbow on your knee and rest your hand under your chin, allowing the pressure to push your knee into your heel. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds.
  4. Repeat on the opposite side.

6. Shoulder openers

  1. Starting on your knees with your back to a with a couch, chair, or footstool.
  2. Rest your palms on the piece of furniture behind you. Your fingers should be pointed away from you.
  3. Push your chest out and look upward to open your chest and shoulders.
  4. Hold for one minute.

7. Downward facing dog

  1. Get into a wide downward facing dog.
  2. Paddle your feet, bending one leg while straightening the other. Your low belly should be drawn into your low back.
  3. Take deep breaths, holding for 10 to 20 seconds.

8. Half cobra

  1. Lie on your stomach with your legs hip width apart and toes pointed. Your legs and butt should be relaxed.
  2. Come onto your forearms, pushing your shoulders down and lifting your chin up.
  3. Hold for one minute.

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