Stay flexible, Grand County: Three Classic Stretches to Try |

Stay flexible, Grand County: Three Classic Stretches to Try

Jackie Wright / The Fitness Trail
Grand County, Colorado

All exercise programs should include stretches that focus upon promoting flexibility across all major joints for all major muscle groups. The safest and most effective time during a workout to stretch is during cool down.

Therefore, include the following three stretches during the cool down segment of your exercise program to promote flexibility.

Supine Hamstring Stretch – (stretches the hamstrings, gluteus maximus and lower back muscles)

– Lying on your back, facing the ceiling, bend the left leg so that the sole of the left foot is resting comfortably on the floor.

– Make certain to rest the head on the floor or on a rolled up towel, pad or pillow so that the cervical spine remains in neutral.

– Bring the right knee toward the chest with the hands underneath the right thigh.

– Then, inhale/exhale as you extend the right leg toward the ceiling, just to the point of tightness, never any pain and flex the ankle joint so that the heel of the right foot is facing the ceiling.

– Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds without lifting the low back or hips off the floor.

– Slowly release the right leg and place the sole of the right foot on the floor and repeat this process with the left leg.

– You can repeat this stretch one to three times during cool down several times per week.

Pectoralis Stretch – (stretches the pectoralis and the anterior deltoid muscles)

– Seated, rotate the shoulders back/down, lift the rib cage, and pull the navel toward the spine.

– Interlace the fingers behind the back with the arms fully extended, the knuckles facing the floor and arms suspended over the buttocks.

– As you do so, press your breast bone (xiphoid process) forward opening your chest.

– Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds, release and repeat one to three times always during cool down several times per week.

Tricep Stretch (stretches the tricep muscles)

– Begin seated, with the shoulders rotated back/down, rib cage lifted and the navel pulled toward the spine.

– Bring the right arm up so that the elbow is facing the ceiling and the right upper arm is right next to the ear.

– Walk the fingers of the right hand down the back, just to your point of tightness, never pain and hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds.

– You can use your left hand to hold the right upper arm in position; however, hold it beneath the elbow joint, not directly on the joint.

– Release the right arm down slowly and repeat on the left side.

– You can repeat this stretch, each side, two to three times, always during cool down, several times per week.

Stretching Tips:

– Remember to inhale right before the stretch, then exhale as you go into the stretch.

– Breathe rhythmically while in the stretch.

– Inhale/exhale as you release the stretch.

– Hold the stretches statically promoting flexibility.

– Always maintain soft joints while stretching (i.e. soft knees/elbows, etc.).

– If you feel any sensation of tingling or pain, back off of the stretch immediately.

– Never compare yourself to anyone else. Range of motion during a stretch is based upon many factors, not the least of which, genetics, hamstring and torso length.

Next week, we begin the first in a three-part series discussing three great in-home workouts.

” Jackie Wright can be reached at her e-mail address: and her blog on

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