7 Basic Stretches You Should Do Daily: To Free Yourself From Restrictions or Pain

The following routine contains 7 total body stretches you can practice daily until your body starts feeling and moving the way you want it to. Don’t get too caught up in doing the stretches exactly how they look in the photo. You may have less mobility (or more) than Eric does for certain stretches and that’s okay. Just follow the instructions to match your current abilities. You will improve over time

1. Static Bear Stretch

The Static Bear is a great stretch for beginners to loosen up the muscles needed to perform more advanced movements (like handstands) in the future. The Static Bear Stretch is sure to give relief from hours of bad posture and sitting. Benefits include improved over-head shoulder range, losing upper back stiffness, improving thoracic extension, and loosening up the hamstrings and posterior chain. Keep the arms straight and press the hips back. A slight knee bend is okay but the goal is to have straight legs. Keep pressing through the shoulders, creating a straight line from wrist to hips. Avoid arching in the back by keeping the core engaged and rib cage down. Lean back and forth from a plank position. Repeat for 5-10 reps and hold the last one for 10-30 seconds

2. Inverted Plank

The Inverted Plank is just what the doctor ordered after a long day at the office. This movement will “unglue” the anterior (front side) of the body while strengthening the backside (gluts, hamstrings, rear deltoids, etc), leaving you feeling balanced and ready to take on the world. The Inverted Plank also builds strength for powerful core skills like the L-seat. Concentrate on pinching the shoulder blades and lifting the chest and hips. The goal is to achieve a straight line from shoulders to toes. Start in a seated position and place your hands by your hips. Lift the hips and chest and hold for two deep breaths. Repeat for 5-10 reps with a 10-30 second hold on the last rep.

3. Horse Stance

Open up the hips and strengthen your lower half with the Horse Stance. This position can be held for a period of 3-5 minutes at a time. This position opens the abductors in the hips and prepares the body for more advanced stretches like the straddle pancake or center splits. The goal is to squat with the arms and thighs parallel to the ground. The heels should be down and feet outside of shoulder width, toes facing forward. Using a wall to assist in building endurance will modify the movement. Holding light weight will deepen the stretch. Start off with 5-10 squats and work on improving range. On the last rep, hold for 1-5 minutes for unbreakable hips, knees, and ankles.

4. Resting Squat

The resting squat is a fundamental resting position the modern human has lost. I recommend sitting in a resting squat for 10-30 minutes daily to help with overall back, hip, knee, and ankle mobility. Try not to see this movement as the typical “meat head” back squat. It is NOT a workout – it is a rest position. The mindset is different and the goal should be to spread your squatting time throughout your day (i.e. when watching TV, waiting for a friend, resting for your next workout set). The more often you do it and the more you make it part of your daily routine, the more your hips will thank you.

5. Hollow Body Hang

The Hollow Body Hang is the foundation for all overhead stretches, releasing the lats and upper body. Hanging is crucial to shoulder health. I recommend hanging 7-10 minutes daily to help open the shoulders. The goal should be to shift the hips into a posterior pelvic tilt, engaging the core and gluts, and creating the slightly hollowed or “C” position in the body line. Hold for sets of 30-60 seconds throughout your day until you have completed the 7-10 minutes.

6. Kneeling Bridge

The kneeling bridge is one of my favorite ways to open up the hips flexors, strengthen my quads, and bulletproof my spine and knees. Not to mention the amazing chest and shoulder stretch. Start kneeling in front of a raised surface or wall. The lower the surface and/or farther away you are from the wall, the stronger the stretch. Take it slow and steady and increase the range over time. Be sure not to sit back on your heels or flex at the hips. While in global extension, pause for 3-5 breaths before returning to start position. Perform 3-5 reps with a longer 10-30 second hold on the last rep.

7. Horizontal German Hang

The Horizontal German Hang is what I like to call the mother of all posture correcting exercises that you can do on the rings. The Horizontal German Hang is a modified version of the full “skin the cat” or German Hang that most beginners can handle. Don’t let the name intimidate you. When done properly at the right level for your body, this movement will loosen up the chest, shoulders, and biceps, all while strengthening the core and preparing you for more advanced movements like the full back lever.

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