5 Daily Stretches for Soldiers

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5 Daily Stretches for Soldiers

Tight muscles can lead to injuries, and injuries derail your readiness—whether for drill weekend or a weekend hike with friends.

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Stay loose by adopting a daily stretching routine.

Master fitness trainers and certified strength coaches endorse the following routine not only because it’ll loosen you up, but also because the exercises are easy to do anywhere, in 10 minutes or less.

Added bonus: stress relief.

BODY PART: NECK

Steps to stretch:

  1. Start standing straight up, arms by the side
  2. Slowly bring the right ear towards the right shoulder
  3. Stop when you feel the tension
  4. Slowly return to starting position
  5. Repeat on left side
Hold for: 5-10 seconds
Repetitions: 2-4
Useful tip: Flex your abs to stabilize your spine

BODY PART: LOWER BACK / ABS

Steps to stretch:

  1. Lie on stomach on the floor, legs straight, and arms cocked under you (like a pushup)
  2. Gently exhale, and press hips into the floor
  3. Lengthen your torso and curl your chest upwards and away from the ground
  4. Hold
  5. The gently lower upper body back to the floor
Hold for: 15-30 seconds
Repetitions: 2-4
Useful tip: Keep your hips pressed against the ground at all times

BODY PART: UPPER BACK AND CHEST

Steps to stretch:

  1. Sit tall on a Swiss ball with hands behind head
  2. Rotate to one side until you feel a motion barrier, then stop and hold
  3. Do a side bend downward and hold
  4. Gently return to the tall position
  5. Repeat 5 times on each side
Hold for: 3-5 seconds
Repetitions: 5 on each side
Useful tip: If you don’t have a Swiss ball, the third step on a staircase works

BODY PART: HIP FLEXORS

Steps to stretch:

  1. Kneel at a 45-degree angle to a step
  2. Put one foot up on the step
  3. Turn your hips so they are parallel with the step, and grab your knee
  4. Perform a small “crunch” action to tilt your pelvis back and feel the stretch
  5.  Switch sides
Hold for: 20 seconds
Repetitions: 2-3
Useful tip: Stare ahead and a bit upwards, to keep your neck and spine stable

BODY PARTS: CALVES, SHINS, AND THIGHS

Steps to stretch:

  1. Sit on the floor with legs extended straight, no bend in your knees
  2. Sit up tall and place hands on top of your thighs
  3. Gently exhale as you slowly bend forward at the hips, sliding hands down your legs towards your ankles
  4. Keep your head angled slightly up, to keep your spine straight
  5. Continue to bend and reach forward to the point of tension in the stretch, then hold
  6. Release and return to starting position
Hold for: 15-30 seconds
Repetitions: 2-4
Useful tip: Contract your abs to stabilize your spine

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