Suggested Title: 34 Pictures To See Which Muscle You’re Stretching

Whatever your lifestyle is you need to exercise regularly. But just getting up and stretching your limbs is not just enough if you are serious about solving that particular problem you may have or if you are a fitness junkie and you want to tone up. You will need to know just what that stretching exercise you are engaged in is doing to your body and whether it is actually effective for what you want to achieve from your daily exercise regime.

Vicky Timon a renowned yoga expert and author of “Encyclopedia of Pilates Exercises”and James Kilgallon, CSCS, the originator of Mazio’s Body Maintenance Program have a list of 36 stretching exercises each aimed at achieving a particular desired result for your body.

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1. The Camel Pose

  • The muscles accentuated: The Rectus Abdominus and the External Obliques.

If you are flexible then this stretching exercise is just right for you.

How to:

  • Sit on your heels then put your hands behind you, push up and forward your hips. Try not to place too much strain on your lumbar spine. Notes of warning, if you have issues with your neck try not to drop your head backwards.

2. The Wide Forward Fold

  • The muscle accentuated: The Adductors.

For stretching your adductors and the hamstrings this exercise is ideal for you.

How to:

  • Bend your knees with your spine straightened. When you feel the muscles been released, straighten your legs, then reach for your feet with your back rounded out. Release your calf muscles by gently pulling on the ball of your feet. As an upstart reaching your feet may be a difficult ask, in this case use a belt or a towel to achieve this. You can also do this stretching exercise when lying on your back, all you do is put your legs on a wall facing you.

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3. The Great Frog Pose

The muscle accentuated: The Adductors.

It is recommended that this exercise be done on a soft surface as strain would be placed on your groin and knees.

How to:

  • Keep your hands and knees on a rested position. Spread your knees till you feel that your groin muscles are fully stretched. Then push your hips back and forth.

4. The Wide Side Lunge Pose

The muscle accentuated: The Adductors.

How to:

  • Start with a wide stance by spreading your feet; keep your legs as straight as possible. Keep your right foot flat on the floor then rotate your left toes moving towards the ceiling while you shift your right hip move towards your right foot and bend your right knee.

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5. The Butterfly Stretch

The muscle accentuated: The Adductors.

How to:

  • While you are in a seated position move the soles of your feet close to each other, try to sit tall using your sit bones. Put strain on your knees, you can use your hands if you want. To stretch your groin muscles, bring your feet together and close to your body. Ensure that your feet and hips are far apart, then slowly round out your torso to relax your back muscles.

6. The Forearm Extensor Stretch

The muscle accentuated: The Forearm extensor.

How to:

  • Move both your shoulders and your back down, and then rotate your shoulder outward to stretch your forearm muscle. Put strain on your other hand to begin the stretch once you have obtain the position stated above. Create the shape of a tea cup by touching the tips of your fingers together, this way you will get the maximum effect of this stretch.

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7. The Lateral Side Flexion of the Neck

The muscle accentuated: The Sternocleidomastoid “SCM”.

How to:

  • Keep your neck straightened for as long as possible then gently place your ear to your shoulder, make sure that your cervical spine is not collapsed. You can also sit on a chair and hold on to the seats bottom. By doing this the tension down your arm and neck will be uniform making you stretch out the upper traps to maximum effect.

8. The Neck Rotation Stretch

The muscles accentuated: The Sternocleidomastoid “SCM”.

How to:

  • Rotate your neck gently and slowly, keep your chin slightly raised and separate the SCM. To achieve a more profound stretch, just add some pressure by using your opposite hand from the rotational position.

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9. The Neck Extension Stretch

The muscles accentuated: The Sternocleidomastoid “SCM”.

How to:

  • Start by placing your hands on your hips, straighten your spine, start tilting your head backwards while you make sure that your cervical spine is not collapsed in the process.

10. The Lateral Side Flexion of the Neck with Hand Support

The muscles accentuated: The Sternocleidomastoid “SCM” and upper trapezius.

How to:

  • Keep your neck straightened then gently drop your ear to your shoulder. Keep your cervical spine intact in the process. You can also do this stretch by sitting on a chair and clutching to the bottom of the seat. By doing this you will ensure that there is uniformity in the strain down the arm and the neck, and you will achieve a stretch of the upper traps.

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11. The Half Kneeling Quad / Hip Flexor Stretch

The muscles accentuated: The Psoas and Quadriceps.

How to:

  • Start by half-kneeling. Bring your right hip forward at this point your hip should be stretched at the front. To add to the stretch of your hip flexors take your back foot and squeeze your back glute.

12. The Forearm Extensor Stretch

The muscle accentuated: The Forearm extensor.

How to:

  • Start by padding your shoulder and your back down. Stretch your forearm muscle by rotating your shoulder outwards. In this position place a strain on your other hand in order to start the stretch. You can further accentuate this stretch by forming a tea cup by touching the tips of your fingers together.

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13. The Lateral Shoulder Stretch

The muscle accentuated: The side deltoid.

How to:

  • Place your arms across your body; stretch your shoulder by putting strain on your arm.

14. The Standing Assisted Neck Flexion Stretch

The muscles accentuated: The Trapezius muscle.

How to:

  • While standing on the floor place your feet together, ensure that your spine is straightened and then gently push your hips backwards. Then slowly round out your upper back by pushing your chin to your chest simultaneously.

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15. The Lat Stretch with Spinal Traction

The muscle accentuated: The Latissimus dorsi.

How to:

  • Start by holding on to a bar, and then slowly lift your feet from the floor. There must be strain to your chest and lats for this stretch to be effective. Where your feet are completely off the floor, you will feel a strain to your lumbar spine. For those who have recently injured their shoulder please do not attempt this stretching exercise.

16. The Lat Stretch at the Wall

The muscle accentuated: The Latissimus dorsi.

How to:

  • Place both your hands on the corner of a wall. Keep your spine straightened then push your hips to the side in a slow and gently motion. Note, if you have lower back issues don’t attempt this stretching exercise.

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17. The Child’s Pose

The muscle accentuated: The Latissimus dorsi.

How to:

  • When on the floor and your knees and hands are also on the floor, try and gently move your hips backwards till your forehead is placed on the floor. To achieve a more profound stretch on your hips try to move your knees apart. Position your upper back in the shape of an arch, stretch your lats and chest muscles by rotating outwardly your shoulders.

18. The Standing Calf Stretch

The muscles accentuated: The Soleus and Gastrocnemius.

How to:

  • Perform this stretch on a rack or on the edge of a stair step. You should then rotate your ankles inwards and outwards stretching your calf muscles in the process.

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19. The Front Split

The muscles accentuated: The Psoas and Hamstring.

How to:

  • This stretching exercise is for experts and not upstarts. It should also be attempted with extreme caution if you have a hip issue. Start with a kneeling lunge position. Achieve better results with the support of a chair with your hip flexors and hamstrings gently relaxed.

20. The Seated Forward Fold / Seated Toe Touch

The muscles accentuated: The Hamstrings and Calfs.

How to:

  • Try seating and bend your knees only if you need to. You will notice that your legs will be stronger as your elasticity improves. Ensure that your spine is straightened. You can also do this exercise while lying down on your back and also with your feet up on a wall.

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21. The Single Led Forward Bend

The muscle accentuated: The Hamstrings.

How to:

  • Make sure you start with your feet positioned with one foot in front of the other. Ensure that your back is straightened then place your hands on your hips and begin bending from your hips.

22. The Deep Squat

The muscle accentuated: The Glutes.

How to:

  • Start by spreading your feet wide apart in the width of your shoulders, and then gently lower into a deep squat. As you get into this position place your arms inside your legs and strain your knees, make your motion towards your hips and heels. You should attempt this stretch while lying on the floor and with your feet up against the wall.

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23. The Seated Half King Pigeon Pose

The muscle accentuated: The Glutes.

How to:

  • Start in a seated position and gently pull your leg towards your chest while you rotate your hip outwards. Ensure that your back is kept straight by doing this you will feel the stretch to your glutes.

24. The Standing Calf Stretch at the Wall

The muscles accentuated: The Soleus and Gastrocnemius.

How to:

  • Get into the lunge position, ensure that the back of your foot is slightly turned out slowly ensure that the back of your heel is brought towards the floor in order to stretch your calf muscles.

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25. The Lateral Flexion at the Wall

The muscle accentuated: The External Obliques.

How to:

  • Ensure that your spine is straightened then gently push your hips outward. A word of warning though, if you have issues with your lower back please do not attempt this exercise.

26. The Supine Twist

The muscles accentuated: The Glutes and External Obliques.

If you have pains particularly sciatica pain, then this exercise is right for you.

How to:

  • Start by staying flat on the floor place a leg across your body, and gently rotate your gaze as well as your upper body in the opposite direction. The most important thing is for you to breathe during this stretch so as to keep your rib cage, sacroiliac joint and hip area open while trying not to put too much strain on your lower back. Put both your knees one on top of the other, in this position you will feel more strain on your upper spine when your knees are raised also you will notice more strain on your lumbar spine when your knees are lowered do this if the initial step is too difficult for you.

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27. The Lateral Flexion with a Dowel

The muscles accentuated: The External Obliques and Latissimus dorsi.

How to:

  • Ensure your back is straightened then slowly push your hips out to the side, ensure that your shoulders rotate outwards. A note of warning, if you have issues with your lower back please do not attempt this stretching exercise.

28. The Triangle Pose

The muscle accentuated: The External Obliques.

How to:

  • Start with a wide stance; ensure your front foot in straight in front and your back foot is placed at a 90 degrees angle. Then place your hand on your front leg or directly on the floor, try to sit back into your front hip, ensure you keep your back straight. Try to rotate away from your front leg and ensure that you maintain your gaze on the hand that you put up in the air.

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29. The Chest Stretch at the Wall

The muscle accentuated: The Pectorals.

How to:

  • Start by facing the wall and with your thumb up. Then stretch your chest muscle by gently rotating away from the wall. Be careful not to over stretch to avoid pain to your shoulder joint, if you do this stretch well you will feel it in the muscle of your belly.

30. The Assisted Chest Stretch

The muscles accentuated: The Chest and Latissimus dorsi.

How to:

  • Start with a lying down posture with your palms faced up. Make sure your partner is seated in a deep squat and hold hands. You will feel a strain on your spine and your chest and lats will be stretched. Do not attempt this exercise if you have shoulder issues.

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31. The Seated half Pigeon Variation

The muscle accentuated: The Anterior tibialis.

How to:

  • Start by sitting with your feet placed in front of you. Place a hand to your back and then rotate your hip outwardly and place a foot above your knee. You can accentuate the stretch to your hips by slowly leaning outwards while you hold your hips.

32. The Supine Shoulder External Rotation Stretch

The muscle accentuated: The Subscapularis.

How to:

  • Start by being flat on your back. Ensure that your elbow is at a 90 degree angle by placing it straight out to the side. Place the back of your hand to the floor slowly. Where it is difficult for you to bring your hand close to the floor, and it is still at a distance away, what it means is that your rotator cuff and other muscles that regulate your internal rotation are constricted.

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33. The Down Dog Variation at the Wall

The muscles accentuated: The Pectorals and Latissimus dorsi.

How to:

  • Get your body in a parallel stance to the floor by standing far from a wall or a rack that you will touch. Ensure that your hips serve as a pivot while your spine is straightened. Move your chest forward and form an arch with your upper back while stretching your lats and chest muscles. Where your hamstrings are constricted, loosen it by bending your knees.

34. The Assisted Chest Stretch Variation

The muscle accentuated: The Pectorals.

How to:

  • Try lying flat on the floor with your face down and your palms faced down. Your hands should be pulled back by your partner in so doing you should feel a profound stretch in your chest muscles. Do not perform this stretching exercise if you have a shoulder issue.
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  • Source: beyoungbegreen.com
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Suggested Title: 34 Pictures To See Which Muscle You’re Stretching Whatever your lifestyle is you need to exercise regularly. But just getting up and stretching your limbs is not just enough if you are serious about solving that particular problem you may have or if you are a fitness junkie...