Health And Wellness

The Best Stretches For Gym And Cardio

stretches for gym and cardio

Before we step into the details and learn about the stretches for gym and cardio, have you read our article on the importance of stretching? It’s worth reading.

It’s because when we plan for the gym and cardio, our focus is to hit the gym and workout to the fullest, shower, drink our favorite protein shake, and then go back home for some rest.

While focusing on your workout is good, you also need to remember that warm-up is necessary, whether you want to do simple exercises or plan for a cardio session.

No matter what you do, warm-up should be a part of your gym routine. Among the many options, stretching is one of the most important exercises.

Here are some stretches for gym and cardio that you can include in your routine to prevent workout injuries.

Step-by-step guide on the best stretches for gym and cardio

Here is a list of the stretches for gym and cardio and how to do them.

1. Knee to chest stretch

Knee to chest stretch is a great exercise for increasing the flexibility in your hamstrings, glutes, and hips. This benefit makes it great for a post-cardio warm-up session.

Here’s how to do it.

  • Lie on the floor on your back.
  • Extend both legs.
  • Put your right knee up towards the chest.
  • While doing this, make sure your left leg is straight on the floor and your back is on the floor as well.
  • Now, do the same on the other leg.

Here’s the video tutorial.

2. Calf raises

Calf muscles need proper exercises because your legs bear the weight of your body in most exercises. That is why it’s necessary to strengthen your calf muscles through stretches.

Here’s how to do calf raises.

  • Stand on the tip of the stairs with your heels hanging off the edge.
  • Lift your body on your toes.
  • While doing this, the heels should still remain off the edge.
  • You will feel a stretch in your calf muscles.
  • Hold your stretch in this position for a few seconds.
  • Repeat this for a few times.

With this stretch, your calf muscles will get strengthened. This is especially useful for people who run a lot.

Here’s the video tutorial.

3. Lunging hip flexor stretch

The lunging hip flexor stretch is great for strengthening muscles in your hips, quads, and glutes.

Here’s how to do it.

  • First, stand straight.
  • Now, while keeping the right knee bent, kneel down on the left knee.
  • Make sure the position such that the right foot is flat on the floor.
  • Now, lean forward.
  • Stretch your left hip in a parallel direction to the floor.
  • It’s better to hold the stretch for 30 seconds on one leg.
  • Once done, you can switch to the other leg.

Here’s the video tutorial.

4. Frog stretch

If you want to strengthen your inner thigh muscles, fog stretch is the best. This exercise also strengthens the hip flexor muscles.

Here’s how to do the fog stretch.

  • Start by placing both your hands and knees on the floor.
  • Your feet should be placed in such a way that the inner edges lie flat on the floor and the toes are turned out.
  • Also, slide your knees wider, more than the shoulder width.
  • Now, shift your hips back to your heels.

We call it the frog stretch because your body forms the shape of a frog while doing this. Although it may seem funny, don’t let your gym anxiety stop you from doing your stretches.

Here’s the video tutorial.

5. Cat-cow stretch

Cat-cow stretch is a common exercise that most fitness enthusiasts love to add to their warm-up sessions. It is because this stretch mainly focuses on your back muscles.

Here’s how to do it.

  • Make a position such that your knees and hands are on the floor.
  • Inhale some air as you let your lower back curve.
  • Also, bring your head up and tilt your pelvis. This will make your position like a cow.
  • For the cat pose, exhale and tuck your tailbone.
  • In this position, bring your head and pelvis down as well.

Repeat this several times while inhaling and exhaling to strengthen your back muscles.

Here’s the video tutorial.

6. Piriformis stretch

The piriformis stretch is great if you want to improve the condition of the spine. This is because this exercise mainly targets the piriformis muscle. This muscle extends from the spine to your thigh bones. 

Here’s how to do it.

  • Sit on the floor.
  • Place your legs straight in front of you.
  • Lift the left leg and place the ankle on top of the right knee.
  • Also, arch your back slightly and lean forward. You should feel a stretch in your buttocks.
  • Hold this stretch for at least 30 seconds.
  • Now, do the same steps with the right leg.

You should do this exercise at least 2 to 3 times for each leg.

Here’s the video tutorial.

8. Overhead triceps stretch

If you want to workout because you want biceps and triceps, this stretch should be a part of your warm-up session. As the name suggests, this exercise basically targets the triceps and shoulder muscles.

Here’s how to do the overhead triceps stretch.

  • Stand straight on the floor.
  • Put your feet hip-width apart.
  • Also, release any tension in the shoulders by putting them back and down.
  • Extend your right arm to the ceiling and bend the elbow. Extend the elbow to the center of your back.
  • Now, extend your left arm. The left arm should help in putting the right elbow down to the center of the back.
  • Stay in this position for 20 to 30 seconds.
  • Repeat this with the other arm.

Here’s the video tutorial.

Take-away message

Stretches for gym and cardio should be a part of your workout routine. While most people ignore it, stretching exercises help improve the condition of your muscles and strengthen them for better performance.

That is why neglecting their importance can make you prone to workout injuries, especially if you’re hitting the gym for the first time.

So, make sure these stretches are a part of your workout routine. They’ll only take a few minutes!

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