The Now What Fitness Series lays out the foundation of fitness in a concise and simplified manner, making for a collection of books that help the reader truly comprehend how to improve one's health and well-being from A to Z. I've broken fitness down into comprehensive concepts, giving anybody who truly wants to change their health and their lives in profound ways, the step-by-step tools and knowledge to do so.
The stretching demonstrations below are the most basic stretches and can be easily done between strength training sets. You have to rest for about a minute anyway, so might as well stretch the muscle you just worked. Try it!
Or you may do them as a stretching routine before, during, or after your strength training as a cool-down or warm-up.
Just remember to never stretch a cold muscle, so 5 or 10 minutes of moderate cardio will suffice as a precursor for stretching. Also, never stretch past the point of comfort. Just stretch. It feels good and its good for you. Simply perform the following stretches as instructed for a great stretch for most of your major muscle groups and joints.
Standing double anchored chest stretch
Stand between two stable objects and reach high so that the upper arm is a bit higher than parallel to the floor. Anchor arms and lean forward for a nice stretch across the chest and hold for 30 seconds.
Standing single anchored chest stretch
Anchor left arm on stable platform with upper arm slightly higher than parallel to floor. Gently twist torso away feeling a good stretch across the left side of the chest area. Hold 30 seconds and repeat on other side.
Behind the back shoulder stretch
In a standing position, reach behind and clasp fingers (thumbs facing floor) and gently pull up. Hold for 30 seconds.
Standing double upper back stretch
Hold onto stable platform, bend knees, and hang for 30 seconds. Focus on feeling stretch in upper back.
Standing biceps stretch
Reach behind with both arms, turning thumbs up with palms facing back, pause and turn thumbs up with palms facing forward or up. Hold for 30 seconds in both positions focusing on feeling the stretch in upper arms.
Standing triceps stretch
Reach up with one arm and bend at elbow bringing hand down behind the neck. Grasp hand with other hand and gently pull, holding for 30 seconds. Repeat on other arm, focusing on feeling the stretch in triceps.
Standing hamstring stretch
Elevate right foot on stable platform and gently lean directly over that leg. Keep upper back flat (do not hump shoulders)with slight natural arch in lower back. Think good posture throughout. The straighter the knee in the right leg, the greater the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat with left leg.
Standing quad stretch
Hold onto something stable for balance and bend leg grasping the foot at the ankle and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat with other leg.
Leaning calf stretch
Stand in front of stable platform or wall. Lean against very stable platform, keeping back leg’s heel flat on floor, while slightly bending that knee over toe. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on other leg.