Flexibility is an important, yet often overlooked, pillar of fitness. We asked members of the Under Armour Training team what they felt were the most beneficial stretches. If you are short on time, pick a few of these to improve mobility and overall movement.
My personal pick is the seated straddle stretch. Sit in a straddle position with toes pointed up toward the sky. Keeping a flat back and hinging at the hips, lean toward the center and slowly move over each leg.
1. POWER BAND SHOULDER TRACTION
The stretch: Loop the band around your wrist. Take an offset stance and walk back from the rack until you feel a gentle pull (traction) in your shoulder and lat.
— Rich Hesketh, athletic development coach at DECAMAN Athletics
2. TRX FORWARD LUNGE WITH Y FLY
The stretch: With the suspension trainer at mid length, begin standing facing away from the anchor point. With arms directly in front of your body (like Frankenstein), take a long step forward with your right foot, carefully lowering your left knee close to the floor and opening your arms up into a Y position. Brace your core, press down on the handles and return to a standing position.
— Marc Coronel, owner of Open Mind Fitness and master instructor for Trigger Point
3. TRX LOWER-BACK STRETCH
The stretch: Adjust the suspension trainer to mid length and stand facing the anchor point. Walk back until your arms are directly in front of your body, and then fold at hips, feeling a release through your shoulders and back.
— Michael Piercy, 2017 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year and owner of The Lab Fitness
4. THE DROP SQUAT
The stretch: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Step one leg behind the other and bend both knees. When your front thigh is almost parallel to the floor, return to the beginning posture.
— Tim DiFrancesco, former head strength and conditioning coach of the Los Angeles Lakers and founder of TD Athletes Edge
5. TRX WORLD’S GREATEST STRETCH VARIATION
The stretch: With the TRX suspension trainer at mid length and in single-handle mode, take a half-kneeling position facing away from the anchor point. With your right leg in front, place your left hand in the handles and reach overhead. Push the inside of the right leg outward gently with the outside of the right arm. To improve shoulder mobility, sweep the left arm into various positions along a pain-free, natural arc.
— Kari Woodall, swim coach, firefighter and owner of BLAZE Fitness
READ MORE TRAINER’S FAVORITE
6. SUPINE BAND HAMSTRING LEG SWINGS
The stretch: Place band around waist. Begin lying on floor and place other end of band around your foot. Pull your leg up with the band, so your foot moves toward your head until a moderate stretch is reached. Swing leg back to the ground and repeat.
— Steve Saunders, Director of Performance for the Baltimore Ravens and Founder of Power Train Sports & Fitness.