We all want to be a little fitter, whether we’re trained athletes, couch potatoes, or everything in between. It’s one of the most common commitments that people set for themselves for the new year ahead, or from their birthday onwards.
However many people, not fully understanding their current health and limitations, will often overextend themselves too fast, and too early in their new fitness regime.
They’ll pull a muscle, or struggle with an exercise that they’re not ready for. They’ll take a little longer than they like to recover, maybe even lose motivation at failing at a ‘simple’ task, and slowly slip from their commitments.
Getting Started – Hamstring Exercises!
It’s a story we’ve probably all heard, if not lived ourselves. The best way to avoid this problem, as frustratingly simple and small-scale as it might seem, is to understand your limitations and plan fitness routines around them.
In this guide, we’ll help you get started on your fitness endeavors. If you’re someone who struggles with touching their toes, these exercises will help you get to that base level of flexibility that so many other exercises ask of your body.
That way, you’ll be ready to get started with your new healthy lifestyle!
Starting us off with an exercise that you’ll be able to do pretty much anywhere, we have this simple wall-bound stretching exercise for you.
- To start with, find a nice flat wall, and lay down on your back close to it. Make sure that you’re able to scooch closer to the wall, as your legs and buttocks will need to be almost touching it.
- From there, you’ll simply raise your legs until they are pointed straight up, parallel to the wall.
- Don’t worry about your legs being perfectly straight, you just need to feel a little stretch to benefit from this exercise
And with that, you’ll be in the right position. That’s all there is to this stretch.
Make sure that your hips or sacrum are not turning up to the wall at all. Not only will this defeat the purpose of the exercise, but you could accidentally hurt your back in the process.
Hold this position for a few minutes, then return your legs to the ground.
Of course, the main drawback here is that you will need a wall to do this stretch against. But it’s not like they’re that difficult to find, are they?
If you find that your back is a little too sore or uncomfortable after trying out this pose, don’t worry. Placing a pillow or blanket underneath you is the perfect way of keeping your back comfortable as you stretch those legs up.
If you’re looking for an exercise that keeps you grounded, as it were, then this next stretching exercise will be perfect for you.
- Start this stretch by sitting down, with your back pointed straight, your legs stretched out, and your feet pointed upwards.
- Then stretch your legs to each side, creating a v-shape from your legs to your groin area.From here, you can stretch and fold your upper body out on an inhale or exhale, whichever feels most natural to you.
- Once you’re as far as you feel comfortable going, hold that position for a few breathing cycles, keeping your back stretched, and your legs wide apart.
- As you settle into the pose, try and see if you can push yourself out further.
After you’ve held this pose for a few breathing cycles, bring your chest back up, then bring your legs together, and relax.
Remember, don’t try and impress others or yourself by pushing your legs to their absolute limit too early with this stretch. That’s the quickest way to tear and strain your groin muscles.
Many people love to talk about the amazing benefits that yoga has for your body, from building up your core strength and stamina to helping in meditation. However, the one that everyone can agree on is that these poses are great at increasing flexibility.
And that’s exactly what this pose, the cobra pose, is great for!
- You’ll start this stretch face-down against a surface. While you can do this on a hard floor, we recommend doing this on either a softer surface or a yoga mat.
- You’ll be laid flat on your stomach, with your feet pointed away from you, and your hands planted on the ground by your side.
- Once ready, on an inhale, lift your upper body with your arms, raising your torso and head up and allowing your neck to stretch up.
- Once you’ve found a comfortable position, hold that position for a few minutes or breathing cycles.
- Beginners should try and aim for a minute or 2 at least, while experienced yoga practitioners and athletic people should be able to hold this for 4 minutes or longer.
Depending on how confident you are, you can either stick with this lower cobra pose or work up to a high or full cobra. These back-stretching exercises will also stretch your hamstring a little, and make bending over just a little easier.
Another popular yoga pose, this one might be even easier for beginners to try out than the cobra pose!
- Start the pose in the table position, with your knees and hands planted on the ground, supporting your torso.
- As you inhale, drop your spine down, puff out your chest a little, and raise your head until you’re looking, forwards. This is the ‘cow’ pose.
- As you exhale, slowly arch your back upwards, and tuck your head in, so that the arch of your spine is the highest point of the stretch. This is your ‘cat’ pose.
Try and hold each position for a few seconds, before inhaling or exhaling into the next pose.
We recommend repeating this stretch for a few reps (4 to 5), before moving on to your next exercise.
This pose is perfect for stretching both your back and working out your hamstrings and glutes.
- Start this pose laying on your back, with your arms and hands flat by your side, and your knees pointed up.
- Then, lift your lower body from the ground, supported by your hamstring and upper body.
Make sure to repeat this exercise a few times to get your reps in (around 4 to 5 times at first, then build up more as you go).
So, as you can see, finding exercises that can stretch your hamstring maybe isn’t as difficult as you think.
Not only are these great exercises for beginners to try but they can be done pretty much anywhere, with next to no props either (aside from the wall stretch).
Keep these exercises up, and you’ll be able to touch your toes in no time.