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In the latest Athlean-X video, trainer Jeff Cavaliere C.S.C.S. demonstrates four simple stretches—two dynamic and two static—that he recommends incorporating into a daily routine. Cavaliere says that you can use these stretches in order to relieve muscle tension, improve mobility, and generally leave you feeling looser and more comfortable in your everyday life, especially if you spend long periods of time sitting at a desk, hunched over a computer.
The first stretch is the bridge and reach over, which opens up the hips and activates the glutes by driving down through the heels to move up into the bridge. The cross-body reaching movement also mobilizes the shoulders and creates healthy thoracic rotation.
Next is the QL slide, which is great for relieving lower back pain, as it targets the quadratus lumborum (QL). Cavaliere recommends holding this for 3o to 45 seconds on each side.
The third stretch is the side pretzel, another great move for thoracic rotation which involves grabbing the opposite leg to your arm. If you’re lying on your left side, use your right arm to grab and pull up your lower left leg. Then, using your left hand, you pull your right leg downwards. “You’re working the piriformis muscle in the hip and also the glutes,” says Cavaliere. “Try to keep your hip rolled backwards. If you pull it all the way across you’ll shift that stretch into the lumbar spine.”
The fourth stretch, ideally performed before a workout, is a kind of kneeling plank called the NSFW—a name earned for pretty obvious reasons. “I love this one prior to squatting, deadlifting, particularly sumo deadlifting, because we’re reinforcing the mobility and the requirements of flexibility that are going to be needed to perform those exercises.” Performing this with the feet pointing outwards and the hips rotated outwards will place a stretch on the adductors, which in turn can reduce adductor tightness during deep hip flexion at the bottom of a squat.
“You’re going to make yourself and your body feel a hell of a lot happier, with very little time investment getting these things done,” he says.
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