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Chances are, if you’re like most of us, you sit a lot during the day. But biomechanically, the human body is at its best when it’s up and moving, and long periods of sitting shorten the hamstrings and hip flexors, rotate the pelvis posteriorly, flatten the normal spinal curvature and compress the sciatic nerve.
These stretches are designed to undo all that tweaking. Perform each movement slowly and mindfully, releasing tension in each muscle and breathing in deep, full breaths. You can do this program in the gym or at home.
|Exercise||Muscles Corrected||Reps||Time (per rep)|
|Wall Slide||pectorals, rotator cuff||3-5||5 seconds each directions|
|Cat and Cow||abdominals, erector spinal, rhomboids||5-7||5 seconds each position|
|Warrior 1||iliopsoas, quadriceps, abdominals, latissimus dorsi||2-3||20-30 seconds each side|
|Seated Twist||rhomboids, erector spinal, trapezius, rotator cuff||5-7||5 seconds each direction|
|Ham/Calf Combo||hamstring group, gastrocnemius, soleus||1-2||30-45 seconds each side|
Setup: Stand against a wall with your head, shoulder blades and bum touching and your heels a few inches from the baseboard. Lift your arms with your elbows bent 90 degrees and press them against the wall at shoulder height.
Action: Slide your arms slowly up the wall while maintaining contact with your elbows and the backs of your hands. Go as far as you can without pain or losing wall contact, then return slowly to the start.
Cat and Cow
Setup: Begin on your hands and knees with your knees under your hips and your hands under your shoulders.
Action: Inhale as you arch your back and drop your stomach toward the floor. Exhale and reverse the movement, dropping your head and rounding your back up toward the ceiling. Repeat slowly using an even pace.
Setup: Step your left leg behind you and turn your left foot perpendicular to the left, leg straight. Bend your right knee to 90 degrees, keeping it over the ankle. Raise your arms above your head, palms inward and fingers reaching toward the sky.
Action: Hold and breathe. With each breath, lower a little deeper into the lunge, reach a little higher with your fingers and scoop your pelvis under. Repeat on both sides.
Setup: Sit on your mat with both legs extended. Bend your right knee and put the foot on the floor, with the heel as close to the right sitting bone as possible.
Action: Rotate your torso to the right and place your left elbow against the outer side of your knee. Press your right fingertips onto the floor just behind your pelvis to lift the torso slightly up and forward. Hold that pose, remembering to breathe deeply.
Setup: Kneel on the floor and extend your left leg out straight in front of you, foot flexed. Hold your toes with your left hand.
Action: Keeping a flat back, hinge forward at the hips, pushing your butt back while gently pulling the toes of your left foot up toward your knee with your hand. Do both sides.