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A Fast Full-Body Stretch Routine You Won’t Get Bored Doing

I’m not the only person who finds stretching to be so boring, right? I’m always trying to find a routine I can actually stick with, because I know it’s good for me. But I usually end up losing interest halfway through, X-ing out of the YouTube video in a fugue state, and realising I’ve spent a full five minutes lolling around on my yoga mat and scrolling through TikTok. This is probably why I’m always battling at least one persistent body ache.The only time I enjoy stretching is when I go to a studio and someone physically manipulates my body, leaving me feeling sore and mangled the next day (in a good way). Nothing else feels productive. But stretching studios can be expensive — and right now, amid the pandemic and social distancing guidelines, I’m still steering clear.So I decided to look for a different at-home routine. My requirements: It had to be active enough to keep me entertained; it had to hurt enough that I knew it was working; and it had to be fast enough for me to actually stick with it. I ticked all three with this full-body stretch circuit created by Natasha Nikolaeva and Marina Skladchikova, the co-founders of the StretchIt App, which is entirely devoted to stretching. The five moves are dynamic and take only a few minutes to cycle through. Each stretch targets several muscle groups at once, so even if I do just one before bed, I can feel good about it. And post-stretch, my muscles feel relaxed and a little sore in a healthy, warmed-up way — like I just undid at least 80% of the damage I caused from being hunched over at my computer all day. Finally, a stretch routine I can really stick with. Pike, Table Top, & Shoulder StretchThis exercise targets the shoulders and hip flexors, improves flexibility in the spine, and strengthens the core.Step 1: Start seated on the floor with your knees bent and your hands planted on the floor under your shoulders.Step 2: As you exhale, push the floor away and rock back, sinking your belly in to fold your chest toward your thighs, and lifting your hips as high as possible, sending them up and back. Your heels and the palms of your hands should continue to rest on the floor, and your legs should be straight. Inhale.Step 3: On your exhale, bring your hips forward and through your arms, then lift them high to the ceiling and plant your feet on the floor, coming into a tabletop position. Let your head release back as you inhale. Step 4: With an exhale, lower your hips to the floor and return to your starting position with knees bent. Hold here for a breath. Repeat the sequence 4 to 6 times.Cobra DivesThis exercise targets the lower, middle and upper back, and works the arms.Step 1: Start in child’s pose, with your big toes together and your knees wide. Step 2: Bend your elbows and begin diving forward through your arms, starting with your forehead and pulling forward until your hips reach the floor. Press your palms into the floor, straighten your arms, and arch your head and back into a cobra pose. Step 3: At the top of your cobra, tuck your chin to your chest. Then begin to round your spine, coming onto your knees into cat pose before shifting all the weight back into your child’s pose. Continue this waving action through the spine 4 to 6 times. Flunge to Side BendThis exercise opens the hips, eases muscle tension in the legs, improves flexibility in the spine, and stretches the side of the body.Step 1: Start in a kneeling position, with your thighs lifted off your calves and your chest held upright. Then step your right leg to the side, toes facing away from you, and bend your right knee, coming into a flunge: half froggie, half lunge. Sink your hips as low as possible. When you find your maximum range of motion, hold there for a breath. Step 2: With an inhale, extend your right leg, flex your foot and reach your left arm up and overhead, creating a side bend. Take your gaze up towards the ceiling and breathe into your left side. Stay here for a breath and repeat. Continue moving between a flunge and a side bend 4 times. Then repeat on the other side.Lizard Twist & KicksThis exercise opens the hips, stretches the groin and hip flexors, works the hamstrings, increases the range of motion in the shoulders, and releases tension in the spine.Step 1: Begin on your hands and knees. Step your left foot forward, letting it land gently on the outside of your left hand. Turn your foot out and allow your thigh to roll open into a lizard pose. Step 2: Drop your back hip and sink your weight down and forward. Continue to externally rotate your front thigh. With an inhale, circle your left arm forward, up, and back, twisting to the left. Follow your hand with your gaze. Find your maximum twist and, with an exhale, return to your original position. Step 3: Bend the back leg, flex the foot and kick the heel to your butt three times. Then extend the leg, point the foot, and repeat. Continue this sequence 4 times; then switch sides.Lunge to Standing Split PulsesThis exercise increases flexibility in the hip flexors and hamstrings, improves balance, and increases strength in the legs and glutes.Step 1: Start in a standing lunge with your right foot forward, directly under your knee. Bring your hands to your hips. Stay here for a breath. Step 2: With an exhale, push the floor away with your left foot, place your hands on the floor to frame your front foot, and lift your left leg up as high as possible while keeping your balance. Keep your right leg slightly bent. Step 3: Point your toes and pulse the leg higher 3 times. Then return to your lunge. Repeat this sequence 4 times; then switch sides.Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Pelvic Floor Exercises Are As Important As HIITThis Bodyweight Workout Takes Just 12 MinutesThree Breathing Exercises To Help Calm Anxiety

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