Stretch Sequence For Stress Relief, Mobility & Flexibility

This stretch sequence is a full body program that will not only provide your body with movements that assist with mobility and flexibility, but also provide your body with an opportunity to relax and recover.

When I am dealing with a stressful time, and my body is telling me to slow down, I find this sequence helps me to take a moment, breathe and be kind to my body.

However, this sequence can be used as a recovery workout during your week. It is important to include such sessions in your week to assist your body in remaining supple to cope and benefit from your other, more strenuous or higher intensity workouts.

And, for new mums with young babies, when you are feeling fatigued or are running on little energy or sleep, sometimes a nice, gentle full body stretch is what is required to stimulate the muscles, and stretch out tight spots from awkward postures that motherhood brings. This sequence will also give you the benefits of relaxation and deep breathing, which will help with any anxiety or feelings of stress that you may be feeling.

Given that we are holding the stretches a lot longer than normal, this enables us to go deeper with the stretches, which will also stretch the fascia, which is a type of connective tissue that runs in and around your muscles.

During each stretch I take the opportunity to close my eyes, slow my breathing and focus on my breath or visualise a place or situation which brings me calm and joy.

Move through the sequence 1 to 3 times, depending on your available time.

Be gentle with your body and only take each stretch to the point of tension. Then, if through your breathing, the muscle relaxes, only then take the stretch a bit deeper.

Length: 30 – 45mins       Intensity: Low

Equipment Needed: Chair, Stopwatch or Clock, Towel, Theraband or Strap, Cushions or a Mat for comfort

If you would like to view the video of this stretch sequence please click here .

Lower Back Stretch 

Lie on your back with your knees bent so that your feet are flat on the floor.

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Gently grab both your knees and pull them slowly up toward your chest. If you feel discomfort in your knees doing this, hold the backs of your thighs. Keep your neck and shoulders relaxed.

 

 

Slowly straighten your arms, img_5885continuing to hold onto your knees, as you breathe out.

Repeat 10 times

 

 

Lying Spinal Rotation

Lie on your back with your knees bent so that your feet are flat on the floor, and your knees and feet are together. Take your arms out to the side so that your arms are resting on the floor, half way between your hips and your shoulders.

img_5887Gently drop you knees to one side, and, if more comfortable turn your head to look the opposite way. Hold for 1 to 2 breaths. Then gently drop you knees to the other side, and turn your head to look the opposite way.

Only drop your knees until you feel a gentle stretch. If you feel discomfort in your back, straighten the bottom leg.

Hold each side for 5 counts – Repeat 10 times each side

Quad/Hip Flexor Stretch

img_5875Using a chair, couch or bench, place one foot on the edge. If necessary place a cushion or folded mat under that knee for comfort.

Bring your other leg to 90 degrees at the hip and the knee. Keep the torso vertical, and your back hip over your back knee. The back leg is the leg that is being stretched.

Ensure you gently brace your abdominals and squeeze/activate the buttock muscle on the back leg.

Hold for 2 minutes each leg

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Option 2 (on video):

If you do not have a chair, use the same hand as the back leg to assist the stretch.

Hold for 2 minutes each leg

 

Option 1 (on video):  If this stretch is too intense or causes discomfort in the back leg, try this variation:

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As I am not lifting the back leg, I have pushed my hips forward to increase the stretch.

Before pushing forward, ensure you have lengthened your back by doing a slight tuck under with your pelvis.

Hold for 2 minutes each leg

Glute/Buttock Stretch

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Prone Glute Stretch – bend your front leg at the knee. and push your back leg out behind you. Keep your hips even and square to the ground. Fold your body over your knee and relax.

Hold for 2 minutes each leg

 

If the prone glute pose is too intense, do the lying glute stretch.

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Lying Glute Stretch – Lie on your back, with both knees bent. Cross the ankle of one leg over the upper thigh, just above the knee, of the opposite leg. Lift the lower leg off the ground, and let the knee of the top leg drop away from the body. Keep your head and shoulders relaxed and on the floor.

Hold for 2 minutes each leg

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For a more intense stretch, grasp the shin of the lower leg with both hands.

Hold for 2 minutes each leg

 

Hamstring Stretch

(use a towel, strap or theraband to assist with this stretch)

Lie on your back. Hook the towel/band around your foot, and pull your foot towards your face and straighten your leg until you feel a gentle stretch in the back of your leg.  The position of the other leg is dependent on how tight you are.

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Keep the other leg bent if you are tight.

 

 

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To increase the stretch lengthen out the other leg.

Hold for 2 minutes each leg

 

ITB Stretch (use a towel, strap or theraband to assist with this stretch)

img_5879From the Hamstring Stretch, take both ends of the towel/band in the opposite hand, and pull the leg being stretched across your body. Pull the leg slightly towards your shoulder.

If you wish to add more intensity to the stretch, pull the hip of the leg being stretch back towards the ground, while maintaining the stretch.

Hold for 2 minutes each leg

Back & Butt Stretch

img_5788Sitting on your heels, spread your knees so they move away from your body.

Allow your feet to move into a comfortable position, but so that your toes are touching or almost touching.

Push your butt back over you heels, aiming to sit on your heels, while pushing your knees apart.

Fold over your knees, towards the ground, while keeping your butt over or on your heels.

Hold for 2 minutes 

If you would like to view the video of this stretch sequence please click here .

 

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Jody is a pregnancy and post-natal specialist, with tertiary qualifications in exercise science and registered as a Level 3 Exercise Professional with Fitness Australia.
Jody is also a mum of two small children under 5, and therefore understands the demands and challenges of being a mum.
Jody is passionate about educating, energising and empowering pregnant and post-natal women through the provision of safe but effective exercise programs and fitness sessions.
Contact me today to see how I can help you with your fitness and health!
Disclaimer: This article is advice only. All individuals should discuss the suitability of their health and exercise program with their doctor, exercise professional, physiotherapist or midwife.
For further advice about your individual fitness needs, speak to a pregnancy and post-natal exercise professional, women’s health physiotherapist or health professional.

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