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Beginner and Intermediate Stretching Strap Routine

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Welcome to your stretching strap guide!

What You Need:

1. Yoga Mat Or Towel
2. Stretching Strap
3. Cushion Or Pillow
4. Water

A Few Tips To Get You Started:

• Make sure to wear comfortable clothing that does not restrict your movement in any way.

• Try to stretch before and after any exercise to increase muscle recovery.

• Choose a practice area that is flat and fairly quiet.

• Do not eat a heavy meal before practicing.

• Rest any time you feel dizzy or faint and them come back to the practice at another time.

• Using props for comfort and balance is highly recommended.

• Be patient with your practice, flexibility takes time.

• Have fun!

Why Is Stretching Important?

Stretching muscles is an incredibly important part of a healthy lifestyle. As you workout, your muscles sustain micro tears which help to build strength. Stretching allows your muscles to elongate and recover much faster. Additionally, you will build healthier joints and increase your overall range of motion.

How To Practice

• Your stretching practice can be done before and after exercise. It can even be done as a stand alone practice.

• You can practice individual stretches or practice them together as a complete stretching practice.

• Practice slowly and mindfully.

• Hold each stretch for 30 seconds to begin and increase to 60 seconds as the stretch becomes more accessible.

• If pain arises, discontinue that stretch for the time being.

• If you are just beginning, use the strap hand holds that are a bit closer to the ends of the strap and slowly bring the hands further down as your flexibility increases.

Practice Structure

These stretches can be done independently or as a full practice. If using the stretches independently aim to pair them with movements that work those areas. For example: if you have been exercising the shoulders, use the Shoulder Opener stretches. If you have been exercising the legs, use the stretches that correspond to the muscles in the legs.

Warming Up

If you are just finishing a series of exercises your body will be warmed up. However, if you are just practicing your stretches you should warm up the body before doing so.

Warming up the muscles is important to avoid injury. Cold muscles are less inclined to stretch.

Here are several suggestions for warming up the body before stretching: Jog or run in place for 5 minutes. Complete 10 rounds of jumping jacks. Complete as many burpees as possible in 60 seconds. If you practice yoga, you can complete 6 rounds of Sun Salutations. Completing one or more of the above exercises will warm up your body and help protect you from injury.

Seated Shoulder and Chest Stretch

This stretch is excellent for stretching the muscles across the chest, upper arms, and back. This stretch can be done both seated or standing. You can use the hand holds on the strap or just grasp the strap in both hands.

If sitting on the floor is uncomfortable you can sit on a cushion to elevate the hips. If discomfort continues this can be done in a chair.

Sitting up straight bring your left hand into the top loop of your strap. Allowing the elbow to point upward, let the strap fall behind the back.

Reach your right hand behind the back until you can grab the strap.

Slowly walk the right hand up the strap until you begin to feel like you can’t reach further.

Allow your hands to pull on the strap in opposite directions until your chest broadens.

Draw both elbows back, assisting the shoulder blades in coming closer together

Hold for 30 seconds before switching sides.

 

Shoulder Range Of Motion Stretch

This stretch is a great way to increase your shoulder range of motion. You will receive benefits of stretching the muscles of the chest and back as well. A healthy range of motion in the shoulder joint will significantly decrease chance of injury and will maintain joint health as you age. 

Sitting up straight, your hips can be elevated or this posture can be done from a chair.

Bring the strap directly in front of you body, place a hand on each end of the strap beginning with you arms wide.

Slowly raise the strap as you breathe until it comes above the head.

Slowly exhale as you begin to lower the strap behind the back.

As you begin to feel tension, hold there for several breaths and then release the strap forward to the front of your body.

Complete 4 rounds of this movement, going only as far as feels comfortable to begin.

As your range of motion increases, bring your hands closer together on the strap.

The closer the hands get the more difficult this exercise will become.

As continued flexibility occurs you can allow the strap to lower all the way behind the back.

Seated Side Stretch

The seated side stretch elongates the lats and obliques. Much like the seated shoulder stretches, this stretch can be done seated, elevated on a cushion or from a chair. Be mindful to keep both hips pressing evenly down into the seat as to not allow one to lift up higher than the other.

Similar to the Shoulder Range of Motion Stretch, begin with the strap
directly in front of the body.

Using a wide hand hold on the strap, make sure there is no slack in the strap between the hands. 

Slowly raise the strap over head.

Gently tilt to the right.

Keep your chest open, facing the front of your mat.

Allow your left side body to lift up towards the ceiling.

You can look up or down depending on what feels comfortable for your neck. Do your best to not allow you right side to collapse, instead aiming for a C-shaped bend to the spine.

Breathe deeply as you hold for 30 seconds before switching sides. This can be practiced once per side or several times on each side depending on your needs.

Seated Twist

This seated stretch helps to stretch the side body muscles and elongates the
muscles of the back. Sitting up straight as you twist will assist in getting a
deeper range of motion. Much like the seated side stretch, try to keep
both hips evenly pressing into the seat.

Similar to the Shoulder Range Of Motion Stretch, begin with the strap directly in front of the body.

Lift the strap to shoulder height with hands about shoulders distance apart on the strap.

Slowly as you exhale, twist towards the right.

Hold for 30 seconds before returning forward and then twist to the left.

You can do this once per side or through several rounds.

 

Standing Quadricep Stretch

This standing stretch not only targets the quadricep, it also aides in building balance. If you find your balance inhibits your stretch you can place a hand on the back of a chair or counter top for assistance.

Begin by standing with feet hips width distance apart from one another.

Bring your right foot into the last loop of your strap.

Slowly lift your heel up towards your glute, bending the knee.

Bring the other end of your strap over the right shoulder. Create tension by pulling on your strap with both hands while gently pressing the top of your foot into the strap in the opposite direction.

Keep your bent knee pointing directly down towards the ground. Hold for 30 seconds before releasing.

Standing Hamstring Stretch

This standing stretch is great for targeting the hamstring and other muscles across the back of the leg. Aim to keep the foot flexed with the heel pressing forward as much as possible.

If balance is an issue this stretch can be done while seated. The goal is to have the leg straight in front of the body at hip height, as you begin try keeping the leg a little closer to the ground until flexibility develops.

Begin by standing with feet hips width distance apart from one another. Bring the sole of your right foot into the middle loop if the strap.

Holding on to opposite ends of the strap in the left hand. Pull the strap until the knee draws towards the chest.

Slowly extend your right leg straight forward. Try to keep the leg straight. Hold for 30 seconds before releasing. Switch sides when you are ready.

As flexibility increases your hands can reach further down the strap.

Standing Inner Thigh Stretch

This standing stretch is great for targeting the muscles of the inner thigh. As the leg is straight you can also gain benefit from stretching the hamstring. If balance issues arise a chair can be used to rest a hand on. Additionally, the knee can be bent and the leg can be opened to the side without extending the leg straight.

Begin in the Standing Hamstring Stretch. Bring both ends of the strap into your right hand to begin.

Slowly allow the right leg to open up towards the right side of the room. Your left arm can rest on the left hip or extend out to the side for balance.

Press the right leg as straight as possible. Hold for 30 seconds before switching sides.

 

 Single Leg Thigh and Hip Stretch

Much like the standing quadricep stretch, this targets the muscles of the upper leg with the added benefits of increased hip mobility. If any pain or discomfort arises from the knees, place a towel or padding beneath the knee for added support and comfort. 

Begin in a kneeling position. Bring your right foot forward until there is a 90 degree bend to the right knee.

Bring the last loop on strap around your left foot, with the opposite end of the trap over your left shoulder.

Much like the standing version, allow the top of your left foot to press into the strap while the hands pull the strap over the shoulder.

Allow your hips to sink forward until you feel a stretch across the top of the left leg.

Hold bottom line for 30 seconds before switching sides.

Seated Forward Stretch

This seated stretch will tackle the muscles across the backs of both legs. If legs can not be straightened, elevate the hips with a pillow or cushion. A small rolled towel can be placed under the knees for support.

Begin seated with both legs extended straight forward. Bring the middle of the strap around the soles of both feet.

Place each hand through a loop on the ends of the strap. Flex both feet, pressing them into the strap firmly. Sit up straight and breathe for a few rounds of breath. When you feel ready slowly walk your hands down the strap closer to your feet, stopping when you feel a stretch across the legs. Keep the back as straight as you can until your bottom two ribs meet your upper leg. As that occurs you can allow your head to lower towards the shins.

Seated Wide Leg Stretch

This seated stretch will tackle the muscles of the inner thighs and hamstrings. Elevated hips will allow for legs to be straight. If flexibility is limited, your legs can start closer to together and can widen over time.

Begin seated with both legs extended to the sides.

Place each foot through the loops at opposite ends of the straps. With both feet flexed, press into the strap.

Hold the center of the strap with both hands and create gentle tension.

As flexibility increases, the hands can slowly move down the strap closer to the feet.

Hold for 30 seconds, release and repeat several times.

Seated Boat Pose Stretch

This seated stretch brings length to the leg muscles as well as a stretch to the chest. Sitting on a cushion or pillow can help with any back pain. If legs can not be fully extended, they can remain bent at the knee with the feet lifted from the ground. 

Begin seated with both legs extended straight forward.

Bring the middle of the strap around the soles of both feet, holding opposite ends of the strap in each hand.

Slowly lean back into your seat, until the feet can raise away from the ground.

Slowly extend the legs upward until they are completely straight. Lift the chest slightly. While allowing the the neck to remain free of strain.

Hold for 30 seconds before returning to seated.

Reclining Piriformis Stretch

This reclining stretch will help to open the hips and stretch the deep piriformis muscle. Stretching in a reclining position allows for a deeper stretch with less strain. 

Begin reclining on the back with both feet resting on the ground.

Cross the left ankle above the right knee. Place a loop of the strap around your left foot. Hold a loop close to the foot with the right hand.

Bring your left hand to press into your left inner thigh. Slowly lift the right leg away from the ground, until the foot floats just above the ground.

The right leg can begin to press the left leg closer to the chest. Only go as far as you need to feel a deep stretch in the left outer hip.

Hold for 30 seconds as you breathe
slowly.

Switch sides when you are ready.

Reclining Single Leg Stretch

This reclining stretch will help to stretch the hamstrings without creating any tension in the lower back. Slow progression is the key here, starting with a straight leg and slowly drawing it up until it is perpendicular to the body. 

Begin reclining on the back with both legs extended forward.

Bring the right foot into the last loop on the strap. Allow the rest of the strap to be held with both hands.

Slowly start to extend the leg straight up towards the ceiling. Be mindful to allow slack to the strap if the knee bends.

Provide gently tension by using the hands to draw the leg closer to the body.

Breathe slowly for 30 seconds before switching sides.

Reclining Single Leg Inner Thigh Stretch

This reclining stretch will help to open the inner thigh muscles. If having the leg extended feels stressful or uncomfortable, you can place a rolled up blanket or cushion in the space between the ground and your upper leg.

Begin reclining on the back with both feet resting on the ground. Bring your right foot into the last loop on your strap while your right hand holds the middle of the strap.

Reach your left are out to the side for balance.

Slowly allow your right leg to open up to the side until your right arm and leg are both fully extended.

Aim to keep your right leg at hip height.

Hold for 30 seconds before switching sides.

Reclining IT Band Stretch

This reclining stretch will help to stretch the IT band. Try to keep both hips on the ground to isolate the stretch into the side of the leg you are stretching. 

Begin reclining on the back with both feet resting on the ground.

Bring your right foot into the last loop of the strap. Hold the strap in your left hand. Allow your left leg to straighten against the ground.

Slowly straighten your right leg across the body. Using the left hand to guide the leg.

The right arm can reach out to the right side of the mat.

Draw your right toes up towards the left shoulder until you feel a stretch across the side of the right leg.

Hold for 30 seconds before switching sides.

Thank You and Happy Stretching!

As you make your way through this guide, you can practice the stretches individually or linked together in whatever way feels best for your body! While it is best to stretch after your exercise, if you can incorporate stretching into your weekly routine 2 to 3 times a week you will feel the most benefit.

Here are a few final tips for you: Be mindful of how your body feels as you stretch. If you feel pain, stop. Your body knows best when you move.

Breathe deeply in every stretch. Flexibility takes time and doesn’t come over night. Enjoy your new found flexibility and openness.

Click HERE to buy a stretching strap