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The 21 Best Stretching Exercises for Better Flexibility 3

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Seated Neck Release
Karen Joubert, D.P.T., owner of Joubert Physical Therapy in Beverly Hills, tells SELF that most people tend to forget to stretch the neck. But relieving tension in your neck can make a positive impact on the rest of your upper body, from your shoulders to your spine.
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, or sit down with your back straight and chest lifted.
Drop your left ear to your left shoulder.
To deepen the stretch, gently press down on your head with your left hand.
Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
Stretches neck

Lying Quad Stretch
Lie on one side.
Keep your bottom leg straight and bend your top knee so your foot is by your butt.
Hold your top foot with your hand, pulling it toward your butt.
Keep your hips stable so you're not rocking back as you pull.
Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
Switch sides and repeat.
Stretches quads

Sphinx Pose
New York City-based yoga instructor Shanna Tyler tells SELF that this pose stretches the lower back in a gentle way—plus, it engages your abs, which further supports the lower back.
Lie on your stomach with your legs straight out behind you.
Place your elbows under your shoulders and your forearms on the floor as you lift your chest up off the floor.
Press your hips and thighs into the floor, and think about lengthening your spine while keeping your shoulders relaxed.
Sit up just enough to feel a nice stretch in your lower back. Don't hyperextend, and stop immediately if you start to feel any discomfort or pain.
Stretches lower back, chest, shoulders

Extended Puppy Pose
Start on all fours.
Walk your arms forward a few inches and curl your toes under.
Push your hips up and back halfway toward your heels.
Push through the palms of your hands to keep your arms straight and engaged.
Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
Stretches back, shoulders, glutes

Pretzel Stretch
"I like the pretzel stretch because it stretches multiple important postural muscles in one stretch, which can be a huge time saver," Cyrelson says. You'll stretch the quads of your bottom leg, your spine, and the glutes and hip flexors of your top leg.

Lie on your left side with your head resting on your arm.
Bend your right knee and hip up toward your chest as far as you can, and let it drop to the floor.
Bend your left knee and grab your left foot (use a strap if you can’t reach it) with your right hand.
Make sure your leg and torso remain in a straight line as you gently bring your top shoulder blade toward the floor.
For more of a spinal twist, turn your head to look over your right shoulder.
Stretches quads, glutes, obliques, hips, back

Reclining Bound Angle Pose
"This is an excellent stretch to do both as a gentle warm-up and at the end of a workout as a releasing pose," Murray says. "Due to the passive nature of the posture, it can and should be adjusted based on how the body is feeling to encourage the proper stretch and release." He suggests using pillows or a rolled up towels as bolsters under your knees if you need the support at first.

Lie on your back.
Bring the soles of your feet together and allow your knees to open up and move closer to the floor.
Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
Stretches inner thighs, hips, groin

Standing Quad Stretch
Stand with your feet together.
Bend your left knee and use your left hand to pull your left foot toward your butt. Keep your knees together.
If you need to, put one hand on a wall for balance.
Squeeze your glutes to increase the stretch in the front of your legs.
Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
Repeat on the other leg.
Stretches quads

Knees to Chest
Lie on your back and pull your knees into your chest with both hands.
Keep your lower back on the floor.
Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
Stretches lower back, glutes

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