This article is a transcribed edited summary of a video Bob and Brad recorded in April of 2023. For the original video go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pt5IeRJ4kSM&t=355s
Mike: In today's world, where most of us are spending time sitting, like we are now, and staring at our screens, it's no surprise that things become tight and inflexible.
Brad: So, we are gonna show you 7 stretches that you can do to combat the tightness that is going to occur in your body as a result of all this sitting. They are excellent stretches. You can do them here, you can do them there, and they all work.
Mike: And Bob does them every day. These are his stretches.
Brad: Okay, the first stretch, we’re going show you three versions, is a hip flexor stretch. Bob is going to show us. So, first of all, on a bed, bring both knees up, this sets the back, and then allow one leg to come down so it comes over the edge of the bed while holding the other knee up. That locks the pelvis and the low back in place, focusing the stretch on that hip flexor. Bob's bringing his leg down and if he pulls his foot towards the bed or under it, you feel a better stretch, don't you Bob?
His eyes are starting to bug out, he's feeling it.
Brad: Okay, let's go to the other two options. The second option is not as complete, however, you can do it while you're sitting at your desk. Bring one leg over to the side of your chair, and bring that knee down. Tighten your abdomen so your pelvis tilts back and you'll feel a better stretch in that hip flexor. And you can hold it there, for 15 to 30 seconds. I'm feeling a nice stretch right now. Make sure you do both legs.
Mike: And the third option to stretch a hip flexor, is to go find some stairs. So I'm going to be stretching my right one. You can bring your left leg up, either the first step or second step, however flexible you are, and you're going to lean forward. Make sure to keep an upright posture and the pelvis neutral. You don't want to be leaning forward because you're not going to feel the stretch in that hip flexor. Hold it for 30 seconds. And switch to the other leg as well.
Brad: Outstanding job, Mike. Stretch number two. We do have two options for this. In the seated position, just simply lean back into your chair, arms out, like the W. Stretch back, keep your chin kind of tucked in, and then you can roll back. If the chair is too tall, a really nice option is if you happen to have a ball that's a little squishy and soft, put that behind your back at the level that feels good
and that really adds some nice stretch. It's more specific. Do this for about 15 seconds, or three or four repetitions. What's another option?
Mike: So, I just want to mention we're stretching the pecs here, because Brad forgot. Also the front of the shoulders. You can grab a belt or a stick of sorts, whatever you have laying around. And simply, if you can bring your arms back over your head and stretch the pecs. You can even do this in the doorway. Go through an open door and just put your hands on each side. Hold it for 30 seconds. It helps combat that flexed-over posture you have most of the day on your laptop or your phone.
Brad: Pectoralis major. Yeah, I did forget that.
Mike: And minor. In the next stretch, we're going to do our calves. You can either do it in a long sitting position, or Brad will show you an alternative. We're using the Bob and Brad stretch strap, to perform this. So, simply hook around the top of your foot and you're going to pull your toes towards your nose. This strap is nice because say you have arthritis in your hands or poor grip, you can just feed it through the loops and pull without having to grip it. Hold this for 15 to 30 seconds and stretch those calves out.
Brad: If you happen to have a cane around, particularly with the handle, it's a very nice option. Just hook the handle under your foot, you have to have a shoe on and pull and you get a nice stretch. It works well in the chair, or in the seated position on the bed.
Brad: All right. And the old reliable, using the wall stretch, stretching the back of the calf. Keep the heel down, toe pointed towards the wall, stretch, and hold. Make sure you do both legs, hold 15 to 30 seconds, or five repetitions will be fine.
Mike: The next stretch, we're going to hit our rectus femoris, which is a front hip muscle as well. And we're going to do what's commonly known as the couch stretch. We're pretending the stool is the end of your couch. I am kneeling on a pad so it's not as rough on my knees. And what you're going to try to do is bring your back foot up onto the end of the couch. I'm using a stool here instead. And you're going to sit up as upright as you can. If it's really tight, you might be more forward flexed and it might be stretching enough, but you want to try to get to a nice upright position, or as close as you can. Hold there for 15 to 30 seconds and do it on the other side.
Mike: Now, Brad is going to show you a different way if you're unable to get into a kneeling position.
Brad: In the prone, if you have a strap or a belt, you can put it around the ankle or the foot like this, lie prone, and then all the stretching is done here with your hands pulling the foot upward. And there we go. I can feel it stretch. If you bring the knee up a little bit more, it gets more aggressive. That's a nice way to do that.
Brad: For people who are very agile and nimble, you simply stand up, grab your foot and pull back, if you feel comfortable doing that safely. Let's go to the next one.
Mike: Next we're going to do a latissimus and a side abdominal stretch, or your obliques. Now you can do them in two different ways. Brad will show you the second way next. I'm just hanging from, say a pull-up bar, whatever you have. We're just going to do one side at a time and you're going to pull down and you can see my hand is slowly getting over my head more, stretching the latissimus and the other side oblique. And then you can switch to the other side after 15 to 30 seconds. If you have trouble doing this with just one arm, or you're hanging too much, you could certainly try it with both. You're just not going to be able to get that extra stretch in there.
Brad: Right. So, he mentioned we have another option. A lot of people don't have something to hang on. Simply take a, we have the Booyah Stik here, a broomstick, a piece of dowel, or PVC pipe, put it on the side of your chair right where you're working, and go off to the side like this. We don't want to go forward. That's actually a good stretch, but we're going to go to the side to emphasize that latissimus muscle. Hold it for 15 to 30 seconds, make sure you do both sides so you don't get crooked and lopsided.
Brad: Alright, let's go to the next one, Mike. Alright, this is number six and this is for those people who feel they have, or people tell them, "Boy, you're getting a hunchback, or that tech neck," whatever you want to call it. But your getting that forward flexed posture happening, which is very unattractive and produces a lot of pain in the neck and shoulders, or it can or will. So, we need to straighten that out. Simply take a towel roll, you can use the old sock roll, bundled up, or a bigger towel roll. Down on the floor works best on a firm surface.
Mike: And I have the Backpod, which is another option. It costs some money,
but it's very helpful if you can afford it. So, what you're going to do is simply put that in the area that is kind of flexed forward, in your thoracic spine here. And you're just going to lay down on it. If this is too aggressive, you can put a towel over it, or you can try socks first and you're just going to lay here. You can get stretched as much as you want. Some people, like my father who is 69 years old, his head is a few inches off the ground when he lays on it. So, try to relax, and get those neck muscles to stretch.
Mike: You can use a pillow. Put your arms down to the side. You can just lay here like this if this feels aggressive enough. You can bring your arms up, you can bring them up to the side, whatever you want. I kind of like to move around. It's kind of like a nice little back massage.
Brad: Yeah. And again, feel free to use towels. Wrap them up. You can always find options that are going to work.
Brad: All right, we got number seven to go yet.
Mike: The last stretch is the hamstrings. We're going to show three ways to do this, again. So, I am acting like I'm sitting on the edge of the bed. The right leg is the leg I'm stretching. You're going to keep it nice and straight, toes as straight up as you can, and you want to have a nice upright posture. The more back I am, I'm not feeling a stretch at all. Get as upright as you can. Use your hands to support yourself. Bring your chest up and try to hold this there. I have very tight hamstrings. I can feel this already. Brad, do you want to know the seated option?
Brad: Yes, at your desk simply bring your chair back. Now, if you have really tight hamstrings, you'll just be able to straighten your knee out. Again, shoulders back, a good straight back, and lean forward, bringing your sternum towards your knee, not your head. Don't round your back out. Stretch that hamstring. In my case, this doesn't work for me. I like to put another chair or stool under here. Do the same thing and it works. There we go. Hold about 30 seconds.
Mike: Another option is standing, if you're flexible enough. Just bring your foot up on some type of object you have. Keep your knee straight, and again you can bend forward. Don't round your back. Keep a nice flat back and just stretch there. The more you lean into it, the more you're going to feel it.
Brad: This is one of my favorite stretches. I love this hammy stretch.
Mike: I do this on my cat tower at home. It's a good height!
Brad: We don't need to know about those things. That's personal.
Mike: Not telling you what I'm wearing when I do it, but I do it. (Bob laughing)
Brad: Let's carry on. Once again, if you would like to contribute any comments about stretches that work really well for you, make sure you comment below and we'll be happy to read them, as well as everyone else. We’ve got seven stretches. You may only want to do two or three of them.
Mike: Pick which muscles are tight for you. There's certainly more. Tell us what you like.
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