Total body stretches

Do your muscles a favour and stretch after your workout.
Published 16 November 2015

Total body stretches


Workout warm down
Stretching is a vital part of any workout. Not only is it a great way to improve muscle flexibility, but it improves joint mobility and helps reduce muscle tension and soreness. Make sure you factor in the time for it at the end of your exercise routine. It’s also a great way to help you wind down and relax post-workout.

Safe stretching
Only stretch when your muscles are warm, just after you’ve finished your workout. Stretching while warm helps to prevent injury, improves posture and helps stop soreness the next day.

Hold it
You should be doing static stretches. That’s where you stay in each stretch for 15 to 30 seconds, holding each position until you feel some mild discomfort. Complete all six stretches during a session.


1. Side stretch

Stretches: Your side muscles

How-to: Stand with your feet together and your arms straight overhead. Press your palms together with fingers extended upwards. Inhale as you reach upwards. Exhale as you bend your upper body to the right. Take five slow breaths. Slowly return to the centre. Repeat on the left side.

Side stretch

2. Cat stretch

Stretches: Your back

Equipment: A mat or towel

How-to: Kneel down and place your hands shoulder-width apart, knees hip-width apart and your back flat. Engage your abdominal muscles and round your back, pushing it towards the ceiling. Tuck in your head and point your chin towards your chest. Hold for a few breaths then slowly return to the starting position.

3. Shoulder stretch

Stretches: Your shoulders and chest

Equipment: A towel

How-to: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Reach your left arm up, bend at the elbow and reach the fingers down your back between your shoulder blades. Bend up your right arm and reach behind you to try and grasp your left fingertips. If you can’t reach, take hold of a towel. Hold for a few breaths. Repeat on the other side.

Shoulder stretch

4. Hip flexor stretch

Stretches: The front of your hip and thigh

Equipment: A mat or towel

How-to: Step your right foot forward into a long lunge and lower your left knee to the mat. Rest your hands on your front thigh and lean forward with your hips. Hold for a few deep breaths before swapping sides.

Hip flexor stretch

5. Calf stretch

Stretches: Your calf

Equipment: A mat or towel

How-to: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Lunge forward with your left leg. Lean on the left thigh. Keep the right leg straight and press the back heel into the floor to feel the stretch down the calf. Swap legs to repeat on other side.

Calf stretch

6. Abductor stretch

Stretches: Your inner thighs

Equipment: A mat or towel

How-to: Sit up tall, bring the soles of your feet together and let your knees splay out wide. Take hold of the outside edges of your feet or ankles. Lengthen your spine so that you’re not hunched and draw your knees down towards the floor.

Abductor stretch