“I used to train so much and never stretched besides quickly before I got started,” says jet-setting DJ and influencer Brendan Fallis. “I'm now dedicating at least an hour a week for an intense stretch session and focusing daily on my own time.” These days, he says, he sits straighter, walks a little taller and not only feels stronger but also travels better. And he's not alone. Guys who take their fitness seriously and keep up on the latest, greatest advances in wellness are looking to limber up.
Especially if you find yourself sitting at a desk most days. Sure, you're off your feet but prolonged sitting sessions can wreak havoc on your body. You tighten your hip flexors while slumping your shoulders and your posture pays the price. But if you start to incorporate a few vital stretches into your daily routine, not only will you feel the difference but you'll start to notice positive changes in your body too.
According to the American Council on Exercise, stretching has been found to enhance athletic performance, while decreasing stress levels and improving blood flow and circulation. By minimizing wear and tear on your joints, you'll boost your muscular function, reducing your risk of injury. Say goodbye to pesky aches, stubborn knots and hello to bigger muscles and greater flexibility. If you're tired of waking up in the morning achy or constantly tight and sluggish, it's time to start stretching. All you need is a foam roller. After all, you've got nothing to lose, right?
A great stretch for the morning that will open your body up for the day, or later in the evening to work out the day's tension. Start by lying down on your back, aligning the foam roller underneath your spine—feet on the ground and knees bent. With your palms up, outstretch your arms with your hands and elbows touching (or nearly touching) the ground. Keeping your shoulders down, hold a static chest stretch with arms out like the letter “T”, then bring your hands toward your head like the letter “W.”
Get down on all fours and place a foam roller (or pillow) under your left knee. Lift your right knee and place it behind and to the left of your left calf. Rock your hips back and forth for two minutes. You should feel your left hip stretch. Switch sides and repeat.
Upper Back Stretch
Now turn the foam roller perpendicular to your spine. Lie back so your hips are on the ground and your upper back is on the roller. Clasp your hands to support your head and slowly allow your upper back to stretch backwards over and around the roller.
Get Professional Help
Want some help stretching out? The Stretch Zone is a national chain of studios that offer practitioner-assisted stretching to help increase flexibility, mobility and range of motion.