18 Exercises That Show You Exactly What Muscles You Are Stretching

Stretching is an essential part of any workout routine. It helps improve flexibility, range of motion, and can even prevent injury. But do you know exactly what muscles you are stretching with each exercise?

In this article, we’ll explore 18 different stretching exercises and the specific muscles they target. By understanding the muscles you are stretching, you can better tailor your stretching routine to your specific needs and goals.

Stretching exercises you can do at home

Remember to breathe normally and make sure you are not experiencing any discomfort. Hold each position for 10 to 30 seconds.

1. Stretch Neck Side Muscles

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Muscles targeted: Sternocleidomastoid and upper trapezius.

From a seated position, with your back straight and your left arm supporting you, tilt your head to the left and try to touch your ear with your shoulder. Repeat in the opposite direction.

2. Front Neck Muscles Stretch

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Muscles targeted: Sternocleidomastoid muscle.

Place your hands on your hips, straighten your back and begin to gently tilt your head back. To stretch was stronger, you can help yourself with your hands by placing your hands on your forehead.

3. Pectoral Stretch

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Muscles targeted: Pectorals and Lats.

Stand facing wall and slowly turn away from wall while placing right hand on wall. Repeat with opposite hand.

4. Camel Pose

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Muscles targeted: Rectus abdominus and external obliques.

This stretch is best reserved for people who already have good flexibility. Sit on your heels and place your hands behind you as you push your hips up and forward. Avoid putting too much pressure on your lumbar spine. If you have neck problems, don’t let your head fall back.

5. Neck and Back Muscles Stretch

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Muscles targeted: Trapezius.

Start by standing with feet together. Keeping your spine long, slowly sit your hips back and round your upper back, tucking your chin into your chest.

6. Shoulder Side Stretch

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Muscles targeted: Side Deltoid.

Straighten your arm across your body and gently press with your other hand to increase the stretch. Repeat with opposite hand.

7. Triangle Pose

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Muscles targeted: Work your external obliques.

Start with a wide stance, front foot straight and rear foot at 90 degrees. Place your hand on your front leg or the floor as you sit back into your front hip, keeping your back straight.

8. Down Dog Variation on the Wall

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Muscles targeted: Pectorals and Latissimus Dorsi.

Stand far enough away from a wall or rack so that your body is parallel to the floor when you touch the wall. Move into this position by hanging from your hips and keeping your spine straight.

Once in position, push your chest forward, creating a slight arch in your upper back and stretching your lats and pectorals. If your hamstrings are tight, try bending at the knees.

9. Bend Forward

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Muscles targeted: Work the hamstrings.

Begin this position with one foot in front of the other. Bring your hands to your hips and, keeping your back straight, begin to bend from the hips. Repeat with the other foot in front.

10. Side Bends with Support

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Muscles targeted: External obliques and lats.

With your spine straight, slowly push your hips out to the side while keeping your shoulders externally rotated. Repeat on the other side. Avoid this stretch if you have lower back problems.

11. Glutes Stretch

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Muscles targeted: Work your glutes.

Starting from a seated position, slowly pull your leg toward your chest and rotate your hip outward while keeping your spine straight. Repeat with the opposite leg.

12. Butterfly Pose

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Muscles targeted: Stretch highlights the adductors.

Begin in a seated position, bringing the soles of your feet together and sitting upright through your sit bones. Continue this stretch by pressing down on your knees with your hands.

The closer your feet are to your body, the more you’ll stretch your groin muscles. Move your feet away from your hips and slowly rotate your torso to release your back muscles.

13. Sitting Pigeon Pose

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Muscles targeted: Work your anterior tibialis.

Start by sitting with your feet in front of you. Bring one hand behind you as you externally rotate your hip and bring one foot above your knee. To increase the extension of the hip, slowly lean forward, starting the movement by hinging at the hip. Repeat with the left leg.

14. Seated Forward Bend

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Muscles targeted: Work your glutes, hamstrings and calves.

Sit on floor and keep legs straight and together. With your legs pressed to the floor, slowly bend your torso forward.

15. Spinal Twist

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Muscles targeted: Glutes and external obliques.

This is a great stretch for those trying to manage sciatica. Lie down on the floor. Bend your right knee and move your leg over your body to the left. Gently press with your hand to increase the stretch. Repeat with the other leg.

16. Wide Forward Fold

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Muscles targeted: Abductors and Hamstrings. This is a great exercise to open the hips and stretch the abductors and hamstrings.

Sit on the floor and spread your legs wide. Don’t bend your knees and keep your legs on the floor. Bend forward by sliding your arms over your shins and pulling your torso behind you.

17. Child Pose

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Muscles targeted: Latissimus Dorsi.

Get down on all fours and slowly move your hips backward, trying to touch the floor with your forehead.

18. Hip Flexor Stretch

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Muscles targeted: Psoas, iliacus, quadratus lumborum and piriformis.

Begin in a semi-kneeling position. As you slowly bring your right hip forward, you should begin to feel a stretch in the front of your hip. Grab your rear foot and squeeze your rear buttock to increase the stretch on your hip flexors.

Stretching is an important part of any workout routine, and by understanding the specific muscles you are targeting, you can make your stretching routine even more effective. Incorporate these 18 stretching exercises into your stretching routine to improve flexibility, range of motion, and prevent injury. Remember to always listen to your body and never push yourself beyond your limits. Happy stretching!

Read: Follow these exercises and your body will be flexible at any age

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