When it comes to stretching the body, there are basically eight divisions among which the major muscles are categorized. Be it any part of the body if the stretching for major muscle groups is done, it is sure to relieve the body of the strain and pain. If done regularly over a period of time, these stretches are sure to improve the body flexibility also. The main eight muscle groups are shoulders, arms, chest, abdomen, back, butt, thighs and calves.
Let us look at some of the most effective stretches for major muscle groups.
Stretches for Major Muscle Groups of Upper Body
Stretches for major muscle groups include exercises of various parts of the body. It is important to know the muscles in each section; here we see upper body muscles.
Shoulders: The main muscles in the shoulders are called the deltoids and the trapezius muscles.
Arms: The major muscles in the arms are the ones that fall between the elbow and the shoulders. The one in the front of these are called biceps and at the back are called the triceps.
Chest: The next are the chest muscles, the main muscles in the chest are the pectoral muscles, which are adjacent to the muscles in the abdomen.
The main stretches for major muscle groups in the upper body include the following.
- Arms Across Chest: This is one of the commonest stretches for major muscle groups of the upper body. Place one arm across the chest. Now, place the hand of the other arm on the elbow and pull the arm towards the chest and hold and relax. Repeat with the other arm.
- Biceps Stretch: Extend an arm straight in front of you with your fingers pointing towards the feet and the palm facing away from the body. Now, gently stretch the fingers towards the body. This is one of the most relaxing stretches for major muscle groups of the upper body.
- Triceps Stretch: One of the much needed stretches for major muscle groups of the upper body, is the triceps stretch. Place one hand behind the back above the shoulders, with the elbow in the air. Place the other hand on the elbow and pull down towards the back of the head. Hold and relax. Repeat with the other arm.
- Shoulders and Chest: Stretches for shoulders and chest is equally important to include in the stretches for major muscle groups. Clasp your fingers behind the back with straightened arms. Now, raise the arms as high as possible and bend forward from the waist and hold. This stretch can be done while sitting or while standing and it provides great relief from upper back too.
Stretches for Major Muscle Groups of Abdomen and Back
The main muscles in this region include,
Abdomen: The main abdomen muscles are called the rectus abdominis and oblique muscles.
Back: Coming to the back, there are three major muscles which help the back perform its functions namely erector spine, latissimus dorsi and the rhomboids.
The main stretches for major muscle groups in abdomen and back include the following.
- Flexing Abs: Get down on the floor on all fours with the knees right under your hips and the hands right under the shoulders. Now, arch the back up towards the ceiling (stretching the back muscles), then round the back towards the floor, by letting the belly button droop (stretching the abdominal muscles). This is one of the most popular stretches for major muscle groups for abdomen and back, as it also helps to relax the back.
- Knee Pull: Lie flat on the back and bend the knees upward. Now one at a time pull and press the knee to the chest and hold. Then, take both the knees together and press into the chest, to stretch the back muscles. Stretches for major muscle groups for abdomen and back must include this to keep the back strong and flexible.
- Oblique: Another important stretches for major muscle groups in the abdomen and back. Stretch an arm straight above the head and then bend it in the opposite direction and then try to look over the arm to stretch the oblique muscles.
Stretches for Major Muscle Groups in the Lower Body
The main muscles in major muscle groups in include,
Butt: The butt muscles are called the glutes.
Thighs: Further down the butt muscles are the biggest bones the thigh bones and the muscles here are called the hamstrings and the quadriceps.
Calves: Finally the main muscles in the back of the legs are called the gastrocnemius and soleus.
Some of the best stretches for major muscle groups in the lower body include the following:
- Standing Calves Stretches: Stand in front of a wall, keep one feet in front of the other at about 18 inches apart. Keep the hind leg straight, with the heel on the floor. Now, push the wall to increase the stretch, hold relax and then repeat with the other leg. This is one of the most effective stretches for major muscle groups in the legs and calves.
- Glute Stretch: Sit on the floor with one leg stretched in front of you, bend the other leg and place its heel across the other leg. Now, push the knee towards the outside using the back of the elbow of the opposite arm. This is an excellent stretch for the glute and must be performed in the stretches for major muscle groups.
- Standing Quadriceps: Stand on one leg, grab the ankle for the other leg with your hand and pull the heel close to the buttocks, simultaneously try to push the hips out, in manner that the thigh is perpendicular to the ground, repeat with the other leg. These stretches for major muscle groups help to strengthen the legs and knees.
- Hamstring Stretch: With your legs stretched in front of you, lean your chest towards the leg. This stretches the hamstrings and the gluteus muscles and is one of the most important stretches for major muscle groups in the lower body.