10 flexibility exercises to make you lean

BEING flexible is, well, a flex we all aspire to, after all, one can hardly exude sex appeal without being limber and malleable. And to get to this stage, one has to practise specific exercises and moves to stretch the limbs.

Is your goal to move like a dancer while getting to your fittest self? Fitness trainer Demario Johns says these 10 flexibility exercises will help you get there.

Hamstring stretch

How to execute: Lie on your back in front of door jamb or piece of similar furniture. Put one leg up, leaving it slightly bent, and extend the other leg on the floor. Move closer to the door jamb and slowly straighten the upper leg. Take deep breaths and hold this position for 30-40 seconds.

Press-up back extension

How to execute: Lie on your stomach. Put your elbows on the floor to support your shoulders and hold this position for 20 seconds. Repeat eight to 10 times.

Calf stretch

How to execute: Stand with one leg behind the other, plant your heels firmly, then slowly bend your knee at the front. Hold for 20 seconds and then repeat on each side for three holds.

Partial squats or half squats

How to execute: Stand in front of a chair with your hips shoulder-width apart, then lower yourself to a sitting position without touching the chair. Ensure your knees are behind your toes and your core is tight. Do three sets of 10 to 12 repetitions.

Table pigeon pose

How to execute: If you've done yoga, you're probably familiar with the pigeon pose. This stretch is the same thing, except that you use a table, which makes it a bit easier to perform and allows you to stretch out your muscles from different angles. Start by placing your leg on a tabletop (you could also use your bed) with the knee bent at 90 degrees. Place one hand on the table and one hand on your foot for support. Lean forward and hold for 60-90 seconds. Then lean left to the 10 o'clock position and hold for 60-90 seconds. Then change to the other side and do the same.

Barbell bridges

How to execute: To maximise this stretch, lie on the ground with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.

Put a padded barbell across your hips and grab it with an overhand grip about shoulder-width apart. Raise your waist off the ground while squeezing your glutes until your hips are aligned with your body. Return to the starting position, and complete three sets of 15 to 20 reps.

Hip flexor quad stretch

How to execute: Kneel on one knee. Lunge the other foot forward to a 90-degree angle. Tuck your buttocks tightly under your hips. Hold this position for 30-40 seconds and repeat four times.

Trunk twist

How to execute: Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart. Twist your upper body to the side and turn to the centre. Twist to the other side. Do three sets of 20 repetitions.

Triceps stretch

How to execute: Stand with your feet apart and extend arms over your head. Bend your right hand and place your palm on your back. Use your left hand to push down your right hand. Remain in this pose for 45 seconds. Do four sets of this stretch.

Forward fold

How to execute: Stand with your feet together and bend forward. Use your hands to hold the back of your legs. Hold this position for 45 seconds to two minutes. Repeat four times.


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