Confession- I am not a good stretcher. Don’t get me wrong, I love stretching and it feels amazing and I preach on the importance of full body stretching. But, I’m terrible at it.
I am so terrible at it, in fact that I have had to purposefully set aside time and make myself stretch. Because of my terrible stretching habit, I have lost a ton of my flexibility.
Reason that I’m so bad at stretching is because I have a hard time getting my brain to slow down and shut off.
However, when I set aside time to stretch my body, my workouts are better, my body feels better and more relaxed, and, believe it or not, I sleep better. Plus, my flexibility has improved immensely since I’ve started doing these 17 stretches on a habitual rotation.
Let’s go back the the sleep topic..
Sleep is one of the best things you can do for a healthy lifestyle. Your day quite literally starts in bed, so what happens while you’re in bed is super important.
Here are 17 different stretches that you can do right before bed to help your body relax and get ready for sleep.
You’ll notice that I’m in the gym doing these stretches and these can be done in the gym as well, but again, stretching before bed will give you some awesome benefits.
FULL BODY STRETCHING – CHILD’S POSE
On all fours lower your butt until it is sitting on your calves and relax. Reach your hands to the opposite wall and wiggle your fingers. Deep breaths and allow your body to fully relax.
FULL BODY STRETCHING – DOWNWARD DOG
On all fours and shift your weight back to your heels and push yourself up into a tent sort of shape. Be sure to not over arch your back and keep it nice and straight. Relax back into those heels and breathe deeply
FULL BODY STRETCHING – WARRIOR TWO
In the warrior two pose, your front foot will be flat on the ground with your knee bent and your back foot will be behind you and your back foot will be flat as well. Your arms will be out in a T position and your weight will be more on your front foot.
Tip- Be sure to check that back foot that the arch of your foot is parallel to your heel of your front foot.
FULL BODY STRETCHING – REVERSE WARRIOR
This one is a bit tough, but just relax and work through it. Your feet in the same position as warrior two, and then drop the arm over your back leg and arch your back as shown below.
Only go as far back as is comfortable with your back. This stretch should feel really good and it should not hurt at all.
FULL BODY STRETCHING – RUNNERS STRETCH
Drop down to a plank position and bring one foot forward to be parallel with your hands and let it stretch out those hip flexors.
Follow the below picture and if you need a deeper stretch, drop down to your elbow on the arm that is closest to the bent leg.
Repeat for the other leg!
FULL BODY STRETCHING – REVERSE RUNNERS STRETCH
Coming from the runner’s stretch, sit back on the calf muscle of your leg that was straight behind you and straighten out the front leg to stretch out that hamstring.
Repeat for the other leg.
FULL BODY STRETCHING – CAT/COW
Come to all fours and arch your back like a cat [imagine that] with yoru head down while taking a deep breath. Upon the exhale, relax your back down and let it dip the other directions while bringing your head up where the top of your head is parallel to the ceiling.
Repeat this back and forth motion several times in a slow and steady motion.
FULL BODY STRETCHING – HAMSTRING STRETCH
Sit directly on your butt with your legs out in front of you and your toes pointing towards the ceiling.
While hinging at your hips and keeping your knees straight, bend forward and reach for your toes.
Best practice is to keep your back straight and flat and not arch it.
FULL BODY STRETCHING – SUPINE GLUT STRETCH
While lying flat on your back and your knees bent so that your back is flat against the floor, cross your legs like you’re sitting in a chair. Reaching through the gap of your legs, wrap your hands around the hamstring of the leg that has a foot on the floor and bring your legs up to your chest as shown below.
This will stretch out those gluts after an awesome leg day
FULL BODY STRETCHING – BUTTERFLY STRETCH
Sitting on the floor squarely on your butt, bend your knees and put the bottoms of your feet together. Holding your feet with your hands, hinge at your hips and lean forward gently.
Remember to breath and not hold your breath!
FULL BODY STRETCHING – TRICEP STRETCH
While still sitting on your butt, reach up over your head and bend your elbow so that your hand goes down your back as shown below. This will stretch the back of your arms and if you need a deeper stretch, gently press down on your elbow to give yourself a deeper stretch.
FULL BODY STRETCHING – NECK STRETCHING
You’re still on your butt on the floor and have your legs crossed. Sit up nice and tall and then let your head gently fall to one side allowing the side of your neck to stretch out. Then roll your head forward and stretch the other side.
Repeat this process several times while taking deep breaths.
FULL BODY STRETCHING – SEATED OVERHEAD STRETCH
Last one on your butt! Clasp your hands and reach up overhead. Sit nice and tall and reach really far for that ceiling.
While you’re doing this, take deep breaths and and really try to relax
FULL BODY STRETCHING – WIDE STANCE HAM STRETCH
Alright! On your feet and stand with your feet very wide. Hinge at your hips with your legs straight and “fall” forward. Don’t really fall, okay?
This is an awesome stretch for the insides of your legs and your hamstrings.
If you want a deeper stretch, you can hold onto your ankles instead of having your hands on the floor.
FULL BODY STRETCHING – STANDING SIDE BEND STRETCH
Still keep your feed wide, though not as wide as you had them for the hamstring stretch. Bending sideways at your hips, take the opposite arm and reach overhead and feel that stretch down the side of your body.
Repeat several times each side
FULL BODY STRETCHING – QUAD STRETCH
Alright, bring your feet into a normal standing position. Bend your knee and bring your foot up to your butt and grab onto your foot with your hand. If you need some extra balance, hold your arm straight out in front of you or overhead.
Repeat for both legs!
FULL BODY STRETCHING – BICEPS STRETCH
While standing, clasp your hands behind your back and bend forward at the hips and allow your arms to come up behind you. This should not be uncomfortable, this should be very relaxing, so if it is uncomfortable, raise up just a bit and don’t bend as far.
If you do all of these stretches holding for between 15-20 seconds per one and a few times on each side, it will take about 15-20 minutes. Which is perfect for right before bed.
Dim the lights and stretch it out, then crawl right into bed.
Here’s another quick tip- grab a foam roller and do a mix of stretches and foam rolling. You can grab on Amazon for a really decent price.
I’ve put together a cheat sheet for you for foam rolling that you can grab below.
Flexibility isn’t just about being able to do cool poses and for bragging rights, although those are important.
Flexibility helps improve quality of life and really helps with sore muscles
Remember to never stretch to the point of pain. Stretching should be gentle and should feel so good.
You’ve got this. Enjoy!