If you are hoping to become more flexible but do not know where to begin, you have come to the right place. Whether you would like to increase your range of motion in your legs or learn some new arm stretches for your post-workout cooldown, there are many flexibility exercises for beginners to try.
Flexibility Exercises for Beginners
The following stretches and yoga poses are a great place to begin your journey to increased flexibility!
1. For Your Calves and Hamstrings: Downward Dog
If you know one yoga pose, odds are it is downward dog. This is one of many great flexibility exercises for beginners because it enables you to stretch throughout your calves and hamstrings while also lengthening your upper body and increasing blood flow to your brain.
To move into downward dog, start on your hands and knees with your shins and palms flat on the ground. Then, push your palms down, elongating your upper body and straightening your legs, pushing your hips toward the sky. Take a few breaths in this pose and feel the great stretch throughout your lower body. For detailed instructions and a few variations to try, check out Cody’s Ultimate Guide to Downward Dog.
2. To Stretch Your Core: Upward Dog
Whether you have done a bunch of core work and need to stretch or you would simply like to increase your core mobility, upward dog is an excellent stretch to start with. This pose will help you lengthen through your core, open your hips, and stretch throughout the front of your body.
To do this stretch, start by lying flat on your belly. Put your hands under your shoulders with your palms on the ground. Next, use your full body strength to push your upper body and the fronts of your legs off the ground. Be sure to keep your legs and glutes engaged and strong in this pose. Take a few breaths here and then lift your hips into downward dog or simply lower your body back onto the ground.
3. To Increase Flexibility in Your Arms: Arm Circles
Whether before a workout or while taking a break from work, arm circles are an optimal flexibility exercise for beginners where you can loosen your shoulders and your biceps. This is a stretch you can do anywhere to leave your upper body feeling great!
To do arm circles, simply extend your arms and move in a large circular motion. Do this 10 times (or as many as you wish) in each direction! You may also try shoulder circles where you do the same circular motion but move your shoulders, not your entire arms, in a circular motion. Doing partial arm circles with a pole or bar is another simple modification for this stretch!
4. For a Great Back Stretch: Cat-Cow
Cat-cow should definitely be on your list of flexibility exercises for beginners. This a yoga pose that can help you stretch your back, loosen your dorsal muscles, and open your shoulders while increasing your flexibility.
To do cat-cow pose, start on your hands and knees with palms and shins flat on the ground. From this position, inhale, engage your core, and arch your back so your spine lifts and rounds into a position where the top of your spine is above your shoulders and hips. This is the “cat” part of the shape. Then, exhale let your spine shift downward and pull your shoulders up and back, bending your back in the opposite direction, reaching your belly button toward the ground. This is the “cow” part of the pose. Move between these two poses 3-5 times or as many as you wish.