Why Should You Stretches When Training Calisthenics

Stretching is essential in calisthenics training as it helps prevent injuries, improve performance, aid in muscle recovery, enhance body awareness, assist in injury rehabilitation, and promote relaxation and stress relief. It increases flexibility and range of motion, reducing the risk of strains and injuries, while also improving body positioning and technique during exercises. Stretching after workouts reduces muscle soreness and facilitates faster recovery. It’s important to perform stretches correctly, at the appropriate time, and gradually progress to avoid overstretching and injury.

Which Muscles See The Biggest Benefit From Stretching

While you should stretch and warm up before every exercise or workout session some muscles benefit greatly from long term stretching. These muscles include:

  • Hamstrings
  • Quadriceps
  • Hip Flexors
  • Calves
  • Shoulders

Stretching these muscles can allow for a greater range of motion across many different exercises and improve your mobility. Over time stretching can help you achieve goals like touching your toes, and performing a bridge.

Level 1: Seated Hamstring Stretch

To perform a seated hamstring stretch, sit on the floor with your legs extended. Bend one knee and bring your other foot towards your inner thigh. Lean forward from the hips, keeping your back straight, and reach towards the foot of the extended leg. If you can hold your foot that’s great, if not don’t worry you can hold onto your calves. Hold the stretch as long as you can then switch legs and repeat.

Typical Routine: 3 sets of 30 seconds.

Level 2: Standing Lat Stretch

Stand straight with your arms above your head. Keeping your hands together and arms straight above your head lean as far as you can to each side and hold this position.

Typical Routine: 3 sets of 15 seconds

Level 3: Standing Chest Stretch

Stand straight up and reach both your arms behind your back making your hands hold onto each other. The lower down your back you connect your hands the easier it will be to make the grip. Next, roll your shoulders backward and push out your chest.

Typical Routine: 3 sets of 10 seconds

Level 4: Cobra Pose

Lay on the floor facing the ground and place your hands just above your hips. Extend your arms and push yourself upward while looking straight up to the sky. If done right you will feel the stretch in your lower back. Hold this position for as long as you can.

Typical Routine: 3 sets of 15 seconds

Level 5: Butterfly Stretch

Sit on the floor and bring your feet together in front of you. Pull your feet as close to your body as you can and using you arms grab onto your feet holding them together. Now press your knees down towards the floor and lean forward. The more you lean forward the deeper the stretch however this does require more flexibility. Hold this stretch for as long as you can.

Typical Routine: 3 sets of 20 seconds.

Level 6: Overhead Tricep Stretch

Stand straight and bring 1 arm upto your head placing your bicep against your ear. Bend your arm so your hand falls behind your head and with your other arm reach up and grab the bent arm’s elbow. Begin pulling and you will feel the stretch in that arms tricep. Repeat on the other side after holding this stretch as long as you can.

Typical Routine: 3 sets of 15 seconds.

Level 7: Knee To Chest Stretch

Lay on your back and pull 1 leg towards your chest. Bend your knee and once you are unable to move your leg closer to your chest grab hold with both arms and keep pulling. This exercise will stretch your thighs while also activating your core. Hold your knee against your chest for as long as you can.

Typical Routine: 3 sets of 10 seconds.

Level 8: Toe Touch Stretch

A classic stretch that is often forgotten as we grow older is the toe touch. From a standing position place your feet together and reach downward with the goal of touching your toes. You will feel this stretch most behind you knees. Hold this stretch as long as you can. If you can’t touch your toes yet reach as far as you can. Overtime you will be able to reach closer and closer to the ground until you are able to comfortably hold onto your toes.

Typical Routine: 3 sets of 10 seconds.

Level 9: Shoulder Rolls

This stretch can be done from either a sitting or standing position. Relax your arms by your sides and slowly roll your shoulders backward popping your chest forward. You can also reverse the rotation rolling them forward which for some can be more painful but lead to improved mobility overtime.

Typical Routine: 3 sets of 20 repetitions

Many intermediate and advanced calisthenic skills require a strong core and flexibility. Try pushing yourself further by learning these isometric exercises.