Perfect your form and reduce risk of injury with the best stretches for weight lifting…
It might be difficult to get too excited about mobility work – whether you’re focusing on hip stretches, shoulder stretches, or anything in between – but spending time on the best stretches for weight lifting can help unlock improved performance and results across the board.
Staying strong and supple means you can maintain a good range of motion for all upper- and lower-body exercises. That range of motion is key, as it allows you to execute every lift with proper form. That means no half reps or forced momentum, and less chance of injury.
The result is greater muscle activation and the strength and size gains that come with it. When you look at it like that, what’s not to like about stretching?
Below, we’ve rounded up the best stretches for weightlifting. Try the routine as a standalone session – ideal for your end-of-week easy or rest day. It should ideally be done in the order shown below. By doing so, you will first open the hips with the three static postures (1 to 3) and then proceed to more dynamic movements.
Best stretches for weight lifting
- Sofa stretch
- Foot to face
- Supine twist
- Elbow to knee
- High plank to mountain climber to twist
- Single-leg toe touches
- High kicks
Keep reading for full instructions on how to perform the best stretches for weight lifting.
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Areas worked: Hips, Glutes, Erector Spinae
Reps: 2-5 mins per leg
Rest: Take as long as you like
- Lie on a mat, with one leg bent and flat in front of you and the other leg stretched out straight behind you.
- Once stable, bring the weight of your body down on your front leg and try to keep your hips square.
- Relax there and breath into the stretch.
- Once you’ve hit 30 secs or more, slowly bring yourself back up and repeat on the other side.
Areas worked: Hips, Quads, Calves, Erector Spinae
Reps: 2-5 mins
- With your feet shoulder-width apart, toes turned out slightly and feet completely flat on the floor (heels down), squat down to the ground as deep as you can go.
- Keep your weight even in your feet and tuck your chin into your chest.
- If you can’t do this because your calves and hips are too tight, grab a bench and use this as an anchor instead.
Areas worked: Hips, Quads
Reps: 2-5 mins per leg
- Begin with one foot behind you on a bench, your front knee on the floor and one foot flat on the ground in front of you.
- Assume a good posture and hold this for as long as you can, then change legs.
Areas worked: Glutes, Hips, Erector Spinae, Abs
- Lie flat on your back and as you sit up bring one leg up and across your body.
- Grab your shin and pull it towards your face.
- Release back to the start position and go again on the other side. That’s 2 reps.
Areas worked: Glutes, Hamstrings, Erector Spinae
- Lie flat with your arms out to your side (palms down). Lift one leg in the air, keeping it reasonably straight, then drop your leg across your body and down to the ground.
- Keeping the opposite shoulder as close to the ground as you can, return the leg to the start position and do the same with the other leg. That’s 2 reps.
Areas worked: Erector Spinae, Hips, Pecs, Anterior Deltoid, Core
- Lie on your front with your arms out to the sides (palms down).
- Lift one leg backwards as high as you can, bend the knee and, while twisting your torso, drop it down on the opposite side of your body, aiming to get your foot flat on the floor and knee pointing up to the ceiling.
- Feel the stretch for a moment, then return the leg to the start position. Now go on the other side. That’s 2 reps.
Areas worked: Erector Spinae, Glutes, Core, Traps, Delts
Reps: 10 each side
- Assume an ‘all fours’ position on the floor. Lift one hand and the opposite knee off the ground slightly.
- Touch your elbow and knee underneath you and then explosively donkey kick the heel backwards and punch the arm out in front.
- Slowly connect them underneath you again and repeat the process for the desired reps. Change sides.
Areas worked: Erector Spinae, Triceps, Pecs, Hamstrings, Hips, Quads, Glutes, Calves, Lats, Rhomboids, Delts
- From the high plank position, hop your feet off the floor and bring one foot up to the outside of your hand. Whichever foot is in line with your hands, lift the hand on the same side up towards the ceiling.
- Open your chest fully and feel the stretch before returning your hand to the floor.
- Hop the foot off the ground again and return it to the start position.
- Now do the same thing with the other foot and arm. That’s 2 reps.
Areas worked: Glutes, Erector Spinae, Quads, Calves, Hamstrings
Reps: 10 each leg
- Standing tall, lift one foot off the floor slightly and begin to bend forward.
- Keeping hips level, touch the toes of the leg you’re standing on with your opposite hand.
- Keeping your balance, come back to the starting position and, without putting your foot down, go again for another nine reps, then switch sides.
Areas worked: Hamstrings, Delts, Pecs, Lats, Calves, Glutes
Reps: 10 each leg
- Stand tall with one leg behind you and the opposite arm up in the air.
- Swing your back leg forwards and bring your hand down to connect with your toes mid-air.
- Keeping your balance, swing your arm and leg back to the start position and, without touching the floor, go again for another 9 reps.
- Switch sides.