by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN
Stretching is an important part of any workout routine. Many people skip stretching before and after a workout, but it’s essential to your body’s health and longevity. It’s no different when looking at stomach stretching.
Stretching before you exercise once your body is warmed up helps loosen up your muscles and prepare them for the activity ahead. It also helps prevent injury by improving circulation and reducing pressure on your joints. Stretching following a training session helps increase flexibility and reduces muscle soreness.
In this article, we are going to look at exactly what stomach stretching is, why it’s important, and the many benefits you can experience through its use.
What is Stomach Stretching?
Stomach stretching is the act of elongating your abdominal muscles. You can do this with the help of an exercise or by applying pressure to your abdomen.
It’s important to stretch your abs because they’re a group of muscles that are easy to overuse. They help provide stability to your body and core, and are activated during exercise as well as even when sitting around to maintain proper posture.
If you don’t take time out to stretch them properly, they can become tight and stiff. This will make it harder for you to move your body through a full range of motion and may cause issues.
Benefits of Stomach Stretching
Stomach stretching is a form of exercise that involves lying on your back and reaching your arms up to the ceiling. You then pull your legs towards your chest, which will increase the tension in your stomach muscles.
The exercise is popular among people who are looking for a way to strengthen their abs and improve their posture.
The benefits of stomach stretching include:
1. Prevent back pain
If you sit at a desk all day long like so many people do and don’t engage in physical activity, this can eventually lead to back pain. A tight stomach leads to poor posture, which increases the chances of lower back pain.
So, if you want to avoid back pain, then make sure that you exercise regularly so that your stomach muscles remain strong and flexible.
2. Improve flexibility
Stomach stretching will help you become more flexible by increasing the range of motion. This will allow you to perform other exercises more easily and safely, as well as make daily tasks easier to complete.
3. Improve core strength
Your core muscles include all the muscles in your abdomen, pelvis, and lower back region. These muscles help support your spine and protect it from injury during daily activities such as lifting objects or bending over to pick something up off the floor.
4. Boost recovery
Stomach stretching helps to improve recovery after intense workouts by increasing blood flow to the muscles. This, in turn, helps reduce soreness and fatigue. Plus, it enhances flexibility, which can reduce muscle cramps and increase energy during exercise.
5. Improve posture
Poor posture is often caused by weak muscles in our core area — the lower back, buttocks, and abdomen. If left unchecked, this can result in poor balance, muscle spasms, and even injury. Stomach stretching exercises strengthen these areas to help improve overall posture and better support your body weight during vigorous activity like running or weightlifting.
When Should You Stretch Your Stomach?
The best time to stretch your stomach is after a workout or any time when your muscles are warm. Stretching cold muscles can cause injury, so it’s best to wait until blood flow increases and the body temperature rises after working out.
You can also do this exercise right before bed, as it helps relax the body and mind for restful sleep — which is incredibly important when it comes to building muscle and improving recovery time.
What Are Some of the Best Examples of Stomach Stretching?
Below are some of the best examples of stomach stretching that you can include in your routine:
Doing sit-ups and crunches
This is one of the most famous ways to work out your abdominal muscles in order to make them stronger. You can do them anywhere, from at home or at the gym.
The exercise requires you to lie on your back and raise your torso off the floor by using your own body weight (added weight can be used if needed for added resistance). This can be done using your hands or arms as support.
Stretching with yoga poses
Yoga is more than just a form of exercise, it’s also a way of life that promotes peace, serenity, and mindfulness. Doing yoga involves various poses that involve stretching in order to improve flexibility and balance while helping to relieve stress and anxiety.
Some examples include the downward facing dog pose, child’s pose, warrior 2 pose (one leg forward), triangle pose (both legs forward), and warrior 1 pose (both feet together).
Cat cow pose
It is one of the best examples of stomach stretching exercises because it helps increase flexibility in the spine, shoulders, and hips. This pose stretches your spine and opens up your chest, allowing for deeper breathing.
Cat cow pose improves circulation and relieves tension in the neck and back muscles by releasing built-up stress. This pose also helps relieve tension in the shoulders by opening up the chest area and improving posture.