Good, Basic Stretching Workout Routines for Men

Good, Basic Stretching Workout Routines for Men

Whether you are an athlete, a body builder or just interested in maintaining your fitness, a good basic stretching workout routine for men increases your flexibility and range of motion, and reduces the chances of injury and soreness after physical activity. Your stretching workout can include a series of exercises to stretch all your major muscles. Yoga stretches will also work groups of muscles with each pose.

Sequence
Because of muscle interdependency, performing your stretching routine in a specific order or sequence will bring you the greatest benefits. The prescribed sequence can vary to some extent, beginning with lower body and then upper body, or working from the top down. Stew Smith of Military.com recommends a basically top-down approach. Smith recommends shoulder shrugs followed by chest and biceps stretches and then arm work consisting of forearm stretches, arm and shoulder stretches, and triceps and lateral stretches. Working down the body, stomach stretches and calf stretches come before the lower back, iliotibial band and hip stretches. The sequence ends with hamstring and thigh stretches.

Basic Stretches
MayoClinic.com recommends a bottom-to-top basic routine with resistance stretches, beginning with the calves. Stand in front of a wall and place your hands on the wall. Lean into the wall and step backward with the leg you want to stretch. Press down on the heel of that leg to stretch your calf muscle. Work your hamstrings with leg lifts and complete your leg work with quadriceps stretches. Sequencing up your body, do kneeling hip flexors followed by standing iliotibial band stretches. Lying knee-to-chest stretches work your lower back. Move up to shoulder stretches -- bringing one arm across your chest and holding it with the opposite forearm, and shoulder towel stretches. Hold a towel behind your back at shoulder height, grasping the towel with one arm reaching behind your back at the waistline and pulling down. Neck stretches and upper-back stretches complete the routine.

Yoga Stretches
Men are generally not as flexible as women, says John Capouya in "Real Men Do Yoga." Yoga exercises not only increase flexibility, but improve strength as well, which is often a motivating factor for a man. Like other types of stretching routines, performing yoga poses in the correct order is important. In "The Principles of Sequencing," Donald Moyer explains how yoga exercise sequences create openings for moving into the next pose. Moyer recommends three sequences, beginning with forward bends, such as Downward-Facing Dog pose, followed by backbends, like the Warrior III pose, and ending with twists, like the Revolved Triangle pose.

Considerations
If your stretching routine is not following aerobic activity, you should spend five to 10 minutes warming up beforehand. Hold stretches for the prescribed length of time, generally 15 to 30 seconds for resistance stretches and 30 seconds or more for yoga poses. Capouya recommends holding strengthening poses -- such as the Side Plank -- for a longer time on the weaker side of the body to increase balance, and to hold lengthening poses -- such as Triangle -- longer on the stronger side of your body, which can be tighter. Do not stretch to the point of pain and don't bounce to deepen a stretch. Check with your medical provider to see which exercises are best for you before beginning a fitness regimen.