by Riley Bestwick

Yeah, we know. Stretching is about as much fun as a root canal or maybe sticking your hand in boiling hot water. Still, if you want to fully maximize your muscle growth, reduce injury, and get rid of nagging aches and pains, stretching – like the dentist – is a necessary evil.

But it doesn't mean we have to run the gamut and try every stretch ever invented by whoever invents such horrible things. All we need are a few "moneymaker" stretches that will give us the most bang for our buck.

We recommend doing the following stretches before training, before bed, before sex...well, before anything really. It's best if they're performed every day.

Hold each stretch for 30 seconds before moving on to the next.

Hip Flexor Stretch

Get some knee padding and drop into a lunge position with both hands overhead.

- Stay Tall. Don’t arch your lower back. Keep your spine neutral. Chest up, shoulder-blades back & down, push your pelvis forward.

- Squeeze Your Glutes. Increases the hip flexor stretch. Squeeze the glute of your back leg as hard as you can.


Hip Flexor Stretch

Bulgarian Split Squat Stretch

Similar to the lunge stretch, the BSS stretches your quads instead of your hip flexors. Set up like you're going to do a regular Bulgarian split squat, but place a pad or mat underneath your back knee. Let your knee rest there for the duration of the stretch.

- Stay tall. Don’t arch your lower back. Keep your spine neutral. Chest up, shoulder-blades back & down, push your pelvis forward.

- Squeeze Your Glutes. Increases the hip flexor stretch. Squeeze the glute of your back leg as hard as you can.

- Look, Ma! No hands! Don't support your legs with your hands. Instead, let them fall to your side.


Bulgarian Split Squat Stretch

Seated 90/90

This stretches your external hip rotators. To do it, sit on a bench and pull your left foot up while pushing your shin and knee down.

- Stay tall. Don’t bend over or slouch your shoulders. Keep your spine neutral. Chest up. Shoulder-blades back & down. Look forward.

- Pull gently. Don’t force the movement. You should feel this stretch in your glutes, not in your knees.

While stretching may not be your idea of a good time, these simple lower body stretches can make you feel and perform better and take less than five minutes to complete.


Seated 90/90 Stretch

This exclusive article (and others) can be found in the latest Wannabebig Serious About Muscle Newsletter - March 24th, 2010

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