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Fitness

Flex Time: Stretching Guide to Loose and Limber Muscles

Follow our quick stretching guide to test your tight spots and loosen up your knots.
Obliques flexibility test Obliques

Tight obliques and less range of motion in your lower back tend to go hand in hand; back stretches alone may not be enough, experts say.

The Test
Holding a pen in right hand, stand with feet hip-width apart with your back and butt (and heels, if possible) against a wall. Reach left arm up and overhead against wall as you side bend to the right; slide right hand down thigh toward knee. Place a pen mark as far down the leg as you can reach while keeping shoulder blades flush with wall. That's the score for your left obliques. Switch sides and repeat to get the score for right obliques.

Good (3 points): Pen mark is at mid-knee or lower.
Fair (2 points): Pen mark is at top of knee.
Poor (1 point): Pen mark is higher than knee.

Revolved Crescent stretch Stretch It Out: Revolved Crescent

Get on floor in full push-up position (arms extended, body forming a straight line from head to heels). Step left foot forward between hands, and lower right knee to mat. Lift chest and bring hands together in prayer pose. Keeping palms together, rotate torso to cross right elbow to outside of left knee. Hold for 8 to 10 breaths, pressing elbow and knee toward each other on exhale. Return to start. Switch sides; repeat.

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