6 NECESSARY Stretches & Yoga Poses to Prevent Injury

These stretches & light yoga-focused exercises are chosen based upon the most common injuries we’ll see in people, which is due to imbalances around the hips and shoulders. A majority of jobs involve sitting at a desk all day; creating a constant flexion at your hips and front delts (shoulders).

These exercises will help promote mobility in these areas so that we don’t risk these injuries when we’re training. Alongside this, they’re not isolated stretches, so we can target multiple muscle groups in one stretch.

Downward Dog 
Focus on maintaining a strong, neutral position for your back when doing this pose. This stretch is great for stretching your hamstrings and calves, opening your spine and shoulders, and promoting ankle mobility.

Hamstring, chest, calf, and lower back stretch

Pigeon & Seated Pigeon
This is great for those who have tight hips and want to work on opening them up. For those who squat and have tightness, this is a great exercise to perform on your rest days or post workout during your cool down. If you don’t have enough flexibility and the regular pigeon pose is too painful, start with seated pigeon pose so that you have more control over how deep you go into your stretch.

Stretch your hips after squats

Reclined Spinal Twist
This exercise is one of my client favorites post workout. This stretches portions of your lower back and hips. It also promotes mobility for your thoracic spine.

Cat Cow & Bird Dog
With cat cow, you get down on all fours and arch your back up and then back down, slowly. This is one of the poses I was supposed to do after having some spinal alignment and lower back issues in the middle of my track season. My chiropractor (check him out if you’re in Springfield, IL) had me doing these which helped immensely and got me back into my sprints.

Lower back and core stretch
An alternative to the Cat Cow is the Bird Dog, which helps with the same issues, but is more advanced and requires more balance and attention when doing the exercises.

Lower back and core stretch

Triangle Pose
You’ll be seeing this in your Saturday morning yoga classes, for sure! Nevermind all of the hippy stuff; it’s actually a great stretch for your hamstrings and chest. This may be a slightly advanced exercise for some. If that’s the case, you can take it down to a seated hamstring stretch and work your way up to hitting the triangle!

Stretch your hamstrings, lower back, and chest

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Lexes O'Hara

Lexes O'Hara is a personal trainer and nutrition coach. Her work philosophy is to teach her clients to, "train, eat, and live like a bad ass." Certifications include NASM CPT and FNS.