5 Wall Stretches to Increase Flexibility

By Dawn Marcotte , last updated December 9, 2011

Wall stretches are stretches that utilize a vertical surface, usually a wall, to help stretch muscles. These stretches can be used for legs, shoulders and even back muscles. Here are 5 wall stretches to increase flexibility in these areas.

Leg Wall Stretches

Many runners suffer from shin splints and other leg muscle cramps. Stretching before a run and doing stretches in between runs will help alleviate this pain. The first exercise is for shin splints, pain in the calf muscles. This is a simple stretch. Stand at arm length away from a wall with both feet flat on the ground. Step forward with the left foot and lean toward the wall, keeping the right foot planted flat on the ground. When done correctly there should be a feel of the muscle pulling in the back of the right foot. Hold the stretch for a count of 30 seconds and switch legs. Repeat twice for each leg. This stretch is quick and can be done almost anywhere. Repeat daily and over time the calf muscle will become very flexible.

Another common wall stretch for runners to improve the flexibility in their legs is a hamstring exercise. This exercise requires a doorway and a wall. Lay on the ground so that one leg is vertical against the wall and the other leg can swing down through the doorway. Start with one leg vertical against the wall and the knee held straight. Hold the other leg next to the first leg and slowly lower the free leg down. This will stretch the hamstring and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.

Shoulder and Chest Wall Stretches

When the chest muscles or arm muscles are tight there are wall stretches to help improve flexibility in these areas too. A simple chest stretch requires a corner in a wall. Stand about 10 inches away from the corner of the wall. Bend both elbows and place forearms against the walls on either side of the corner. Keep arms and feet in place and lean in towards the corner until a feeling of stretching in the chest muscles is felt. Repeat 5 times.

This stretch is good for shoulder muscles. Stand about 10 inches away from a wall. Place hands on the wall at shoulder level. Slowly walk the hands up the wall with the fingers until stretching is felt in the shoulders. Repeat 5 times.

Back Wall Stretches

Many pregnant women suffer from tight back muscles. This stretch will help relieve this tightness in that area. Stand about 10 inches away from a wall. Lean against the wall with a rolled up towel between the shoulder blades. Point your chin down and inhale. Push your shoulders, neck and head back against the wall until you feel a stretch between your shoulders. Hold for 5 seconds and then exhale. Relax back into the starting position. Repeat three times.

These 5 wall stretches increase flexibility in several areas of the body. They are only a few of the many stretches that can be used to increase overall flexibility.

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