Five Easy Stretches That Work

Studies about the benefits of stretching are mixed, but one thing that’s not in question is that stretching improves flexibility, which may improve your performance. Better flexibility can decrease your risk of injuries by helping your joints move easily through their full range of motion. Here are five easy stretches you can do before a workout, hike, or just to start your day.

NECK: Lower your right ear to your right shoulder. Lift your right arm and gently apply pressure with your left palm to the left side of your head increasing the stretch to your neck. Your left arm should dangle at your side with finger tips pointing toward the ground. Repeat on the other side.

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Take Care of Your Lats

latissimus dorsiIf you’ve ever rowed a boat, done a pull-up, or deadlifted weight, you’ve probably felt the effects in your lats. Your Latissimus dorsi (lats) are the broadest of the main muscles in your back and are located in your mid/lower back.

The muscle is responsible for extension (rowing, swinging your arms as you walk), adduction (pull-ups, chin-ups, or lifting a heavy object from a shelf above your head) and rotates the arm toward the body’s midline (like when you fold your arms over your chest) and serves a minor role in assisting other muscles.

While your lats perform important functions, they also are largely responsible for holding the shape and contours of your midsection and chest. Developed lats make for a trimmer appearance.

For those into anatomy, here’s the official scoop on the lats:

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