Stomach stretches are done to stretch the abdominal muscles before and after exercising. There are several different ways to approach stomach stretches. A stretching routine can be done while kneeling, standing up or lying down.
There are four different stomach muscles--the transverse abdominal, the internal obliques, the external obliques and the rectus abdominis. Fitness experts typically recommend warming up each individual muscle to avoid painful strains, tears or other injuries. The stomach muscles give postural support, and a sore or injured stomach might affect someone even while he is simply sitting at his desk. Practicing a diverse amount of stomach stretches could prevent this painful situation.
One stomach stretch starts while lying with the back flat on the ground with the hips and shoulders parallel to each other and the head carefully centered. Keeping her body perfectly aligned, the stretcher will raise her arms above her head and stretch them as far as possible. She will also point her toes, pulling both her stomach and back straight and long. This position is usually held for 10 to 15 seconds, and repeated several times. This stretch can also be done standing up if the exerciser finds herself in limited space.
Some people might want to adopt yoga into their daily stretching routine. One of the popular yoga stomach stretches is called upward dog. The exerciser will begin by lying flat on his stomach. In this position, he can stretch his stomach by propping just his upper body up with straight locked arms. He will then pull his head back as far as he can, looking to the ceiling. This stomach stretch will typically be held for up to 15 seconds and repeated three to five times.
The oblique stomach muscles can warm up through a stretch called the bow. While standing, the person will lift her left hand over her head while she bends sideways to the right. After holding this position for several seconds, she can switch, using her right arm and bending to the left.
More stomach stretches are available to those who have access to an exercise ball. The exerciser can begin by sitting with his back aligned straight against the ball. Using his feet, he will slowly begin pushing his back against the ball, lifting his bottom off the ground and rolling the ball backward against his back. The arms will be placed above the head, and the hands will eventually meet the floor on the other side. The end result will be the person's body forming a bridge over the ball.