Every athlete knows the importance of limbering up, whether you’re training for a marathon or embarking on a gentle jog. Warming up your muscles pre-workout and cooling down post-workout increases flexibility reduces muscle soreness and helps to prevent injury. Plus, it’s a great way to clear your mind and relax. Here are five Skinny Jeans School must-do stretches to incorporate into your fitness routine.

The lunge-and-twist

Dynamic stretches increase your coordination and flexibility, so it’s good to include a few in your warm-up routine. To lunge-and-twist, take a wide stride forward with one foot and bend your knees until you’re near the ground. After you’ve lunged, twist your upper body in the direction of the lunge (i.e. if your left foot is forward, turn your shoulders to your left side) to stretch those hip flexors more intensely. The lunge improves your range of motion and stretches muscles all along your legs, and the addition of a horizontal twist improves your balance and makes your body work harder. Winning!

Knee pulls

Knee pulls are also great for balance — and super easy. Just bring one knee up, grasp it with both hands, and pull it upwards and inwards to touch your chest. Hold the pose for a few moments, balancing on the other leg. Knee pulls are best performed pre-workout, as they open up your stride and get the blood flowing around your legs. They’re great to do first thing in the morning too to get yourself ready for the day.

Downward dog

A classic for a reason, downward dog stretches your calves, feet, hamstrings and lower back. It’s great for cooling down muscles after a workout, relaxing your body and mind. It’s also a very versatile stretch, which can be made more or less intense by how deep you bend. Rock from side to side to really work those kinks out, or even incorporate it into the beginning of your workout with some downward dog push-ups. Not only is it a classic, but it’s one of the easier stretches to do.

Hamstring stretch

Use this stretch to cool down at the end of a long workout. Lie on your back and reach one leg up to the sky, stretching all the way down the back of your leg. Point your toes downwards to deepen the stretch. For best results, use a rope to pull your feet a little further down. This will increase your flexibility, range of motion, and stretch out built-up tension in your legs.

Did you know if you sign up for Skinny Jeans Schools 8 Weeks To Weight Loss Success programme you’ll get access to exclusive exercise videos, technique tutorials and fitness tips! All ready to get you started with a fitness programme that works for you and your goal. Find out more here.