Five Stretches for Staying Injury Free

Olympian and Cross Fit legend Tia-Clair Toomey knows a thing or two about staying healthy while working to get fit. “The Fittest Woman on Earth,” Toomey has made a career out of weightlifting and exercise, and she’s also proactive about stretching as a means to stay injury free and mentally balanced.

Her daily stretching routine is made for anyone, not just world-class athletes, and was featured in Men’s Health.

“The first three stretches work the lower body, starting with a seated straddle. Toomey sits with her legs placed as wide as is comfortable. “As I slowly breathe into the stretch, I slowly get a little deeper, I can take legs wider,” she says. “This really hits my adductors, and I feel like whenever I get lower back pain, this is a really great stretch to do and takes a lot of that pressure away.”

The second stretch is a single-leg forward fold. From a seated position, Toomey stretches one leg out in front of her, tucks the other inward towards her body, and then leans forward onto the extended leg, holding for 3 to 4 minutes. “This one really hits the hamstrings, it’s one I do if my back, my glutes or even my hamstrings are blowing up throughout a workout, or just sore in general,” she says. “Having tight hamstrings can put a lot of pressure on the glutes, which will then tighten up and put a lot of pressure on the lower back.”

Next up is a lunge, which targets the hip flexors and quads. “You want to make sure your knee and your shin is nice and lined, you don’t want your knee going over your toes or behind your foot,” she says. Then Toomey twists back and grabs her other foot with the opposite hand.

Moving onto the upper body, Toomey sits with her hands facing backwards behind her, and slides forward to place a stretch on her chest, biceps and forearms, holding for 3 to 4 minutes.

The fifth and final stretch is one which Toomey recommends for anyone who has been spending even more time than usual with their shoulders hunched inwards over a computer or phone over the last several months.”

Stretching is great for our bodies, but it’s also great for our minds. “Within our really busy lives, we tend to forget and we don’t actually understand the importance of stretching,” Toomey says. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re young and you’re active, or you’re a little older, I think spending at least 10 to 15 minutes a day stretching your muscles and taking that little bit of time for yourself, focusing on your breathing, is so crucial to having a really nice balanced mental state in order to get on with your day.”