4 Best Post-Workout Stretches
When you finish a workout routine, it’s important to stretch to avoid injuries and muscle cramps. In this article, you’ll discover the best stretches for after your workout. Check it out!
Why stretch after a workout?
First and foremost, it’s important to understand the benefits of stretching after a workout, since many athletes “forget” to stretch after exercising and suffer the consequences later. Here are the reasons why it’s crucial to stretch after exercising:
- Reduces the chance of soreness and cramps
- Reduces the risk of common injuries such as tendonitis and sprained or pulled muscles
- Increases blood circulation
- Helps muscles recover from a workout more quickly
- Helps control the loss of muscle mass
- Improves flexibility and tendon elasticity
- Improves general coordination
- Reduces muscle pain from poor posture
- Helps improve body awareness
What are the best post-workout stretches?
Stop thinking of stretching after exercising as an additional routine, and start thinking of it as part of the workout itself. Stretching motions should be gentle and not jerky, held for long periods of time, and, most importantly, progressive in intensity.
Although that feeling of our muscles stretching is the desired sensation, it’s also important to stretch carefully and avoid undue pain. Take a look at these post-workout stretches:
1. Legs and femoral biceps
Sit on the ground or on a cushion and stretch your right leg. Bend your left leg so that your foot is even with your right knee. Breath deeply and stretch your right arm towards your toes, but be sure to move into the stretch slowly (if you only reach your knee or your ankle, that’s okay).
At the same time, press down on your left knee with your left hand. After 30 seconds, change sides. Remember to keep your back straight and your head tilted slightly upward.
This is another post-workout stretch that should not be skipped. Stand up with your back straight and your feet together, then lift your right arm over your head to touch your left ear.
Rotate your neck as if you’re trying to touch your right shoulder, pressing down lightly with your hand. Your other arm should stay relaxed at the side of your body. After 30 seconds, repeat on the other side.
After you finish the second side, bring both of your hands to the nape of your neck, and lower your chin as far as you can. Another good neck stretch is to simply move your head up and down (as if you’re nodding), then from left to right (like you’re shaking your head), and don’t forget to roll your head clockwise, then counter-clockwise.
3. Side stretches
This stretch is also performed standing, but with your legs separated to the width of your shoulders. Your back stays straight. Stretch your right arm up and rest it next to your face. Rest your left arm lightly on your thigh.
Turn your body as far as you can go to the left. Repeat on the other side after 30 seconds.
Don’t forget to include stretches for your abdomen in your post-workout routine, as we often work our abs hard when we exercise. For this one, lay face down on a cushion, with legs and arms extended.
Push both palms down beside your body, and lift up your torso. The idea is to keep your arms stretched and your back straight. Gently move your head up and back. The stretch should look similar to the cobra pose in yoga.
Lastly, remember to add a backstretch to your post-workout routine. With your knees on the ground, stretch your body forward. Bring your arms in front of your head and rest your forehead on a cushion. You’ll feel your neck, spine, and vertebrae start to relax.