Post Workout Stretches to Improve Your Results

Post Workout Stretches to Improve Your Results

Stretching before and after every workout is just as important as the workout itself. If you’re exercising and straining your muscles, but you’re not doing anything to help them recover, you’re bound to hurt yourself. A strained muscle is no joke, and can even set you back from all of the progress you’ve worked so hard to make. So if there’s something you can do to improve your performance and prevent injury, why wouldn’t you do it? Stretching is easy and relaxing; it’s the perfect way to warm up and cool down before and after every workout.

The routine you perform before you exercise doesn’t have to be super intense. Think of it as a way to limber up your body and prepare for a kick ass workout. Spend about 5 to 10 minutes doing dynamic stretches. This is a form of movement that isn’t about holding a stretch; it’s a simple way to take your body through a range of motions to prepare for your activity. After you’ve crushed your workout, it’s critical to spend about 20 to 30 minutes performing static stretches. Static stretching is the complete opposite of dynamic stretching. These types of stretches require you to hold a stretch for an extended period of time, which helps heal your muscles and improve flexibility. 

10 Reasons You Should Stretch Before & After Every Workout

1.       Stretching prepares you for a strenuous workout. Adding a brief stretch sequence before your workout can drastically improve your overall results.

2.       It promotes good blood circulation in your muscles.

3.       A good stretch sequence helps to increase body awareness which helps you focus on each specific muscle during a workout.

4.       Stretching increases your range of motion and promotes flexibility, which further enhances your workout and decreases your risk of injury.

5.       It helps prevent muscle strains; pre-stretched muscles resist stress much better than un-stretched ones.

6.       Just like your muscles, stretching helps alleviate the pressure put on your joints during exercise.

7.       Exercise has a lot of impact on your back, especially your lower back. Stretching helps reduce the risk of back injury/pain.  

8.       Stretching is the best way to reduce muscle soreness after exercise.

9.       After a workout, stretching reduces muscle tensions and helps your body feel more relaxed.

10.   Listen up, ladies! Stretching can actually help reduce period pain. If you’re putting off a workout because you just can’t handle the cramps, do some stretches to help you power through.

Top 5 Post Workout Stretches

Need some inspiration for post workout stretches? Below we’ve listed 5 of our favorite stretches with a brief description of how to perform them.

Calves & Hamstring Stretch

While in a seated position, extend both legs out in front of you. Bend your left leg and turn it out so the bottom of your foot is resting against the inside of your right leg. Fold forward from the hip, reaching for your right foot with your right hand. If you can reach your toes, gently pull them towards you. If you can’t, don’t worry! You’ll get there eventually. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Release and repeat on opposite side.

Hip Flexors Stretch

Start off in a kneeling position. With your right leg, take a large step forward so that you are in a lunge position. Be sure your knee is not further forward than your toe. Keep your torso upright and push your hips forward so you feel the stretch in your back leg. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Release and repeat on opposite side.

Glutes Stretch

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Bring your right foot up and rest your ankle just above your left knee. Slowly bend your left knee so that you are in a single leg squat and gently push down on your right knee with your right elbow. Hold this position for 30 seconds. If you’re struggling to balance, focus your attention on a spot directly in front of you. Release and repeat on opposite side.

Chest & Biceps Stretch

Stand tall with your feet shoulder width apart. Interlace your fingers behind your back and straighten your arms. Slowly lift your arms up behind you while keeping your back straight and your shoulders down. Make sure your shoulders are relaxed and away from your ears. Hold this position for 30 seconds and release.

Back Stretch

Start on your hands and knees with your hands shoulder-width apart, knees hip-width apart, and abs engaged. Keep your back in a strong but neutral position. Contract your abs and arch your back as if pulling your belly button into your spine. Slowly release and repeat for 30 seconds.

Always remember to perform your stretch sequence on a yoga mat or other soft/padded surface. And always be sure to perform a variety of stretches, primarily focusing on the muscles you trained that day. Happy stretching!

By: Sydney Daly-Weber

Holly MacKinnon