The 6 Most Effective Post-Workout Stretches – LifeSavvy

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After a good workout, there is nothing more beneficial than stretching. It’s the best thing you can do for your hard-working muscles because it helps them stay flexible and strong. It can also increase your mobility and range of motion, and improve your recovery time.

Experts agree that you should stretch even if you don’t exercise regularly. Of course, it’s even more important if you’re putting some strain on those muscles on a regular basis. These are some of the most effective stretches you can do after any workout.

Standing Forward Bend

Any type of standing forward fold will be extremely effective after your workout, as you’re using gravity to naturally stretch your legs and back. Unlike a sitting or lying forward fold, there are no signs of force or pulling sensations. You are literally “letting loose” and allowing gravity to do all the work for you.

Start standing tall and lean forward, letting your arms reach the floor. Whether it hits the ground or not is not important. It’s simply about letting your muscles stretch naturally. If your hands can’t touch the floor, you can rest them on your knees or just let them dangle, relaxing your upper body on your legs.

Keep your legs straight without locking them and allow a slight bend in your knees. This will help you avoid overloading the tendons behind your knees. Hold for at least a minute, breathing deeply and feeling the stretch in your hamstrings, calves, and lower back.

When you’re ready to come out of the stretch, bend your knees and slowly return to standing.

downward facing dog

Woman performing a downward facing dog pose on a rooftop.

Karla Tafra

This amazing yoga pose stretches your entire back as well as your legs. It is also accessible to anyone, from beginners to advanced fitness enthusiasts.

Start in a plank position, with your hands under your shoulders and your legs active. He raises his hips and pushes them diagonally back, straightening his legs. You should feel your entire spine stretch.

Move your shoulders away from your ears and feel your neck muscles relax as you push the ground away from you. Use your shoulders as leverage to further stretch your back muscles.

You can hold here or “walk your dog” by bending one leg, then the other, then alternating every few seconds. Hold your dog upside down for at least a minute and take long, deep breaths until he feels the stretch.

The runner’s lunge

Woman performing a runner's lunge stretch on a rooftop on a sunny day.

Karla Tafra

Whether you’ve done some cardio, focused on squats, or played a game of tennis, it’s important to stretch your leg muscles. A runner’s lunge is a very effective stretching exercise that works your hamstrings, calves, and hips. You can also get a deeper stretch with each breath.

Start on all fours with your hands below your shoulders and your knees directly below your hips. Place one leg between the palms of your hands and stretch the other one behind you. You’ll engage your quads as you lift your knee off the ground.

Using the palms of your hands and the ball of your foot behind you for leverage, push off the ground and reach deep. Keep your spine straight and chest open as you hold for at least 30-60 seconds, then switch legs.

You’ll feel the stretch in your hamstrings on your front leg and your quads and calf on your back leg. Take a deep breath in and out and try to focus on stretching each leg as far as you can.

hip flexor stretch

The hip flexors are the muscles on top of the quadriceps. They are responsible for flexing your legs, which means they help you lift your legs. Due to our modern and more sedentary lifestyle, the hip flexors tend to get tighter than they should. This can cause your back to overcompensate, resulting in lower back pain.

Most exercises, especially the ones you do on leg day, don’t work in your favor either. In fact, those types of routines tend to stress the hip flexors even more, without increasing their range of motion.

This is why adding a hip flexor stretch after your workout can be so effective. It can improve both blood circulation to these muscles and their function.

Start with a runner’s lunge, dropping your back knee to the ground. He raises his torso and puts his hands on his front knee. Take a big inhalation, and as you slowly exhale, let your hips drop down, driving your front knee away from you.

You should feel the stretch in your posterior hip flexor as well as your quads. The more you allow your hips to drop, the more intense the stretch will be. Hold for at least a minute, carefully lifting your torso out of the pose, then repeat with the other leg.

a shoulder stretch

woman stretching shoulders on a bench in the park

Karla Tafra

No matter what kind of workout you just did, your shoulders were definitely involved. Stretching them will help relieve tension in your neck, the space between your shoulder blades, and your entire upper back.

Start in a standing or sitting position, extend your arms in front of you, and then interlock your fingers. Take a deep breath in, and then push your interlocking fingers away from you, stretching your entire upper back.

You can let your head drop toward your chest to increase the stretch in your neck, or simply look straight ahead. Hold for a minute and then let your shoulders relax completely as you drop your arms to your sides.

triceps stretch

Another important upper body muscle group that we often forget to stretch is the triceps. This variation will also help you open up your chest and stretch the entire front of your body.

Start standing or sitting and raise one arm toward the ceiling. Bend your elbow and let your arm drop behind your head.

Bend the other elbow and lower it behind your back, while trying to grab the fingers of the other hand. If his hands aren’t touching, you can grab his shirt or use a towel instead, as shown in the video above.

Take a deep breath in, and then, using the connection of your fingers or the strength of your grip on your shirt, open your elbows and allow your chest to fully expand. Feel the stretch in your triceps and your entire chest as you exhale. Hold for at least 30-60 seconds.

If you’ve been exercising for a while, you’ve heard how important it is to stretch those muscles afterwards. Regardless of the type of exercise routine you’ve completed, these six basic positions will help your muscles recover so they can stay flexible and strong.

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