The Best Post Workout Stretches
Whether you are someone who has been mastering their daily workouts for a while, or someone who is just getting started, it’s important to show your muscles some TLC by stretching both before and after your workout. Now, we understand how tempting it is to skip out on stretching at the end - especially after a long or intense workout. Even so, and no matter what type of exercise you choose, post workout stretching will help you feel better immediately after your routine as well the next day. In fact, Healthline found that stretching at the end of your workout can help boost your flexibility, reduce the risk of injury, decrease muscle tension in your body, and even improve your performance the next time you work out.
Before we share some of our favorite post workout stretches that target all the key areas of the body, it’s important to note that you should always consult with a medical professional before starting a new exercise or stretching routine. And, as always, listen to your body and do not push yourself past your own limits. If you stretch consistently, you will build up flexibility and strength over time.
Now, here are some simple but effective stretches that you can do at the end of your workout to ensure you are helping your body recover faster from head to toe!
Neck: It doesn’t matter if your workout of choice is an intense cardio routine or a low impact one – your neck is going to need some attention at the end. You can do these stretches sitting or standing based on your preference. Start by tilting your head towards your right shoulder, feeling the stretch along the opposite side of your neck; grab the left side of your head with your right hand to deepen the stretch. Breathe and hold for several seconds. Next, slowly roll your head all the way to the other side, again feeling the stretch along the opposite side of your neck. Move your head back to center, breathe, and repeat the sequence 2-3 times. To close this sequence, drop your head forward, releasing all of the tension you have, then lean back to feel the stretch under your chin.
Arms & Shoulders: This sequence can also be done sitting or standing. Start by lacing your fingers behind your back and pulling your arms behind you. Feel the stretch in your chest and biceps and breathe. Next, form a “t” with your arms by placing one arm across your chest and gripping it with the elbow crease of your other arm. Breathe in and hold as you feel the stretch. Next, grab the elbow of the crossed arm and place your arm behind your head, keeping your head upright and facing forward. Breathe in to feel the stretch. Repeat the same sequence from start to finish on the other side. Finally, simply roll your shoulders back several times to get rid of any remaining tension.
Legs (Quads & Hamstrings): Now, it’s time to stand and focus on your legs! Start with a basic quad stretch by grabbing your foot with your hand and gently pull to feel the stretch. Drop your leg, then extend it outwards and flex your foot while you bend forward with a flat back, feeling a stretch in your hamstring. It’s important to keep your back flat and your abs tight during this stretch in order to get the most from it. Repeat on the other side, then repeat the sequence if you’d like.
Hips & Glutes: Sit down on your floor, preferably with a mat and lay back. Cross your right foot over your left knee and lace your fingers behind your left knee, pulling towards you. You will feel a stretch in the hips and glutes on your left side. It may be a bit intense at first, so breathe into it and really feel the stretch. Relax your legs in front of you and repeat on the other side.
Back: It’s time for the grand finale! Once you complete your hips & glutes, sit up and come to your hands and knees, hands shoulder-width apart and feet hip-width apart. Start the stretch sequence by curving your back towards the ceiling and dropping your head forward. Next, reverse the curve of your back towards the floor and extend your head upwards. Repeat this sequence 2-3 times, or however many times is best for you. For some extra stretching and relaxation at the very end, sit back into Child’s Pose and breathe in and out until you feel totally recharged.
Once you start implementing post workout stretching into your daily routine, you will be well on the way to helping your body recover faster after working out. But, even the most dedicated stretchers will find that they need a little help with muscle recovery from time to time. Our Renew and Recharge topical cream combines the relief potential of arnica and natural menthol with moisturizing cocoa butter and the relaxing scents of eucalyptus and lavender – for relief that’s crafted for all your senses!
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