After exercise, your body is in a weakened state. Although you may be eager to go home and indulge in a luxurious hot bath or shower, focusing your recovery energy on getting some gentle stretching done would be wise.
This will help you recover faster from your workouts and lower your risk of injuries. Here are some post-workout stretches that can help you get the most out of your workout session:
Benefits of Stretching After a Workout
- Stretching helps prevent injury. When you stretch, you increase your range of motion and reduce the risk of injury by improving flexibility in your muscles and joints.
- Stretching can also improve circulation. When the blood vessels in your body are open and relaxed, they’ll be able to carry more oxygen to all parts of your body—including those that need it most after a workout or any other kind of physical activity (like walking around).
- This means that your muscles will get a boost when they’re at their most pliable!
Top 5 Best Post-Workout Stretching Exercises
1. Lunge with Spinal Twist
- This is a great exercise for your transverse abdominals and works out the hip flexors. To do it, start in a lunge position with both feet flat on the ground.
- Then cross one leg over the other so that you’re in what’s called an “L” shape.
- Next, reach down toward your foot and then up to grab onto either ankle with both hands—this will help stabilize your spine while stretching out those muscles!
2. Quadruped Thoracic Rotation
- This exercise is a quadruped thoracic rotation, which means you’re lying on your stomach with one arm straight up and the other bent at 90 degrees.
- Spread your arms out in front of you as you lay on your stomach. Lift both legs so they are parallel to the ground (but not touching).
- Then rotate both arms upward, bending from the waist as far as possible without forcing yourself into an uncomfortable position. Once rotated, hold for 30 seconds before repeating on the other side.
3. Lying Pectoralis Stretch
- Lay on the floor with your legs extended and your palms facing down to complete this exercise.
- Bend both arms so that they are parallel to the floor, and place them behind you on your back.
- Make sure you are using the correct muscles of your chest: pectoralis major (the pec muscle), not triceps!
- Now squeeze at the center of each shoulder blade and pull them together as tight as possible while keeping a straight back throughout this process.
- Don’t overstretch or bounce; focus on getting tight for about five seconds before moving onto another part of this stretch, where it gets more difficult or challenging for beginners who might not have performed this type of movement before.
- Laying on the ground with your legs straight and your feet together is a good place to start.
- Make sure your back is flat, and then slowly bring both knees up to meet the ground, keeping them as close to each other as possible.
- Keep your arms at your sides or directly underneath you (depending on what exercises you’re doing).
5. Child’s Pose
Child’s Pose is a great way to stretch your hips and buttocks. It also tones the abdominal muscles, which helps with digestion and elimination. To do this stretch:
- Cross your legs in front of you so that you are sitting on each knee. If you need assistance, put your hands on top of your thighs.
- Inhale deeply through the nose as you bend forward from standing until the body forms a 90-degree angle with arms extended over the knees or floor (or as low as possible). Keep your head upright; do not strain your neck or face muscles while doing this Pose!
Don’t forget, even if you are not a person who likes to stretch often (and we don’t blame you), it is still important to do so after a workout. Stretching will help you recover faster, relieve some of the soreness in your muscles and joints, and prevent any injuries from occurring. Do this by stretching before or after exercising so that you can start off feeling stronger and healthier.
If you are suffering from sports injuries, contact Dr. Kevin Crawford, Sports Medicine Doctor in Lubbock, TX. Sports injuries can range from sprained ankles to chronic knee pain and more. Follow Dr. Crawford on Facebook.
By Dr. Kevin Crawford, Lubbock Sports Medicine Doctor and Orthopedic Surgeon.
Here’s to your health!
Click for more information about Dr. Kevin Crawford, Orthopedic Surgeon
Dr. Kevin Crawford