When you finish your workout - what's your next move?
After a tough training session, long run, or workout in general, it can always be tempting to get some much needed rest straight away, or simply do the bare minimum of post workout stretches.
However, not stretching properly after a workout nor paying attention to any muscle tightness, can mean that you’ll be paying the price later on in the day with muscle soreness and stiffness.
By stretching after workouts, you are helping your body get a jumpstart on recovery.
If you're the kind of person who often skips the post workout stretch, don't worry. Here you can find the Force guide to after workout stretches, featuring some of our favourite stretches to do after workout to help cool down.
Benefits Of Stretches After Workout
Including stretches after a workout in your regime may actually have more benefits than you originally thought. Not only can it help prevent you feeling sore and stiff, there are plenty of other benefits too….
1. Greater Flexibility
Regular stretching post workouts help to improve flexibility and reduce the risk of injury caused by lesions of the connective tissue. Equally, carrying out stretches helps relieve your body of stress and built-up tension. Therefore, after your next workout, we highly recommend taking a few minutes to stretch and remove the lactic acid.
2. Better Posture
If your muscles are tight and tense this can result in poor posture. If you stand or sit incorrectly, you will repeatedly place additional pressure and strain on your muscles. Consequently, this can lead to back pain and other types of musculoskeletal pain. A combination of strength training along with stretching exercises is believed to help ease back and shoulder pain. It may also help to correct alignment, which may help improve your posture. If you have any existing back injuries, stretching your muscles regularly may also help and decrease your risk for back injuries in the future.
3. Less Muscle Tension and Lower Stress
Many of us will live incredibly busy lifestyles and undergo stressful periods as we try to balance our work and personal everyday lives. The high levels of stress can cause your muscles to tense up, in turn, this can lead to you feeling as though you are carrying stress in your body. Stretching your tense and tight muscles can help to relax them. In turn, this may help you to feel calmer and lower your stress levels.
4. Improved Blood Circulation
Stretching daily is believed to help you to improve your blood circulation. The increased blood flow to your muscles can help to heal your muscles quicker post-workout. The improved blood flow may also help ensure that you do not experience stiff and sore muscles post-workout.
Best Stretches To Do After A Workout
We recommend using this stretch routine to cool down post-workout, to relax your muscles, improve flexibility and slow your heart rate. For some of these stretches you may want to place a yoga mat down on a hard floor surface.
Watch our after workout stretch video to learn how to cool down after a workout, the Force Fitness way.
1. Buttock Stretch – Hold 10 - 15 Seconds
1. Lay down on your back and bring your knees up to your chest.
2. Crossover your right leg over your left thigh.
3. Hold the back of your left thigh with both hands.
4. Pull your left leg towards your chest.
5. Repeat with the opposite leg.
2. Hamstring Stretch – Hold 10 - 15 Seconds
1. Sit on the ground.
2. Extend your right leg straight in front of you.
3. Place your left foot so that it is touching your right knee.
4. Bend forward and hold your toes with your right hand to stretch your hamstring.
5. Repeat with the opposite side.
3. Quadriceps Stretch – Hold 10 - 15 Seconds
To help you balance, consider holding onto a pole, door, wall or chair for balance.
1. Use your left hand to grab your left foot and pull your heel in toward your buttocks.
2. Ensure you keep your knees close together during this stretch.
3. Repeat with the opposite leg.
4. Calf stretch – Hold 10 - 15 Seconds
For the calf stretch:
1. Step your right leg forward, keeping it bent, and lean forwards slightly.
2. Keep your left leg straight and try to lower the left heel to the ground.
3. Repeat with the opposite leg.
5. Groin Stretch – Hold 10 - 15 Seconds
1. Sit on the floor with the sole of your foot touching.
2. While holding your toes, lean your upper body forward, bending from the hips
After Workout Stretching Tips
- Remember to stretch daily and particularly after an intense workout.
- Hold each stretch for a minimum of 15 -20 seconds for 1- 2 rounds. As you build up your flexibility, you can then hold each stretch longer to deepen the stretch. Ensure that you stretch both sides equally.
- You should not and you should never feel pain. On the occasion that you do feel pain, then you are not carrying out the stretch properly. You should aim to stretch so that you feel a light stretch that you can hold for 15- 20 seconds without excessive pain.
- Ensure you remember to breathe. Do not hold your breath because breathing is necessary for relaxing and deepening the stretches you carry out.