Stretching After Your Workout
When your workout is finished, you may be in a hurry to get back to work, or simply exhausted. However, the investment of a few minutes spent stretching after your workout will pay generous dividends.
Stretching after your workout will help you to improve your flexibility and range of motion, helping your body to get even more out of subsequent workouts. These few minutes will potentially help you to experience less delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
These few minutes of stretching will also help you to eliminate the lactic acid in your muscles, easing today’s muscle fatigue and tomorrow’s inevitable soreness. You’ll recover faster, which means you’ll be back at full speed sooner. Try to set aside a few minutes to stretch after your workout, and you’ll soon be taking your workouts to a whole new level.
Here are a few ways to stretch after your workout. Be sure to hold each stretch for 15-30 seconds and repeat several times.
Back: Begin on your hands and knees, with a neutral spine. Your knees should be hip-width apart and your hands shoulder-width apart. With your abs engaged, envision pulling your bellybutton into your spine. Your head and neck should fall naturally between your arms. Slowly let your abdomen fall and repeat.
Neck: Relax your shoulders as you sit upright and tall. Lower your head to the right, your ear towards your shoulder and feel the stretch. Reset. Now slowly roll your head down and forward, as if to rest your chin on your chest. Reset. Finally, lower your head to the left, your left ear towards your left shoulder.
Hips and Glutes: Lying on your back, raise one knee until your shin is parallel with your hips. Hug the knee and interlace your fingers, pulling the knee close to your body, then across your body to the opposite side. Repeat with the opposite leg.
Quadriceps: Standing with your feet hip-width apart, feet parallel and back straight, reach back and grab one foot with its corresponding hand. Repeat with the other leg. Struggling with balance? You can hold onto a wall with this one to make it a little easier. Alternatively, you can even do this one while kneeling until you build greater balance and flexibility.
Hamstrings: In a standing position, with both feet flat on the floor and knees straight, raise your arms and lower your upper body to the floor as if to touch your toes. To make this one a little more challenging and extend your reach, you can do this from a small step or position your feet together. To make it a little easier, spread your legs further apart. While you are in this position, a little side to side stretch will also help you to work your inner thigh too.
Chest & Biceps: In a standing position, place your hands behind your back, interlace your fingers and raise your arms out behind you as much as you can. Don’t expect to lift them very high, this is a tricky one.
Triceps: Begin by raising your right arm over your head and drop it behind you at the elbow. Grab your right elbow with your left hand and pull the right arm deeper, stretching the tricep muscle.
A few minutes spent stretching after your workout will also help you to avoid injuries and potential rehabilitation. If regular stretching is not easing your post-workout pains, give us a call. Our Ottawa-based physiotherapists can help you to relieve pain, improve mobility and take your workout to the next level.