Stretching isn’t only a great way to cool down from a workout, but can also help expand your range of motion and help muscles repair more quickly for another workout.
Perform static stretches at the end of your workouts when muscles are still warm and hold each stretch for 20 to 40 seconds to reap the benefits.
Take a nod from our yogi friends, and try using some tried-and-true yoga poses as part of your post-workout stretching routine.
Downward Facing Dog: This stretch improves flexibility in calves, hamstrings and shoulders, stretches the back and elongates the cervical spine, relieving tension in the body and head.
How to do it: Come to your hands and knees with hands directly below your shoulders and knees directly below your hips. Lift your hips toward the ceiling until your body makes an inverted “V.” Draw your heels down to the floor. Keep a slight bend in your knees if needed. Press your hands firmly into the mat and draw your shoulder blades down. Press your chest towards your thighs. Keep the head between the arms (don’t let it hang). Take deep breaths the entire time.
Extended Child’s Pose: This post stretches your lower back and shoulders.
How to do it: Start on all fours. Push back with your hands and bring your rear to your heels. Keep your forehead on the mat. Extend your arms above your head and reach them out as far as you can.
Pigeon Pose: The best hip opener exercise there is, the pigeon pose should be performed on both sides.
How to do it: Start on all fours. Slide the left knee forward toward your left hand and place on an angle on the floor (be mindful of your knee). Lengthen your right leg behind you as back as far as your hips will allow it to open and place the top of your foot facing the floor. Keep your hips square to the floor and keep your body weight in your pelvis.
Butterfly Stretch: This is a great stretch for the inner thigh and groin area.
How to do it: Seated, put the soles of your feet together. With your elbows on the inside of your knees, gradually lean forward and gently press your knees toward the ground.
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