These Post-Workout Static Stretches will Super-Charge Your Fitness Regimen
Although most of us fitness freaks know the advantages of warming up before a huge workout session, we often fail to recognize the importance of a proper cool-down. However, the truth is that overlooking your cool down could mean that you’re missing out on quicker recovery times, better muscles, and less chance of aches and pain in the future.
Hanging around in the gym after you’ve finished your workout routine can seem like a major pain – after all, when you’re dripping with sweat, the last thing you want to do is “waste time” winding down instead of rushing into the shower and heading home for a hearty meal (or taking that shower at your home!). However, before you give up on the idea of post-workout stretches altogether, take some time to reconsider the benefits you might be missing out on.
Improved Muscle Strength
Although studies have done little to prove that stretching has a huge impact on your long-term muscle soreness, they have shown that it can be useful in other ways – especially in regards to mobility. For instance, stretching after your workout can help to develop your long-term range of motion, and the better your motion becomes, the more you’ll be able to manage when lifting weights. You’ll also find that a wider range of motion helps you to maintain the right position during exercises, by developing your flexibility.
Furthermore, stretching can also help to reduce your risk of injury and tendon overload over time, so long as you know how to do it right. Static stretches after your workout can help you to become more limber, preventing long-term injuries particularly in sports that require a terrific deal of high-intensity action. So what are just some of the post-workout static stretches you can try?
1. The Calf Stretch
Start with your right foot positioned directly in front of your left foot. If you feel a little wobbly, feel free to grab a study object nearby that can help to give you some support – after a while, your balance should improve, but there’s no shame in helping yourself out at the beginning.
With your left leg straight, and your right leg bent, try to move your hips forwards slowly, keeping your lower back as flat as possible. This should help when you begin stretching your calf. To get the most out of the motion, try to hold the stretch for at least thirty seconds, then switch positions.
2. The Lat Stretch
With your triceps stretched, place one arm behind your head, and the other arm on top of your elbow – applying pressure slowly until you really start to feel the stretch burn. This is another stretch that you should try and hold for about thirty seconds, before switching your arms around and pulling the other arm.
3. Anterior Deltoid and Chest Stretch
This is the perfect stretch for targeting the muscles in your shoulders and chest. Starting with your hands loosely clasped at the small of your back, raise your arms upwards towards your head until you begin to feel the resistance across your shoulders, neck, and chest. When you’ve lifted your arms as far as they’ll go, hold the pose for around 30 seconds.
If you do these stretches before you take off in your car and head home you will have less cramps if any at all. This will give you a chance to hydrate and cool down before you take off. You do not want to have a cramp in your legs when driving. Slamming your foot on the gas or brake pedal is not appealing at all to anyone!
4. Shoulder Joints Stretch
Another golden stretch for working the kinks out of your shoulders when you’ve had a hard weight-lifting workout. We are referring to the shoulder stretch here which uses a simple towel to help wring out tired muscles. Hold your towel in front of you in both hands, then raise your arms upwards until you end up with the towel at your back. Try keeping your hands as close together as possible during this movement.
5. Hamstring Stretch
Stretching your body after a rough workout shouldn’t just be about getting the feeling back in your arms and upper torso. Try this hamstring stretch to make your legs feel better and avoid that lead-weight sensation after a cardio session. Sitting on the ground, spread your legs apart and wrap your hands around your left foot, as though you’re trying to pull your chest down to your knee without moving your leg from the floor. Like the other stretches, hold the pose for thirty seconds, and then switch to the other leg.
6. Groin Stretch
Finally, improve your flexibility by maneuvering your body into a relaxed sitting position, then bring the balls and heels of your feet together. Sitting as straight as possible?bring your knees down towards the floor by using your elbows to push down and bending forwards. Do this about three or four times for the best results. Now you can go home and watch another episode of 24 or The Good Wife after you have probably eaten something of course. Good for you, you have earned it.
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About Benjamin Roussey Benjamin is from Sacramento, CA. He has two master’s degrees and served four years in the US Navy. He enjoys sports, movies, reading, and current events when he is not working online.