Most young athletes are eager to get into the gym and start working out to improve their skills on the field. That is a perfectly valid approach, and most sports can benefit from additional weight training. However, as soon as the training is done, many people start packing up and getting ready to leave. They might find stretching boring, or maybe they think it doesn’t impact their performance. Unfortunately, skipping a post-workout stretch can have a detrimental effect on your recovery and your ability to continue training. In this article, we will talk about the importance of stretching and which seven post-workout stretches you should be doing.
The shoulder squeeze is great for your chest.
What to do before a workout
Thankfully, you won’t run out of exercises you can do before your workout or even as prep for a game. While you can include stretching in your pre-workout routine, there are other things you could be doing to get your body ready. Unfortunately, static stretching won’t do nearly as much good as a light warm-up session.
Getting warmed up and slowly increasing the intensity of your exercises will get your blood flowing and set you in a good mood for a full workout. Any successful athlete will tell you that it takes way more than just raw physical training to achieve the results you want. Depending on the time you have available for training, you can develop a pre-workout routine that suits your needs.
What stretches should you do
There are numerous ways to stretch, frankly far too many to cover in just one article. That’s why we will be looking at all-around post-workout stretches you should be doing every time you finish training. However, if you have a very specific exercise routine, you could ask your trainer or instructor for additional tips. Remember that you should never skip stretches that will relax the muscle groups and tendons you have targeted in your workout.
Stretching doesn’t require any gear and can be done after outdoor workouts as well.
7 post-workout stretches you should be doing
- Shoulder squeeze
You can perform this stretch in a sitting or standing position. Bring your arms behind your back and then clasp them together. Start pushing your chest out, and then hold the furthest extension you can reach. By doing this, you are stretching out your chest, shoulders, and arms. This specific stretch can do wonders after a session of pushups or bench press weight lifting.
- The shoulder stretch
Unfortunately, the previous stretch probably won’t be enough if you have been working your arms a lot. Thankfully, we are going to continue stretching our arms and upper torso. To do this one, you should start by holding one arm outstretched in front of your body and then bending it upwards at the elbow to make an L shape. Then take your other arm and bring it underneath and around the first so that you can touch the palms of your hands. Once your hands connect, start pushing them upwards and outward from your body. Repeat on the other side as well. This will stretch your shoulders and upper back.
- Triceps extension
Raise one arm in the air above your head, and then bend it at the elbow so that you can touch the back of your neck or your shoulder. Place your other arm on the bent elbow of the first and start pushing your arm towards your back. Do this on both sides.
- Butterfly stretch
Now we are moving on to the adductors and thighs. Sit down on the floor, extend your legs forward and bend them at the knee so that the soles of your feet can touch. Bend forward slightly, and pull your feet towards you, all the while keeping your knees down and touching the floor. Besides just stretching your legs, your lower back should also get a nice stretching.
- Quad stretches
For this one, you can move closer to a wall and hold on if you need added stability. Stand up straight, bend one leg back and grab your foot with the opposite arm. Slowly start pulling your foot back as far as you can, and you should feel your quads stretching. Hold the stretched position, and then repeat on the other side.
- Hip stretches
Kneel down on one leg and put the opposite arm down to the floor. Push your other leg back as far as you can while keeping it straight. Slowly arch your back and raise your other arm upward into the air. Start gently pushing from your back and push your hips down into the floor. You will feel your hips, back and glutes stretching. Repeat on the other side as well.
- Toe touch
Sit down on the floor and extend both of your legs forward so that they are straight in front of you. Lean towards your feet while keeping your legs straight at the knees and try to touch your toes. You should feel your hamstrings stretch as well as your lower back. Alternatively, you can do this from a standing position.
Toe touches can also be done against a wall if you have trouble reaching your feet.
The importance of stretching
After you finish your workout, stretches can help your body power down. Bringing your heart rate down gradually is much better than instantly stopping the exercise. Stretching can also help your muscles recover faster by removing tension. Although many factors affect the performance of athletes, most professionals will agree that resting and recovery are the best ways to achieve results when attempting an intense workout routine. Without sufficient rest, you will only be exhausting yourself instead of training at your peak efficiency. Therefore, you should do everything in your power to help your body recover, and that includes dedication to your post-workout stretching.
Stretching needs to be a part of any serious athlete’s workout. However, we understand that many young athletes aren’t exactly sure which drills they should be focusing on. That’s why we put together this article on 7 post-workout stretches you should be doing. If you go through them after every workout session, you are bound to see an improvement in your recovery time, and your results in future training will also improve. What are you waiting for? It’s time to start stretching!
Meta description: Are you constantly sore after your workout? Here are 7 post-workout stretches you should be doing which can help you recover from training.