One of the most important parts of your workout is the end. And it’s a shame that most people don’t give it as much credit as is due. The post-workout routine should be as planned, as carefully exercised, and as closely monitored and measured as any other exercise you do in the actual workout.
Your body has just taken a beating and is depleted and in stress mode. You need to perform some post-workout stretches and movements to release the tension in your muscles. Too much tension or an imbalance on the strain of the muscles can lead to knots and radiating pain throughout the body.
Many people actually get confused thinking that stretches should only be done pre-workout. They’re actually just as beneficial for your post-workout routine as well.
Try these simple movements to increase your flexibility, improve your circulation, prevent pain, and elevate your energy levels.
Sit on the floor with your legs together and stretched out in front of you. This will pull and stretch your hamstrings to help them retain their elasticity. Reach out as far as you can with your legs straight on the floor and try to touch your toes if you can. If you’re flexible enough, you can also bend forward at the hip and lower your torso onto your legs to help further the stretch.
You’ve probably engaged your hamstrings with heavy lifting and cardio movements. Try to help them remain flexible or you could have a strain in the morning afterward.
The Runner’s Lunge
While you’re still focused on the leg, stand up and find a wall you can use. Put both hands on the wall and take a step back with one leg. Put both heels down on the ground, stretching your calves and hamstrings as you lean into the stretch.
This movement just builds on your previous step and starts to engage your calf muscles which could be a source of bad cramping if you leave it tight.
Take the time to care for your back, which has been put under some strain from your movements. Lie on your back on the ground and slowly bring your knees up together, grasping them in your arms. Hug your knees tight into your body, focusing on the stretch in your lower back.
Alternatively, you could do this by kneeling on the ground and bringing your torso down to the ground, hands and arms flat on the ground behind you with your head down.
Chest and Shoulder Stretch
Stand upright and keep your shoulders square. Find a pole or a doorway, and put one hand on it. With your right hand on the door, turn to your left to slowly stretch out the muscles in your shoulder and chest. Hold for a period and then repeat on the other side.
Help the muscles in your chest rebuild some circulation and movement after heavy lifting exercises and push-ups.
Abdomen and Arm Stretch
Lie flat on the floor on your stomach. Have your hands in the pushup position at your sides and your toes pointed together behind you. Lift up your body, keeping your legs straight and your toes pointed. Look upwards and stretch your arms and torso with this movement. You should feel a gentle pulling in your abs and arms together.
Simple movements like this help to stabilize your body, bringing it back to a place of peace, and reenergizing your body after a strenuous workout. Don’t ignore this step and your body will thank you well after your routines are done.