With the help of the following article, the reader can understand the benefits of post workout stretches along with various types of post workout stretches that can be added to the workout routine.
Just like how you floss after you brush your teeth, similarly, it is quite important to get your post workout stretches completed to complete your entire workout schedule. A lot of people think that post workout stretches do not play a major role in completing your workout and hence bail on them. Also when you invest a lot of time into a workout it becomes quite hard to sit for an extra 15 minutes to get those stretches post workout done. However, there are actually quite a lot of benefits that entail stretching exercises. To understand more regarding the same, here’s a guide on how post workout stretches can help gain a lot of benefits along with understanding the various type of stretches that are best post workout.
Benefits of Stretching After a Workout
It is quite common that you go into relaxation mode right after an intense workout session however you need to make sure that you get onto a post workout stretching session as these stretching exercises help in benefitting a lot even if done for quite a few minutes. The benefits you get can be provided as follows:
1. Reduces any risk of injury or pain
Muscles tend to stay tight after an intense workout session which may lead to major body injuries. It is hence important to involve some good stretches post workout so that you can loosen up the muscles which will reduce the chance of any sort of injuries or pain.
2. Getting into a gradual relaxation mode
You must get into a relaxation mode gradually. Both your mind and body need some time to get into the much-needed relaxation which can only be obtained by performing some stretches post exercise which will also help you to gradually wind down.
3. Eliminating the lactic acid produced during workouts
When you get into an intense workout session you tend to produce lactic acid which leads to muscle aches. It can also lead to tiring out of muscles which will keep you lethargic for the rest of the day. Stretching post exercise help in reducing the amount of lactic acid which is produced throughout the body and hence avoiding the pain in muscles.
The Best Stretches for Different Types of Workouts
No matter what sort of workout type you choose you need to include post workout stretches that help you unwind. These stretching exercises are also quite important as they improve the blood flow into the muscles which ward off muscle stiffness.
1. Running exercises:
When you go for a run, you will need to perform post workout stretches that will help relax your hamstrings, quads, and hip flexors. You’d also want to stretch your calves and big toes which will provide a better relaxation effect.
2. Lower-body lifting session
Some of the best post workout stretches must focus on calves, hip flexors, quads, and hamstrings once you are done with the lower body lifting session. If there are any issues with imbalance while working out you’d also want to pay extra care to those areas.
3. Upper body lifting session
When you are done with the upper body lifting session you will need to focus on those stretches that are best post workout on your wrists, pecs, back muscles, and traps. Stretching out your muscles that extend from the upper back to your neck is quite important, especially for those who undergo strength training since they often tend to skip the training of these muscles.
While focusing on the muscles that feel “tight” is what most people do while performing post workout stretches, there are times when the tight muscles might indicate lower core strength. It is hence important to increase core strength apart from just your regular workout session.
10 Best Stretches for Your Whole Body After a Workout
To get your muscles to cool down and unwind after a workout session here are the top 10 best stretches that will provide a perfect stretching session post exercise.
1. Hamstring Stretch
Most of the workouts will involve some or the other sort of leg movement and hence a hamstring stretch is a must to perform in a post workout stretching session as it allows reliving of tightened muscles, especially after long cardio sessions or leg days. The legs also play an important role in the tension felt in your lower back. To relieve this tension the hamstring stretch might be quite helpful.
2. Arm & Wrist Stretch
The arm and wrist stretches are not quite provided that much importance. However, the wrist is considered to be one of the most complex joints in your body as it allows a wide range of movement, especially during upper body movements. This post workout stretching is especially recommended for those who perform push-ups, mountain climbers, and planks along with a lot of circuit training.
3. Child’s Pose
The child’s pose is also commonly called the ‘Balasana’ in yoga and is one of the best stretches that should be followed after an intense workout session. Apart from calming both body and mind, it will also increase flexibility. It also helps decompress the spine, hips, ankles, and core and hence provides relief to both the neck and back.
4. Side Stretch
Side stretches help stretch and lengthens the intercostal muscles that are present between the ribs and abdomen. It is hence one of the best post workout stretches that allow improving shortening of muscles due to poor posture and long periods of sitting.
5. Seated Spinal Twist
Apart from improving the movement of the spine, this post workout stretching will allow better digestion. And stretching of the glutes. Seated spinal twists will also help lengthen the spine which decompresses the vertebrae and gives a good energy lift to both hips and glutes.
To stretch out the adductor muscles of the inner thigh, butterfly is a good stretching exercise. It also works as a great hip opener. After a long period of sitting, there might be an occurrence of muscle tightness, this can be removed with the help of the butterfly pose.
7. Hip Flexor Lunge
With a few variations, a hip flexor lunge will allow the opening up of hip flexors apart from the relaxation of leg muscles, glutes, and calves. This can also include stretching of arms simultaneously.
8. Side Lunge Stretch
A variation of regular lunges, the side lunges work great to stretch out the lower body muscles. It may also provide great sculpting and toning to your leg muscles.
9. Cobra Pose
Commonly called the ‘Bhujangasana’ in yoga this stretch is a great post workout stretch that allows back and core stretching. It additionally stretches out the spine and provides strength to the shoulder, arms, abs, and glutes.
10. Standing Quadricep Stretch
The quad stretch is quite an important, movement as it allows the stretching of leg muscles and hence reduces injury and soreness while increasing the circulation in the body.
Why Do I Need to Stretch When I Exercise?
Stretching might feel like an inconvenience or unnecessary stuff to do especially when it takes up additional time out of your schedule however both cooling down and warming up of muscles are quite important to avoid any sort of injury, pain, and strain.
Post workout stretches also commonly called maintenance stretches help in moving out the lactic acid out of your muscles which decreases the soreness in muscles. They also help regulate blood flow at a regulated pace. It also helps improve performance during exercise and helps muscles regain their shape.
While it may seem like a time-consuming task to get your post-workout stretches done it is important to understand all the benefits that a post workout stretching session will provide. Even if you cannot devote a certain amount of time to stretching you need to follow two or three stretches that will keep your soreness aside and keep your muscles healthy. Apart from these reasons, a post workout session can also help improve speed, agility, and acceleration during a workout.
1. What are the best stretches to do after a workout?
Some of the best stretches that you can perform after a workout can be provided as follows:
- Toe touch
- Shoulder stretch
- Samson stretch
- Cobra stretch
- Cat stretch
2. Is it good to stretch post workout?
Yes, it is extremely important to stretch post workout as it helps reduce pain and risk of injury as the muscles stay tight after a workout session. The lactic acid present will also lead to muscle aches that might not be favorable. It is hence suggested to follow at least two to three stretches after working out.
3. How should I stretch my back after working out?
You can follow a simple back stretch by following the below-provided steps:
- Keep your legs at shoulder width apart and knees bent slightly
- Now lean forward by placing your hands on your knees
- Round your back in such a way that your chest is closed and your shoulders are curved forward
- Now arch your back such that your chest opens and shoulders roll back
- Repeat this several times
4. What stretches should you do post workout?
Here are some simple stretches that you should do post workout:
- Samson stretch
- Quadriceps stretch
- Knee to chest stretch
- Shoulder stretch
- Toe touch