Some may think that after workout stretching is waste of time, but it isn’t. All the stretching exercises that are mentioned below can be performed after a workout or after a hectic day at work right before going to the bed. You will get the best sleep ever, done that myself.
Combining strength training with stretching will help you in long run with avoiding injury, range of motion, and flexibility. Apart from the Physical benefits after workout stretching helps you lower your stress level, and keep your mind in check… what more do you need from a couple of minute exercises?
As you all know pre-workout stretching is important, and the particular reason for that is whenever you do a warm up exercise/stretching your blood vessels dilates, thus ensuring that your muscles are supplied with oxygen and by slowly raising your heart rate you minimize the level of stress on your heart that will come with the workout. It also raises the temperature of your muscle for efficiency and flexibility.
Just like that after workout stretching is also important because
Whenever you stretch your muscles after a workout, you’re taking one step forward in helping your body to start the recovery process, while it releases stress, and tension on the muscle it also helps you achieve good flexibility for your joints. It improves your future range of motion and begins blood circulation to your muscles more effectively.
And if you’re that fitness guru that think’s after workout stretching is just a waste of time, think again.
What happens if I don’t stretch after working out?
You might experience stiffness in your muscles, and joint if you’re not stretching adequately. Your muscles and tendons will become vulnerable to muscle pain and stiffness. If the muscle isn’t stretched properly after exercise it may be more susceptible to injury.
Let’s just get a common myth out of the way.
Does stretching kill gains?
After workout stretching can actually help peak your body for growth and enable gains. By stretching you let your body, and muscle temperature cool down gradually and it helps with an easier breakdown of lactic acid which is important for muscle recovery, and improves future range of motion.
There are two types of stretching
- Static Stretching
- Dynamic Stretching
Static Stretching (In a Nutshell)
Static stretching means holding a position for a particular period of time like Cobra pose and holding that position for 20 to 60 seconds. Static stretching is done after workout, and they do focus on a single muscle group with each stretch.
Dynamic Stretching (In a Nutshell)
Dynamic stretching is done to warm up your muscles, and it is performed before the workout. It’s a stretching in which muscles go into a full range of motion like walking knee to the chest, etc.
Points to keep in mind before stretching
- Pain is not always good – You should feel a mild tension as you stretch your muscles, but never pain. If you feel pain, stop right away. You’re overstretching and unintentionally hurting yourself when you overstretch a particular muscle group that muscle group sends a message via neuron to the central nervous system that you’re at your limit which causes those muscle to tighten and resist which in turn causes pain. It should be like a massage for your body, not pain.
- Posture – There isn’t much that you need to keep in mind when it comes to posture. Just do these simple things like spine straight, core engaged, that’s it.
- Breathe – Steady breathing is necessary doesn’t matter what you’re doing. So don’t hold your breath you’re depriving your muscle of getting oxygenated blood. So breathing will help relieve stress and tension in your muscles, it may also improve the quality of your stretching session, and who doesn’t like progress?
- Start slowly – Don’t go overboard with stretching, try not to do too much if it’s your first time stretching after a workout. Start with just a few basic stretches, and add more repetitions and stretches as you get used to them, and gradually progress.
Now without any further delay let’s get down with the after workout stretching exercises. These exercises are my personal favorite for relieving muscle tension and gaining a future range of motion (Range of motion is how far you can move a joint in a normal direction before it stops), and flexibility.
- Cobra Stretch (Bhujangasana)
I bet you may have heard about it or done it without realizing.
Cobra stretch is a back-bend pose. It open’s your heart, and lungs which help you breathe more freely. Cobra stretch is a great exercise that stretches the spine, and chest.
Some benefits of cobra stretch are help in elevating your mood, improve digestion, Get’s rid of the stiffness in your lower back, and most important one relieves stress and fatigue which makes it the best exercise to do before going to the bed.
How to do Cobra Stretch
- Lay on your stomach palm facing down, relax your whole body.
- Now palm facing down underneath the shoulder like push ups position.
- Keep your leg shoulder-width apart.
- Push yourself onto the ground and lift your chest as you exhale, make sure your hips and legs are firmly planted on the mat.
- Chin facing up, spine, and core engaged.
- Hold for 30 seconds to a minute.
- Slowly go back to the starting position, and repeat.
2. Butterfly (Baddha Konasana)
It great, and the particular reason for that is it targets your hips along with groin, inner thighs, and knees. while you’re losing stiffness in that muscle area it’s also strengthening your back muscles also aiding in improving your overall posture.
If you’re interested to learn, perform a perfect split, butterfly pose will help as I said it’s perfect for loosening stiffness in the groin, inner thigh thus preparing you for the split.
If you have had a knee or groin injury, talk to your doctor or physical therapist about whether you should do this or not.
How to do Butterfly
- Sit down on the floor or ground with your legs in front of you.
- Reach forward and grab your right foot with your right hand, and left foot with left hand. It’s OK to bend your knee to help your hand and foot connect. Now pull your both foot up towards your groin bending until it is at a comfortable spot and the sole of the foot is facing each other.
- Hold your feet with your hands and rest your elbows on your knees.
- While keeping your back engaged (no slouching), try to touch ground with your knees. You can apply gentle pressure on the inner thigh by pressing gently on the knees with the elbows. You will feel gentle pulling and tension in the groin.
- Hold the stretch for 20 to 40 seconds, and repeat.
- Slowly progress until your knees can touch the ground.
3. Back/Spine twist stretch
One of the best after workout stretching or after long day of sitting to relive your lower back pain.
It’s good for your spine, hips, glutes, and back. The twist in this stretch rotates the spine and stretches the muscle in the back. It also aids in improving your digestion process while encouraging spinal mobility.
How to do Back/Spine twist stretch
- While seated place your right leg over your left leg.
- Your right foot would be at the same level as left legs knee.
- As your right leg is firmly planted on the ground, twist your body toward left side as your right hand elbow touches the knee.
- Hold for 10 to 30 seconds, and repeat for the opposite side.
4. Head-on-knee Stretch (Janu sirsasana)
It’s a must-have medicine for leg day. Whenever you will do this stretch you will be offering yourself a great massage apart from the relaxation you will be improving your strength, reduces the risk of injury.
There are many Other benefits such as
- It helps you calms your brain, and cure mild depression.
- Improves digestion process.
- Stimulates the liver and kidneys.
- Relieves you from anxiety, fatigue, and headache.
How to do Head-on-knee stretch
- Sit on the ground with the left leg bent, your left leg foot will be facing at the right leg knee.
- Extend the right leg, keeping it slightly bent at the knee.
- Bend forward, make sure to keep the back straight.
- Hold the stretch for 10–30 seconds, and repeat
5. Child Pose (Balasana)
Oh.. the relaxation you feel I can feel that sensation even while writing about this stretch.
I love child pose because of its benefits and the feel. If you don’t get the feel do it for the benefits like it releases the tension on your chest, shoulder, and back. Gets rid of stress, and anxiety. Lengthen and stretch the spine. These benefits should be enough to make you add this stretch into your after workout stretching routine.
How to do Child Pose (Balasana)
- Sit on the floor with your toes together, and your keens should be hip-width apart.
- Your hips will be resting on ankle, rest your palms on top of your thighs.
- Exhale, and lower your torso extending your arms along with lowering of your torso.
- Palm facing down, relax your shoulders and fall onto the ground.
- Rest in that pose for as long as you want.
6. Arms and wrist stretch
After workout stretching of lower back, spine, hamstrings. Don’t overlook the importance of arm & wrist stretching.
Arms and wrist stretching will aid you in faster recovery of upper, and lower arms.
Wrist stretching will help you in reducing the chances of getting an injury also improving your wrist mobility. When you stretch your wrist, you extend tendons situated in your finger which in turn leads you toward better control of your finger.
How to do arms and wrist stretch
- Extend your arm in front of you with your palm up.
- Bend your wrist, pointing your hand toward the floor, and palm facing you.
- With your other hand, gently bend your wrist further until you feel a mild to moderate stretch in your forearm.
- Hold for at least 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat 2 to 4 times for both wrist.
Arms and wrist stretch is easy as that.
7. Corpse pose (Savasana)
Don’t be sacred of that corpse it’s just my friend doing savasana… sorry about that.
Corpse pose is my favorite cherry on the top exercise. It the final resting pose at the end of almost every yoga stretch. It’s so relaxing just don’t fall asleep stay awake and aware of your surrounding, empty your mind and do nothing for some it’s hard to do. If you can’t calm your mind try meditating while doing the corpse pose.
Some benefits of savasana are
- calms your mind, and relives your stress.
- Helping in curing headaches, fatigue, and anxiety.
- lowers your blood pressure.
- It calm central nervous system, and aids in improving your digestion process.
This stretching is easy as breathing.
How to do Corpse pose (Savasana)
- Lie on your back with your legs straight, and arm relaxed on the sides.
- Just Breathe
You can also do savasana between resting period of your each stretching exercise to double the benefit, when you are done with after workout stretching you will feel so relaxed that over a period of time you will develop it as a habit to stretch after workout because I have.
If you’re having doubts in your mind about how to stretch properly ask your trainer or seek help from someone professional. After workout stretching will work as a catalyst in recovering your body from workout soreness. Pair it up with proper breathing and It will relax your mind and get rid of some of your stress.
After workout stretching exercises end’s here. Now you know all the benefits, and proper forms so start stretching after a workout. If you think you’re too tired to stretch just bear with it for 5 to 10 minutes because that how long your normal stretching session should be.