THE BEST STRETCHES

Posted in Fitness Research

Whether you’ve smashed out a session of HIIT, wrapped up some weights or rounded off a run, a good stretch will pay dividends. Stretching post workout will enhance your recovery so you stay on track with regular exercise.

To effectively wind down a workout you need to gradually reduce your activity levels and get your heart rate and breathing back to normal. We suggest you spend 5 – 10 minutes bringing your heart rate down and elongating your muscles with a series of stretches. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds and repeat three times on each side. Remember to increase tension gradually to create a gentle stretching sensation in the target muscle.

Gluteal stretch

stretching butt or gluteus muscle on ground

Lie down on your back with one leg bent flat on the floor. Cross your other leg so that the outside of the shin is stretched over the bent knee. Reach through the space between your two legs to hold your leg with the foot on the floor just below the knee. Draw this knee towards the chest until a stretch is felt in the buttock of the crossed leg.

Hamstring stretch

man stretching hamstring or thigh muscle after workout

Lie down on your back and raise your leg up in the air. Keep your knee relatively straight until a stretch is felt down the back of your thigh. Assist the leg by holding the base of the calf and gently pulling your leg upward. Your opposite leg can be bent or extended.

Hip flexor stretch

stretching hip and hip flexor muscle in leg

Kneel on one leg with your other leg bent to 90 degrees and your foot flat on the floor. Tilt your pelvis by contracting the buttock of the kneeling leg to create a stretch down the front of your hip. The stretch can be extended by pushing forward over your front leg to extend the hip of the leg being stretched. Your trunk should remain upright.

Calf stretch

doing calf muscle stretch

Push the leg you want to stretch back behind the body. Keep your feet facing forward and press your back heel to the floor. Bring your pelvis forward to create tension down the back of the lower leg. You can maximize the stretch by adjusting your rear foot so it is further back. This stretch can also be executed with a straight knee.

Quadricep stretch

stretching quadricep muscle in leg after workout

Stand on one leg and pull the foot of your other leg towards the buttock to create a stretch down the front of your thigh. Keep your knees together and the thigh of your stretched leg vertically in line with your trunk. Your opposite arm can be extended to the side for balance.

Chest/Pectoral stretch

stretching the pecs and pectoral muscles in chest after working out

Extend both your arms behind your back and clasp your fingers. Relax the shoulders down and open your chest by gently pulling the elbows in towards each other.

Shoulder/Deltoid stretch

man stretching sholders and deltoids with good form

Stand with one arm raised to shoulder height, flex the arm across to the other shoulder. Grasp your raised elbow with the opposite hand, exhale and pull your elbow across your body.

Tricep stretch

stretching tricep and lateral muscles after a workout

With your chest lifted and shoulders back, raise one arm and place the hand down the center of your back. Gently increase the stretch by placing the other hand on the elbow of the stretching arm.

Iliotibial Band stretch

iliotibial band stretch for knee, hip and back

Stand with your feet hip width apart and slide foot of the leg you want to stretch behind the opposite foot. Keep your feet parallel and hips square to the front. Side bend your trunk away from the side to be stretched until tension is felt down the outside of you hip and the side of your trunk. Simultaneously reach the arm above the head to increase the range of the stretch.

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