Post-workout stretches help lower your blood pressure and are more beneficial than brisk walking when done consistently over time. Flexibility keeps us young, spry, limber, and injury-free, especially our post-workout stretches. The self-love of taking time out after your workout to stretch your body allows your heart rate and breathing to slow down. The post-workout ritual of stretching will also aid in the change from stressing your body and mind to resting your body and mind. This article will cover some of the benefits of stretching post-workout and the top 7 stretches we recommend you include in your repertoire.
Is post-workout stretching important?
Research has shown that daily post-workout stretching improves circulation, blood flow, vascularity, and connectivity in aged skeletal muscle. You will benefit from increased nutrients and the removal of byproducts from your muscles due to all your hard workouts. You are more susceptible to injuries if you do not stretch post-workout. Incorporating a stretching routine will help you maintain or increase your flexibility, which in turn counteracts the activities of daily living for most of the population. Sedentary lifestyles cause our muscles to shorten over time, and we feel tighter, making it harder to enjoy a life without constraints. When our lifestyle of inactivity becomes the dominating factor, it creates muscular imbalances that will not allow us to function correctly. Not skipping our post-workout stretching routine will help eliminate low back pain because of shortened muscles like our quads, hip flexors, and chest. These muscles throw our spine out of alignment and significantly change our movement patterns and overall performance.
7 Stretches to Help You Recover Post-Workout
Start in a standing position.
Hold a towel, resistance band, etc., in front of your thighs with your hands about a foot wider than hip-width apart.
Maintain an active core as you bring your arms up and over your head without bending at the elbows or flaring out your rib cage.
Do not force this movement. If this is tricky, bend one elbow and go one arm at a time.
World's Greatest Stretch
From high active plank, push in to bear squat, and lunge left foot forward.
Next to the left hand, raise the left hand to the sky.
As you breathe, maintain a straight right rear leg, pushing your heel towards the floor.
Lower the left hand and step your left foot back. REPEAT on the right and alternate for 60-90 seconds.
Kneeling Quad/Hip Flexor Stretch
Step your right foot forward from a kneeling position far enough to lower your hips towards the floor.
Reach back (if possible) with your right hand, grab onto your left ankle, and maintain an upright posture.
Hold this position and breath slowly for 30-60 seconds, then switch legs.
Start on all fours, neutral spine.
Inhale and let your belly fall as you lift your chin and your eyes look up. Draw your shoulders away from your ears.
Upon exhaling, press through your hands, round the spine, and tuck the tailbone.
Thread the Needle
Start on all fours.
Open the right arm up to the sky, then take it under your chest behind the opposite arm.
Bring your right shoulder to the floor, then return to the start. Pair the movement with your breath, and take 3-4 slow breaths before switching arms.
Thread the Needle With a Twist
Start on all fours.
Open the right arm up to the sky, then take it under the chest behind the opposite arm. Bring your right shoulder to the floor.
While the shoulder is down toward the floor, let your top arm open to a 'T' position, straight to the ceiling.
Return to the starting position.
Scorpion Stretch (Prone)
Begin lying down, arms out in T.
Bring your right arm in, hand near the chest, and use it to pin down your left shoulder as you take your right leg (opposite of pinned shoulder) up and over and allow your hips to open up.
How Often Should I Stretch?
The stretches listed above should be done at least 5 days a week for at least 5 minutes to promote range of motion improvements. Consistency in post-workout stretching is positively associated with an increased range of motion, which means you will be more flexible and mobile. Pair this with consistent strength training to maintain a balance in your newfound mobility with added stability from the strength training sessions in the FightCamp app. Studies have shown that when pairing regular stretching and strengthening, you lower your chances of low back and shoulder pain. This means you can train your heart out as long as you are balancing selected sessions in our app.
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