So I went running with a friend the other day, at the end of our run I began stretching and loosening up my muscles. He asked me “Why are you stretching we didn’t do that long of a run” I said “Well I always stretch after I’ve done any type of exercise” He informed me that the reason he doesn’t stretch after working out is because he gets bored. SAY WHAT?! So I asked him if he knew the importance of stretching after workouts and I got a big fat “NO”. So, light bulb!
Today I’m going to share the importance of stretching and give you 5 Post-workout stretches to save your bum (and other parts too!)
Muscles need to repair themselves after exercising. When they are contracted and tight – as they are after a strenuous game or training session – muscles cannot repair themselves as quickly. Stretching loosens the muscles, stretching the tendons and fibers, allowing them to repair themselves more quickly. The faster your muscles can repair themselves, the more you can develop and grow them. If you really want to get the most out of your workout, you have to stretch immediately after exercising. Otherwise, your muscles will not be able to recover and repair themselves quickly enough before your next workout.
Stretching contracted muscle fibers also allows blood to flow more freely through your muscles. This added blood flow helps relax your muscles, and it helps remove any harmful acids in tissues. This contributes to one of the biggest benefits of post-workout stretching: less stiffness and soreness the next day. No one likes being sore, and being in pain the day after a hard workout can actually turn some people off of working out again. A good, deep stretch after exercising – even if it’s just a light workout – will help reduce soreness, which will inspire you to get back in the gym.
Finally, stretching after a training session can greatly improve your flexibility. Flexibility is a major contributing factor to speed and agility. So if you want to burn past your opponents on the field, make sure you stretch!
It can be hard to find the energy to do a good, long stretch after a hard workout when all you want to do is take a shower and lie down, but we guarantee that if you take the time to do it, you’ll see a vast overall improvement in your strength and flexibility. Stretching is a great way to help your muscles recover after exercising, but make sure to do other things as well, like drink lots of water. Hydration is as important, or even more important, than any other aspect of athletics. Combine stretching and hydration, and you’ll get the most out of your workout every time!
- Hamstrings: Sit on floor with legs extended. Maintain straight back while reaching toward toes (even if you can’t touch them); hold.
- Hamstrings and calves: Stand 10 inches away from a wall; place palms on it. Step back with right foot. Bend left knee, keeping right heel down; hold. Repeat on opposite side.
- Back and shoulders: Raise right arm and bend elbow over head at a 90-degree angle. Use left hand to grab right elbow and pull it gently to the left; hold. Repeat on opposite side.
- Ankle and foot joints: Stand on bottom step of a flight of stairs with balls of feet on edge of step. Gently allow heels to drop; hold.
- Quads: Standing grab ankle and pull up behind you so your foot is touching your booty. Hold 20-30 seconds, and switch.
Do each move 4 times for 20 to 30 seconds.