All Women's Talk

8 Great Post-Workout Stretches ...

By Jenni

These post-workout stretches will keep muscles loose while helping lower your heart rate after a workout. Dynamic stretching before a workout is important for reducing the risk of injury and increase performance, while static stretching after a workout increases range of motion and helps elongate bulked muscles. Static stretches are great post-workout stretches because they work the already warmed muscles, reducing the risks of over stretching. Add some of these to your post workout routine for increased flexibility and range of motion.

1 Flamingo

Yes, I call most post-workout stretches by their elementary school names. The Flamingo stretch is one of my favorite stretches to do after a long run or a leg-tastic workout. This stretch will work your upper thighs and hip flexor muscles. Stand straight with feet hip width apart. Bend your right knee and lift your right foot so it is pressed against your bum. Hold this position for at least thirty seconds, then complete with the left foot.

2 Shoulder Stretch

Shoulder stretches will work the shoulders and back. Stand straight with feet hip width apart and extend the right arm straight across your chest. Use your left arm to hold the right as close to the chest as possible. To increase the stretch, bend the right elbow so your hand is touching the left shoulder.

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3 Forward Fold

Forward folds are great for the back and do wonders for our hamstrings. Stand straight up with feet touching (advanced), hip width apart (intermediate), or shoulder width apart (beginner). Slowly roll your body forward until your hands and head are as close to the ground as possible. Hold this position for at least fifteen seconds, then straighten your back so it is like a table top. Hold, then curl back and slowly return to standing position.

4 Bum Stretch

The bum stretch does exactly what you think it would - it stretches all our gluteus muscles. Sit on the floor with legs extended straight out in front of you and back straight. Bring the right foot to the outside of the left knee and twist your body to the right. Your body should be twisted so that you are looking behind you. Place your right arm behind your back for support and the left elbow on the outside of the right knee to help rotate your torso.

5 Bicep Stretch

Bicep stretches are a simple stretch that can reduce unwanted bulking of our upper arm muscles. Stand straight up and interlock your fingers behind your back, making sure to keep arms as straight as possible. To increase the stretch, roll your body into a forward fold and let your arms dangle over your head (still with fingers interlocked). Hold this position for at least thirty seconds before returning to starting.

6 Butterfly Stretch

The Butterfly stretch will work our inner thighs and quads. Sit on the floor with your back straight and legs rotated outward. Bend knees and bring the feet in towards the pelvis, keeping the soles of your feet touching. Hold feet as close to the pelvis as possible while keeping knees low to the ground. Be sure not to bounce your knees here since that can harm the hamstring muscles. Hold for at least thirty seconds before straightening the legs.

7 Calf Stretch

After a long run, my burning calf muscles almost beg for this stretch. Stand straight up facing a wall. Flex the right foot and extend the leg so the ball of your right foot is pressed against the wall. You should be able to feel a stretch in your upper and mid calf region. Hold this position for at least thirty seconds before alternating to the left foot.

8 Cat/Camel Stretch

This stretch will elongate the back muscles and abs. Get on all fours and begin in table-top position with a straight back so you almost look like a table. Slowly curl your back upwards and bring the pelvis and head in towards your belly button so you have a hump like a camel. Hold, then slowly return to starting and continue arching your back while lifting the pelvis and head upwards. Keep your head up and your eyes focused on the ceiling, then begin to roll back and flow into camel.

Post-workout stretches are good for our muscles, but my favorite part is how wonderful they feel to do. It is important to only stretch to where you are comfortable. Over-stretching can lead to pulled muscles, ligaments, and massive pain. If done right, stretching may become your favorite part of a workout. What are some of your go-to post-workout stretches?

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