5 Stretches To Do After A Workout When Your Muscles Are Aching For Relief
You know the drill: You just finished a killer workout, you're so sweaty that it feels like you low-key took a second shower, and the last thing you want to do is stretch. At one point or another, everyone's been guilty of bolting out of the gym the minute they finish that last rep. But the reality is, stretching is a super important part of muscle recovery and repair, and it definitely deserves to be a staple in your routine. That's why knowing the right stretches to do after a workout will help your muscles grow and keep them feeling soothed and strong as hell.
According to FitDay, the lactic acid that builds up in your muscles during a quality sweat sesh can easily lead to muscle fatigue and soreness when you skimp on that stretching sequence. Plus, after exercising, your muscles are already warmed up, but they're secretly craving a healthy, stretchy dose of TLC. The increased blood circulation that comes with just a few soothing stretches will help you recover faster and more efficiently, so you can continue slaying workout after workout.
It's worth noting, too, that stretching isn't just about relieving your muscles. Studies show that post-workout stretching promotes mindfulness and calms your nerves.
So, the next time you're tempted to scurry out of the gym immediately after wrapping up that last ab circuit, give a few of these stretches a try, and remind yourself that it'll work wonders for preventing unwanted injures, a savage amount of soreness, and it'll provide a relaxing mental cool-down you probably didn't even know you needed.
1. Runner's Lunge For Your Hip Flexors
Contrary to the name, you don't have to be a runner to do this bad boy (*collective sigh of relief*).
The runner's lunge will feel amazing for tight hip flexors. You just have to work through the initial uncomfortable sensation to get to the good part.
This stretch increases strength in your hamstrings, quads, and legs, while simultaneously providing your hip flexors with a deep, juicy stretch.
Incorporating this movement into your regular routine will give you loads of energy, relax your mind, and relieve any feelings of tension or anxiety — a perfect complement to your stress-busting sweat sesh.
2. Figure Four Stretch For Your Glutes
This soothing stretch targets your hip muscles and mobilizes the joints in the lower body.
A figure four stretch is especially good to do after leg day because of its deep targeting of those hard-working booty muscles.
If you skip out on this effective stretch, you might experience back stiffness due to tight hips. But, if you make it a point to do a figure four stretch after your workouts, you're sure to relieve some of that back pain and prevent any uncomfortable sensations in this part of the body.
3. Cobra Stretch For Your Abs And Back
A cobra stretch comforts and soothes the muscles in your shoulders, chest, and abdominals, and it feels especially great right after a challenging core circuit.
When done regularly, cobra can increase your flexibility and relieve back tension, and some say it can even elevate your mood.
4. Hands Behind Your Back Stretch For Your Shoulders and Chest
I wish this stretch had a more glamorous name because TBH, it sounds either kinky AF or like you're getting arrested. (Or both? I don't know your life.)
Anyway, your shoulders will seriously thank you for this one. A lot of people have a tight chest simply from everyday stress, so your body is very likely already craving this bad boy, but it'll especially want this stretch after a tough workout.
5. Forward Fold For Your Hamstrings
If you typically avoid post-workout stretching, I'm willing to bet your hammies are literally crying for some much-deserved TLC.
Forward fold will give them just the attention they need, and prevent leg soreness and annoying injuries in the long-term.
Plus, this pose delivers blood to your head and provides a rejuvenating boost of oxygen to your cells.
Make sure there's no tension in your neck, head, and shoulders as you slowly fall into forward fold, allowing both your mind and muscles to feel completely relaxed and refreshed.