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The Best and Worst Ways to Stretch After a Workout

The Best and Worst Ways to Stretch After a Workout

How to Stretch After a Workout: Your Ultimate Guide

Working it out post-workout: Unsure whether stretching is good or bad for you? Read our full guide to the best and worst ways to stretch.

person stretching on a track

Stretching is a great way to prevent injuries and look after yourself post-workout

After you’ve finished working out, you’re not quite done yet. You need to cool down. A good cool-down routine with some basic stretches helps you to release tension and boost your body’s recovery.

Taking a few minutes to stretch after a workout makes a huge difference. It helps to reduce the chances of injury, increases recovery speed and can stop that after-exercise-ache that we know all too well.

A post-workout stretch session is a must, but you need to do it right. Read our full guide.

Why Does It Matter How You Stretch?

Stretching helps to improve the flexibility in your joints, making it easy to get the most out of their range of motion. Flexibility can help you perform better, prevent injuries and reduce muscle soreness.

The three primary types of stretches are:

  • Static

  • Dynamic

  • Ballistic

Static stretching involves holding a stretch for a certain amount of time, usually 30 to 60 seconds, without bouncing or moving.

Dynamic stretching uses a methodical approach that uses the full motion of your joints without any rigorous swings or movements.

Ballistic stretching involves bouncing or jerking your muscles to force them to stretch beyond their standard limit, which can be risky and cause injury.

The best way to stretch depends on your goals and the type of activity you’re doing. But when it comes to muscle flexibility, sometimes you need a little help.

A supplement can go a long way towards helping your body recover and encourage muscle growth.

CaAKG (calcium alpha-ketoglutarate) is among the best supplements on the market for this purpose, and it’s available from VitalityPro.

This compound combines calcium and alpha-ketoglutarate, which are involved in many metabolic processes in the body. Alpha-ketoglutarate is also a precursor of glutamine, an amino acid necessary for muscle growth and recovery.

What’s the Best Type of Stretching?

Generally, dynamic stretching is the best method for warming up your muscles and preparing them for movement.

Static stretching is best after your workout to cool down your muscles and improve your flexibility. Ballistic stretching carries many risks, meaning it's best to avoid it unless you know what you're doing.

Let's examine some examples of stretches you should and shouldn’t do after a workout.

DO: Runner’s Lunge with Side Stretch

This stretch targets the hip flexors, quads and obliques. It works wonders for giving you a balanced posture while preventing hip tightness and lower back pains.

This stretch requires that you take a lunge position and bend your knee forward and over your foot. Let your back leg extend behind you.

Pull your belly inwards to allow yourself to tuck your hips. Bring your opposite arm over your head, slowly leaning into the stretch. Remember to continue breathing.

DO: Sitting Hamstring Stretch

Ideal for targeting the hamstrings and lower back, this stretch is excellent for maximising your mobility and flexibility in your lower body.

Sit flat on the floor and stretch your legs out before you.

Bend one leg so that you create a knee, pull your abs in slowly and bend your hips towards your straight leg. When you feel the burn, keep it for 30 to 45 seconds.

DO: Overhead Triceps Stretch

This stretch works the triceps and lats, strengthens your upper body's range of motion and combats elbow and shoulder injuries.

Place one arm over your head while putting your forearm close to your upper arm.

Use your other hand to grab your elbow from overhead and pull it back towards your head. Hold it for 30 to 45 seconds.

DO: Pigeon Pose

Targeting the glutes, piriformis and hip rotators, pigeon is a yoga pose with a whole lot of benefits. It can help improve your hip flexibility and mobility and prevent sciatica and knee pain.

Cross one knee but keep the other leg stretched behind you.

Put both your hands before you and lower your upper body as much as you can, all while pulling in your core.

DON’T: Hurdler’s Stretch

The hurdler’s stretch involves getting down on the floor, extending one leg straight and bending the other leg behind. Lean forward and touch your toes.

This stretch places immense stress on your ligaments and knee joints. It's especially bad if you bounce or twist. The effects carry over and negatively impact your hamstring and lower back.

It's better to do the standing hamstring stretch. You'll need to place one foot on an elevated surface and lean forward from your hips, keeping your back straight.

DON’T: Standing Toe Touch

The standing toe touch has you standing with your feet together and bending forward to touch your toes. It may cause spinal compression, disc herniation, hamstring and lower back injuries.

The reduced blood flow to your brain may cause dizziness.

A lying toe is less damaging. It requires that you lie flat on your back and bring one leg toward your chest. Afterwards, slowly pull it toward your opposite shoulder.

DON’T: Ballistic Stretching

Remember, this is not a specific stretch but a type of stretching that involves bouncing or jerking your muscles to force them to stretch beyond their standard limit.

This can cause muscle tears, joint sprains and tendon injuries. It can also activate the stretch reflex, which makes your muscles contract instead of relax.

Dynamic stretching is the safest alternative because it offers a lot more control. There's little chance that you'll hurt yourself.

DON’T: Plow Pose

The plow pose is another yoga-inspired stretch that has you lying on your back and lifting your legs over your head until your toes touch the floor behind you.

But even some yogis avoid it as it can put a lot of pressure on your neck and spine and restrict your breathing and blood flow. It can also cause nerve damage, headaches and vision problems.

A better alternative is a lying spinal twist, where you lie on your back and bring one knee across your body, keeping your shoulders on the ground.

Stretch For Success

Like everything in life, there’s a right and wrong way to stretch after a workout. That’s where this list comes in!

Use our tips to avoid the stretches that don’t benefit your body and stick to those designed to enhance your workout, improve your flexibility and speed up your recovery time.

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