We get it, after a tough workout, the last thing you want to be doing is hanging around the gym. You want to leave and start chilling out as soon as possible, we hear you! However, after a workout, your body needs to stretch more than ever. And this will help those gains in the long run, trust us.
To improve your range of motion and flexibility. Stretching improves the flexibility of your joints, it also aids contracted muscles to return to their more natural and comfortable state and your body will eventually become more flexible.
To improve blood flow. Stretching post workout aids blood flow, which helps deliver nutrients and oxygen to the muscles which have just been worked. This helps your bodies rest and recovery.
Ok so how?
There are two main types of stretches – static and dynamic. Both important and here’s why…
Static – This type of stretching is where you extend your muscles to a point where it is slightly uncomfortable and hold it for a period of time (around 20-40 seconds), then repeat. The motion is steady and precise. In short, muscles are forced into a position and held to develop strength which in turn helps flexibility.
Dynamic – This type of stretching focuses on making sure muscles groups are moving constantly with a full range of movement. There is much more movement in dynamic stretches. Repeated motion makes your muscles extend without losing any their energy.
So, which is better? For a post workout, it is recommended to use static stretches. These stretches are a lot calmer and relaxed. Because of the gentler stretches, it helps your body and heart rate to steadily return to their natural state.
Standing quad stretch – While standing (hold on to wall for balance) grab your right foot with your right hand, gently pull up until your heel touches your bum, hold in this position for 30 seconds, then repeat on the opposite leg.
Abdominal stretch – Lay flat on your stomach, place hands underneath your shoulders and whilst keeping your pelvis in the same position slowly push your upper body up and hold for 30 seconds.
Chest stretch – Stand up as straight as you can, put your hands behind you back and interlock your fingers. Then slowly push your shoulder blades together whilst maintaining a straight posture. Hold for 30 seconds.
So, although stretching post workout isn’t your top priority, it is 100% recommended. No matter how tired you are, make sure you try and at least do a few minutes of stretching as your body will thank you for it after a session, and the gains will thank you too.