After a workout, the last thing many want to do is stretch. Unfortunately, failing to do so may not only decrease the effectiveness of your workout, but may also lead to injury.
During your workout, lactic acid accumulates in your muscles, leading to muscle soreness and fatigue. Here are seven stretches that will help in your recovery process:
Lie on your stomach with your hands flat on the ground by your shoulders, fingers pointing ahead. Your legs should be together and fully extended.
Push up on your hands, fully extending your arms, as if to do a push up. While doing so, arch your back so that your pelvis moves forward, bringing it close to your hands. This should also drive your head upward. Be sure to open your chest and keep your abdominal muscles tight. Hold for 30 to 45 seconds before returning to rest. Do a total of five.
Stand about 10 inches away from a wall. Place your palms flat on the wall, hands level with your shoulders.
Step back with one foot, as far as comfort allows, keeping your entire foot flat on the floor. Using the wall for balance and bending your other knee you will stretch your calves and other muscles. Hold for several seconds and then alternate legs and repeat.
Sit on the floor and bring your feet together so that the soles are flat against one another. Once together, bring your feet as close to your body as you can. Then, grasp your feet with both hands and pull your body down as far as you can. While doing so, keep your knees as close to the ground as possible, using your elbows to keep them in place, if necessary. Hold for as long as possible, up to two minutes, then release slowly back to rest.
Find a step or another elevated platform. Stand on it, feet slightly closer than shoulder length apart, with your heels hanging off the step. Then, slowly drop your heels. This will stretch your calf and shins. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds before returning to rest. Add to it by elevating your heels so that you stand on the balls of your feet.
Lie down on your back. Lift one leg so that your thigh is perpendicular to the floor and hold it up with both hands. If you have trouble maintaining balance, bend your other knee so that your foot can keep you steady.
Once in the position, slowly lift your foot of the raised leg. As you raise your foot, you will begin to notice your hamstring stretching. As you start to feel that stretch, hold it in place for 30 seconds and then return to rest. Perform three times on each leg.
While standing, take one arm and bring it across your body at shoulder height. Then, raise the other arm so that the forearm of that arm is on or slightly behind the other arm's elbow. Then, bring the elbow as close to your face as possible. Hold for 30 to 45 seconds before switching arms and repeating.
While standing, place one hand on your back between your shoulder blades, with your elbow pointing upward. Then, grab that elbow with your other hands and gently pull toward your head. Hold for about 45 seconds, then switch arms and repeat.
If you've suffered from chronic aches after exercising and are looking for some relief, schedule an appointment with a professional chiropractor right away.