Stretching. We know it’s good for us, but we often neglect to do it, whether it’s because we don’t count it as part of our workouts, or we just don’t think we have time to fit it in.

Stretching after your workouts has a number of benefits: it lengthens out your muscles, boosts your range of motion (which can make you stronger), increases flexibility, improves your posture and helps prevent injury.

Plus, by doing the right stretches, can help you get greater activation in the muscles (for example in your glutes) which means your workouts give you better results.

Stretching is starting to sound pretty good now, isn’t it?

And when you get in to it, stretching becomes something you actually look forward to doing – it actually feels pretty good.

So with all that being said, wouldn’t it be great if you had an easy and effective full-body stretching routine you could use after your workouts?

We thought agree, so without further ado, for your post-workout enjoyment…

Simple Post-Workout Stretch Routine

Stretching Instructions

  • Hold each stretch for 15 – 30 seconds.
  • Remember to breathe! Relax in to the stretch.
  • Don’t bounce (ballistic stretching), keep it slow an controlled.
  • Don’t stretch too hard, you should feel an intense pull, but no pain (especially sharp pain).

Lastly, remember not to stretch if you’re injured without consulting a physiotherapist first.

The Stretches

Calves

Runners and cyclists tend to get tight calf muscles through over-training and lack of stretching, but they’re not alone, many people have some degree of tightness in their calves because we spend a lot of time seated.

Hamstrings

Again, since most of us sit at a desk all day, as a result – or at least a contributing factor – our hamstrings tend to be tight. Not only will flexible hamstrings help your posture and reduce lower back pain, but it also enables you to target your glutes more effectively with lower body workouts.

Quadriceps

The quadriceps are often tight in many people because they are over-emphasised – they are quad dominant – in day to day exertions and their workouts. Tight quadriceps negatively impact posture (pelvic alignment), can contribute to weak hamstring muscles. Quad dominance also means you aren’t able to effectively target your butt when you do squats etc.

Hip Flexors

Hip flexors are another chronically tight area for many people, and considering they’re so important posturally speaking, not to mention the critical role they play in just about every movement, it’s important to get nice and flexible in this area. There are a ton of [ways to stretch your hip flexors][2] which you can take a look at – we’re just going to go with our favorite. Again, get flexible here and you’ll get much better results from workouts targeting your butt.

Glutes

It’s one of the biggest, strongest muscle groups in the body, so keeping it flexible is a good idea. When you’re glutes are too tight it can result in a whole host of problems from back pain to postural issues – so keep them flexible with this stretch.

Core

Your core refers to the ring of muscle that wraps your body at the middle: the abdominals, obliques and lower back muscles. Since your core is engaged in keeping you upright and in almost every activity you do, keeping it limber will only do you good.

Back

Tight and sore back muscles plague many people, but a good stretching routine can loosen them up and get you feeling great again. Pain in the back is one of the most common ailments people complain about and good stretching can help relieve this pain.

Chest

People, especially guys, spend a lot of time working out their chest, which causes an over-development of the chest muscles relative to the back, postural muscles. You’ll know you’re looking at someone with a tight chest because everything pulls forward giving a constricted, concave kind of look – think caveman. If you don’t want this look make sure you spend time opening up your chest with a good stretch.

Biceps & Triceps

The arms usually don’t get as stiff and inflexible as the rest of the body, but like any body part, if you don’t stretch it’s going to lose flexibility over time – which is why when you’re working out it’s good to get the full range of motion to ensure you don’t put the muscles in a chronically shortened position.

Shoulders

Who wants the weight of the world on their shoulders? We don’t, which is why getting them loose, relaxed and flexible sounds like a very good idea. Stress and tension often focuses around this area (leading up to the neck) and conversely, easing out the tension will help you ease out some of that stress.

Neck

The neck is another one of those problem areas which gets stiff and tight which can result in discomfort and pain. You can probably thank the 9 – 5 for this one: stress and the computer posture. Luckily, stretching will help ease the tension, lengthen the muscles and allow you to relax and feel good again.

Developmental Stretches

If you want to increase the resting length of your muscles then you need to do developmental stretches. Unlike normal, maintenance stretching, developmental stretches are held for at least 30 seconds, but you can hold them for much longer (e.g. up to 2 minutes for very tight muscles).

For developmental stretches, you would go into the stretch as you normally do until you reach a point of tension. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds until the tension eases and then stretch a little further. Never force the stretch, rather relax into the stretch.

You should do 3 to 5 repetitions for each side when you’re doing developmental stretches. The best time to do developmental stretching is after your workouts when your muscles have already warmed up.

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