We all know we should stretch after a workout. But how many of us actually do it? The reason we do stretching after a workout is that whilst our muscles are still warm we want to stretch and relax them back into the length they were before we started our workout, as when we work our muscles they contract and become tight. This means stretching the muscles that we’ve worked for 10-20 seconds each. If we don’t do this, not only will our muscles feel more sore the next day, but we may notice tightened, shortened muscles that begin to alter the way we walk and move, affecting things as important as your posture.
And once or twice a week it is good to do developmental stretches, stretches that take us past the point of comfort, and improve our overall flexibility. These are typically held for longer, around 40 seconds, and after the first 10-15 seconds you increase the range of the stretch.
Here is a short upper body stretch sequence you can perform after an upper body workout:
And here is my favourite lower body stretch routine, which can be performed after a lower body workout, a run, or on your rest day when you just want a good stretch!
Remember to repeat all the stretches on the opposite side, relax into the stretches by taking deep breaths, and enjoy!