MERRY CHRISTMAS EVE!! 😀
I, for one, can’t believe it’s already here! For some reason, it doesn’t feel like it to me. One reason might be because I’m about to go get ready and head into work for a half day – gotta make that dough! Another – I didn’t have time to do any Christmas baking this year, which is unheard of for me! However, I do plan on whipping up some delicious homemade eggnog when I get home today 😉
The following stretches are my go-to moves whenever I do any form of cardio and/or lower body strength training. It only takes about 5-10 minutes, and stretches just about every muscle/ligament/tendon from the booty down. These 5-10 minutes can really save your legs and body! Why, you say? Well, I’m glad you asked!
Stretching after you work out or warm up (never stretch cold muscles) has a multitude of benefits! Here are just a few:
- Better performance; flexibility in a joint asks less energy to be able to move through the exercise
- Increased blood supply and nutrients to the joints, and possibly better circulation
- Decreased risk of injury
- Improved muscle balance and postural and kinesthetic awareness
- Decreased risk of lower back discomfort
And here are the eight stretches I do (per side) every. single. time. after a cardio or legs session:
Start out with an inner thigh stretch (you can start it on either side of your body) by leaning your torso to one side with that knee bent, stick your booty out as to make sure your knee stays behind your toes, and hold for 9 counts.
Side note: In addition to stretching after a warm up and especially after finishing exercise, you should also hold a stretch for at least six seconds. It takes 6-10 seconds to elicit the stretch response from the neuromuscular system.
Next, pivot your body to the side of your bent knee into the frontal plane, and lean your torso forward to get a nice calf stretch (gastrocnemius,) like so:
To stretch your deep calf muscle (soleus,) simply bend your knee slightly, and keep stretching your calf:
From here, straighten your torso to be perpendicular to the floor, and sink down a few inches to get a great stretch in the hip flexors:
It’s easy to stretch the quadriceps muscles from this position by dropping your knee to almost a 90º angle:
Next, slide the stretching leg in, and bend slightly, resting your hands on that thigh, to support yourself while you stretch the hamstrings of the opposite leg:
And simply point your toe to the ground to get a good anterior calf stretch:
A lot of people tend to forget this stretch, but it’s very important, especially if you run!
Finish up by bringing the ankle of that leg on the the knee of the opposite leg, and sit down a few inches to get a nice gluts and hip stretch:
Then repeat for the opposite side of the body, and you’re lower body is ready to go!
Actually…I just though of one important stretch that you should do if you’re a runner – the runner’s stance stretch! I typically add this in between the quad stretch and the hamstring stretch, and it looks like this:
Hopefully a few of you got something out of this post – let me know whatcha think!
This post will be linked into the RAN Fitness tab at the top of the bloggy starting today! 😀 I’m also going to start recording my workouts in that section, so ya’ll can see (and I can keep record of!) my workouts on a day-to-day basis!
Is your lower body stretch routine similar to this? What type of stretching do you do post warm-up or post-cool down?