Everyone knows that it’s important to stretch after exercising, but not all gym goers heed trainers’ stretching advice. After a long workout, the stretching mat is the last place most people want to be, but it’s still good to dedicate at least a couple minutes of gym-time to stretching at the end in order to release the tension of your muscles and return them to a relaxed state. Stretching the main muscle groups increases blood flow and circulation to reduce muscle soreness and also helps you attain better posture and alignment. What’s more, failing to stretch can cause soreness and impingements that can hinder the effectiveness of your next workout, as well as lead to injuries down the line.
Most trainers recommend that you stretch for at least 10 minutes at the end of a workout, and today we’re giving you the best stretches to make that recovery period count. Rounded up from a variety of sources, we’ve compiled a list of seven popular stretches that fitness experts deem important, and we even explain how and why they are valuable. So sit down and stretch it out. We’re about to make the post-workout recovery period a little more fun.
1. Swan stretch
The first stretch we’re highlighting today is the swan stretch. Given a couple of different names, this stretch isn’t only for yogis, as it effectively stretches anyone’s shoulders, chest, back, and abs. Self.com helps explain how one should go about mastering this stretch. It says to lie facedown on the floor with your hands in front of shoulders, fingers facing forward, legs together and extended behind you. Press into your hands to lift belly off floor, and then as you keep your abs engaged, shoulders down and pelvis grounded, lengthen your upper body away from mat, and reach out and up from the top of your head. Then draw your shoulder blades together and open your chest. Ideally, you should hold the stretch for 30 to 45 second, release, and then do it four times over, for a combined five sets.