Post-Workout Stretches to Prevent Injury

They say, “No pain, no gain.” But does that imply you should be uncomfortable or sore after working out? While you can’t help that your muscles will ache a bit after a few intensive sessions, there are some preventative steps you can take to ease this. That’s why we’d like to share a few post-workout stretches to prevent injury. 

It’s true! Post-workout stretches can speed up muscle regeneration after a workout. That’s why many people liken stretches to flossing, you don’t always do it, but you SHOULD make it a habit.  

According to a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, performing three sets of 10 reps of static stretches after a weight-machine routine helps bring blood pressure down more quickly as it increases blood flow and oxygen supply. Apart from muscle recovery, performing stretches while the muscles are warm increases the range of movements.

Here are a few primer post-workout stretches to build into your repertoire.  

Downward Dog

The downward dog pose isn’t just for beginning yoga students — it’s also great to wind down after a workout! The “low dog” stretch (as I call it) energizes and rejuvenates the entire body. It deeply stretches your hamstrings, shoulders, calves, arches, hands, and spine while building strength in your arms, shoulders, and legs.

Start in plank position, then exhale as you tuck your toes and lift your knees off the floor. Reach your pelvis up toward the ceiling, drawing your sit bones toward the wall behind you. Gently begin to straighten your legs, but do not lock your knees. Bring your body into the shape of an “A,” keeping your arms stretched out in front. Tuck your chin to your chest and feel that incredible stretch.

Wall Calf Stretch

Calf muscles often get neglected during our stretching efforts. However, calf stretches are mandatory for those who run, do high-impact workouts, or spend a lot of time on their feet. That’s because calves can get extremely tight from impact, and stretching relieves any pain that might travel up the knee. 

Triceps Stretch

Don’t forget to show your triceps some love! The best part is that you’ll also feel this stretch on your neck, back, and shoulders. To begin, extend your hands overhead and bend your right elbow, reaching for your neck. Your left hand should be extended overhead and grasping your right elbow. Now, pull your right elbow down toward your head, and feel that excellent stretch. Switch arms and repeat to get a full range of motion. 

Shoulder & Neck Rolls

Speaking of your neck, drop your right ear to your right shoulder, tucking your chin. Roll your chin to your chest and bring your head to your left shoulder. Continue to roll your head around in both directions for 30-45 seconds, making sure to keep your shoulders down. You can even hold dumbbells to help do this.

Next, bring your shoulders up, back, and down, and then roll your shoulders backward for 30 seconds. Then the other way.  

Hamstring Stretch

We can’t forget about those hamstrings! If you engage in high amounts of cardiovascular activity or perform strength training exercises, this stretch is perfect for you. Start by sitting tall, with your spine in a straight line. Reach your arms overhead towards the sky, and take a deep breath. As you exhale your breath, bend forward from the waist, and reach your arms towards your feet. Extend your arms as much as possible, holding onto your calves, ankles, or feet if possible. Hold this pose for 20 seconds for the best results.

One More Thing

Did any of these post-workout stretches work for you? Let me know at hello@heartandsoulblog.com, as I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please be sure to subscribe to the Heart & Soul Newsletter to receive more great tips straight to your inbox each Friday. Until then, if you’re interested in learning more about workout motivation, check out 5 Ways to Promote Workout Accountability.  

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