THE BEST STRETCHES
A step-by-step guide to simple stretches that will amplify your body’s recovery.
HOW TO LENGTHEN YOUR LIMBS AND STRETCH YOUR FITNESS
Whether you’ve smashed out a session of HIIT, wrapped up some weights or rounded off a run, a good stretch will pay dividends. Lengthening your limbs post workout will enhance your recovery so you stay on track with regular exercise. Follow these steps and reap the rewards.
To effectively wind down a workout you need to gradually reduce your activity levels and get your heart rate and breathing back to normal. We suggest you spend 5 – 10 minutes bringing your heart rate down and elongating your muscles with a series of stretches. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds and repeat three times on each side. Remember to increase tension gradually to create a gentle stretching sensation in the target muscle.
Lie down on your back with one leg bent flat on the floor. Cross your other leg so that the outside of the shin is stretched over the bent knee. Reach through the space between your two legs to hold your leg with the foot on the floor just below the knee. Draw this knee towards the chest until a stretch is felt in the buttock of the crossed leg.
Lie down on your back and raise your leg up in the air. Keep your knee relatively straight until a stretch is felt down the back of your thigh. Assist the leg by holding the base of the calf and gently pulling your leg upward. Your opposite leg can be bent or extended.
Hip flexor stretch
Kneel on one leg with your other leg bent to 90 degrees and your foot flat on the floor. Tilt your pelvis by contracting the buttock of the kneeling leg to create a stretch down the front of your hip. The stretch can be extended by pushing forward over your front leg to extend the hip of the leg being stretched. Your trunk should remain upright.
Push the leg you want to stretch back behind the body. Keep your feet facing forward and press your back heel to the floor. Bring your pelvis forward to create tension down the back of the lower leg. You can maximize the stretch by adjusting your rear foot so it is further back. This stretch can also be executed with a straight knee.
Stand on one leg and pull the foot of your other leg towards the buttock to create a stretch down the front of your thigh. Keep your knees together and the thigh of your stretched leg vertically in line with your trunk. Your opposite arm can be extended to the side for balance.
Extend both your arms behind your back and clasp your fingers. Relax the shoulders down and open your chest by gently pulling the elbows in towards each other.
Stand with one arm raised to shoulder height, flex the arm across to the other shoulder. Grasp your raised elbow with the opposite hand, exhale and pull your elbow across your body.
With your chest lifted and shoulders back, raise one arm and place the hand down the center of your back.
Gently increase the stretch by placing the other hand on the elbow of the stretching arm.
Iliotibial Band stretch
Stand with your feet hip width apart and slide foot of the leg you want to stretch behind the opposite foot. Keep your feet parallel and hips square to the front. Side bend your trunk away from the side to be stretched until tension is felt down the outside of you hip and the side of your trunk. Simultaneously reach the arm above the head to increase the range of the stretch.
:This piece originally appeared on https://www.lesmills.com/knowledge/fitness-research/the-best-stretches