Post-workout stretches are the stretches performed after exercise. These stretches help the muscles return to their pre-workout state and cool your body down.
Post-workout stretches are often performed seated or lying down to relax the body and help lower the body temperature back to its resting state.
These stretches help to eliminate toxins such as lactic acid from the muscle fibres and stop your muscles feeling sore or tight as can often happen after an intense workout.
Post-workout stretches fall into two categories: maintenance stretches and developmental stretches. The type you choose to do depends on your aims:
Maintenance stretches are for muscles that already possess good flexibility and range of movement.
These stretches are regular stretches that moderately stretch the muscles to maintain their existing length and flexibility and ensure no shortening of the muscle over time.
These stretches should be performed regularly and each stretch should be held for up to 15 seconds.
Developmental stretches are for muscles which do not have sufficient flexibility and range of movement.
These stretches are special stretches, deeper than the maintenance stretches, which aim to increase muscle length and improve flexibility in the muscle.
These stretches have two parts – the first part of the stretch takes the muscle to the stretch reflex, then holds in place until the tension relaxes.
Then the muscle is stretched gently a little further beyond the initial stretch to increase the length of muscle and range of movement. These stretches should be held for up to 60 seconds.
For best and safest results, make sure you complete your post-workout stretches before your muscles have completely cooled down.
Explore the table below to discover the most common post-workout stretches. Try to include all of these useful stretches in your post-workout routine.
|Back thigh (hamstring)||Calf (gastrocnemius)||Back / spine (erector spinae)|
Inner thigh (adductor)
|Outer thigh (abductor)||Hip / buttock (gluteus maximus)|
Front thigh (quad)
|Side (obliques)||Stomach / hip (abdominals / hip flexors)|
Read about preparation stretches for before your exercise session, important for preparing the muscles for your workout and reducing the risk of injury.
Do you have any favourite post-workout stretches to add to this list? Let us know in the comments.