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12 Best Cool-Down Exercises To Do After Any Workout

Do these stretches post-workout to loosen your muscles for a faster recovery.

After a tough workout sesh, it’s best to take a few minutes to stretch. Stretching your muscles after an intense workout helps to prevent injuries. It also increases blood flow in your body so you’ll feel less sore and achy after your workout. Here’s an extensive range of exercises you should do to actively recover your muscles.

1. Arm Crossovers

Photos: Huy Pham

Targets triceps and shoulders
30 seconds each side

Stand with feet hip-width apart. Bring your straightened left arm over chest and use right arm to hold it in place. Hold for 30 seconds before switching sides.

(Also read: 6 Ways To Get Abs In A Month)

2. Overhead Tricep Stretch

Targets triceps
30 seconds each side

Stand with feet hip-width apart. Bending your right hand, reach over your back, palm facing back. Ensure that elbow is tucked beside your ear. Reach your left hand over to your right elbow and push it back slightly to deepen the stretch. Hold the position for 30 seconds before switching sides.

3. Lateral Bends

Targets obliques
30 seconds each side

Stand with feet hip-width apart. Lift right arm and stretch it upwards and over to your left side. Rest left hand on hips. Torso should bend and follow your hand until you can feel a stretch in right obliques. Hold for 30 seconds before switching sides.

(Also read: 7 Fun Yoga Poses To Improve Your Flexibility And Your Relationship)

4. Hamstring Stretch

Targets hamstrings and calves
30 seconds each side

Stand tall with both feet together. Take one step forward with right leg. Keep left knee soft and bend forward at your hips. Engage core while in this position. Straighten legs and stretch as far as you can. If possible, place both palms on the ground to balance. Hold for 30 seconds before switching sides.

5. Tip-Over Tuck

Targets shoulders and lower back
30 seconds

Stand with feet hip-width apart. Interlace fingers behind back. Bend over at hips while keeping legs straight. Tuck chin into chest and bring hands over your head. Hold for 30 seconds, before rolling back up.

(Also read: 6 Workout Plans To Suit every Singaporean Girl’s Personality And Lifestyle)

6. Hip Flexors Stretch

Targets hip flexors
30 seconds

From standing position, take a big step forward with right foot. Bend extended leg slightly and rest it on the ground. Place something soft under the knee (like a towel) to cushion, if necessary. Lower yourself until you feel a stretch in the hip flexor of your back leg. Your right knee should be directly above your ankle. Make sure it does not go over your toes. Hold for 30 seconds before switching sides.

7. Chest Stretch Against Wall

Targets chest
30 seconds each side

Stand with feet hip-width apart next to a wall or pillar. Place right palm on the wall, in line with shoulders. With your right hand planted firmly, turn body away. Turn left foot away for a deeper stretch. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds before switching sides.

(Also read: 8 Crossfit Moves You Should Do To Get Lean And Strong)

8. Heel Drop Stretch

Targets calves
30 seconds each side

Stand with the ball of foot on the edge of the step. Drop heel towards the ground until you feel a stretch in your calf. Bend other leg slightly and balance weight on both legs. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds before switching sides.

9. Butterfly Pose

Targets adductors
30 seconds

In seated position, bend both knees and bring soles of feet together. Let legs flare outwards like an opened book. Press knees down to open hips more. Lengthen spine and slowly lean forward, towards your legs. Clasp feet with hands to go deeper into the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds, before slowly rolling back up.

(Also read: 4 Types Of Runs You Need To Do To Run Faster & Stronger)

10. Figure Of Four

Targets glutes and hips
30 seconds each side

In seated position, place left ankle over right thigh. Support yourself by placing both palms firmly on ground, slightly wider than hip-width apart. Lean torso forward and keep back soft. Hold for 30 seconds before switching sides.

11. Cat-Cow Pose

Targets shoulders, spine and lower back
30 seconds

Get down on all fours, knees hip-width apart. Keep hands directly under shoulders, and spine neutral. Cow pose: Inhale as you arch back and let your belly sink towards the ground. Look up. Cat pose: Exhale, tuck chin into chest, draw belly in, and curve spine upwards. Continue for 30 seconds.

12. Seated Spinal Twist

Targets glutes and hips
30 seconds each side

Sit with legs in front of you. Bend left knee and cross it over right thigh. Left foot should be flat on the ground. Twist your body to the left. Turn more as you exhale. Hug left knee with right arm to maintain the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds before switching sides.

(Also read: 12 Dynamic Warm-up Exercises to Make You Run Faster)




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