If you’re someone who avidly works out, then you likely understand that you may often hit a plateau with your workout. There are going to be days or weeks where it just doesn’t feel like you are getting the most out of your workout. If you’re looking for a simple way to take your workout to the next level without having to change the entire routine, you may want to add a few stretches into the mix. Just spending five or ten minutes on stretching before you begin can make a big difference in how successful your workout is. Let’s take a look at some of the best stretches to use.
Your quad is the muscle that is right on the top of your thigh. This is very commonplace to pull a muscle or experience a cramp. You’ll want to lift your foot up, holding it behind you. Basically, you’re folding your leg behind you at the knee. Make sure that you hold onto it with your hand. Switch feet and repeat on the other leg.
Calf stretches also help in recovery from injuries. This is something you’ll want to do in order to prepare any muscles that might not be cooperating as well as you would like them to. Take a step back with one leg. Bend your back heel down towards the floor. Hold this position for about 5 to 10 seconds. Carefully take a step back and repeat with the other leg.
The hamstring is another area of the body that is very prone to muscle strains and pulls. In order to stretch this area of the body, stand straight up. Bend your body completely forward. Try to touch your toes without having to bend at the knees very much. You should feel some gentle pulling and burning sensation on the back of your thigh.
People often neglect to stretch their upper body before or after a workout. Even if you won’t be lifting weights or focusing on your upper body, it’s still important to stretch this area. Stand up nice and tall. Stretch your arms out behind your back. Lift them slowly upwards toward the sky. Hold this for a few seconds at a time. Repeat a few times before beginning your workout.
It’s also a good idea to finish your workout with some stretches. Stretching before your workout will prime your muscles and body for what is to come. When you are done, the stretches will calm your muscles and help them prepare for recovery. You can use these same stretches post-workout, or you can use different ones that you find beneficial as a cool down.
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