What kind of stretches should I do post-workout?
Hey there, fit babes!
I recently got asked what kind of stretches were best to do after a workout and wanted to share more of my thoughts about this. It may be a bit controversial; however, so I highly encourage you to do your own research on the matter if you are looking for a bit more scientific evidence and supporting information to back it up.
As a health and fitness professional, I am well aware of the many benefits of stretching. Stretching helps to loosen and lengthen the muscle tissues, which aids in the development of overall flexibility. However, what I’ve learned through my own experiences is that there is a time and a place for stretching, and it shouldn’t always be done after every single workout.
That’s why, personally, I actually DON'T like to stretch post-workout anymore.
This is mainly because I’ve been working on increasing my strength & stability over flexibility & mobility, after recovering from a lower back injury at the end of last year. Through rehabilitating myself, I learned that it’s actually more-than-possible to be TOO flexible, and that sometimes stretching actually does your body more of a disservice than it aids.
Yes, stretching helps to keep the muscles long & flexible, but sometimes (especially when your goal is to lift heavier weights), this comes at a price.
Stretching after a workout can often lead to your muscles being TOO stretched out, making it difficult for your body to eliminate the buildup of lactic acid, inflammatory markers, and other molecules that accumulate following intense exercise. And although this doesn’t happen all the time, stretching too often may also prevent the engagement of certain muscles during subsequent workouts - which may lead to injury in the long run.
Ultimately, although there are a TON of articles & journals on the subject matter (I can happily recommend some, if you’d like!), my advice is to ALWAYS do what works best for YOU.
If you’re feeling like your body could use a good stretch, STRETCH. But if you’re just doing it because you think that’s what you’re supposed to be doing, try forgoing the stretch after your workout and see whether or not that makes a difference on your recovery.
For me, I usually tend leave any stretches to my active recovery days, or in the mornings. However, if I ever feel the need for a good post-workout stretch, I’ll usually do some dynamic bodyweight exercises that still engage my core and use my muscles. This can include:
→ Downward Dog to Plank
→ Slow Glute Bridges
→ Low Side-to-Side Lunges
→ Deep Frog Squats
→ Walking Lunges
→ Modified Sprawls
Doing any combination of these moves are all great ways to cool down without limiting blood flow or oxygen to the muscles you’ve worked after your workout & will likely leave you feeling amazing and READY to conquer the rest of your day!
With love and wellness,