The absolute worst part of exercising is the subsequent soreness. Not the ooo-that-was-a-great-workout- soreness but the wake up barely capable of moving soreness. Of course soreness usually subsides once your body becomes acclimated to the intensity of your workout but without properly stretching out the muscles following a workout, you may feel the consequences the next morning. Or perhaps you have LIFE soreness, which means anything done within your daily life that may contribute to soreness. For instance, I use to wake up to daily back pain, it was the complete worst and last night I had a class participant that believed she developed back pain from driving a stick shift all day. Our bodies are different, unique and in my opinion quite sensitive. Sometimes we don’t have the time to give it the attention it deserves which causes it to remind us through body pains etc.
Our body likes to stretch, it gives us a chance to reconnect with our bodies and find out what hurts so we can key in on it next time. It also allows us to heal in between workouts, strengthen our muscles and increase our flexibility. Yoga may seem like a cult-ish activity (well it is really) but the reason is due to the way it makes participants feel. Throw away the fact that doing yoga is a “cool” thing to do nowadays, it’s really an opportunity to relax and release the tension with tend to hold in our bodies through various levels of stretching. Here’s some easy non-show-off stretches to do at home or gym prior to or following a great workout.
Half Wheel Stretch Targets: quads, abs, chest, shoulders, neck Begin lying flat on your back with your arms along the sides of your body, palms facing down. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Lift your hips off the floor and clasp your hands together below your pelvis, extending through your arms. Rock your weight from side to side to bring your shoulder blades closer together. Stay here for 30 seconds.
Tipover Tuck Targets: hamstrings, lower back, chest, shoulders Stand with your feet hips-width distance apart. Inhale to interlace your hands behind you, pressing the heels of your palms together in a double fist. As you exhale, fold forward at the hips. Keep your legs straight and press your navel toward your thighs to encourage a straight spine. Fold as deeply as you can, pressing your weight forward into your toes. Hold for 30 seconds.
Bow Pose Targets: back and flexibility. Start by lying on the belly. Bend the knees, bringing the heels of the feet close to the body. Sweep the arms behind the back to grab the ankles. Start to kick the feet into the hands, as you peel the chest off of the mat, keeping the hip points and lower belly pressing down. Keep rolling the shoulders back and down and send the gaze up towards the ceiling. Hold the pose for 3 steady breaths.
Pyramid Pose Targets: leg strength, posture and balance. Square the pelvis with the front of the mat. Press your thighs inward like you are squeezing a block between your thighs. As you exhale, release the chest towards the front thigh, lengthening the spine forward.
C-Curve Targets: the Lower Back. Sit on floor with knees bent, feet on floor about 12 inches in front of butt. Interlace fingers behind hamstrings, pointing elbows out to sides. Round back, tightening pelvic floor and pulling navel in toward spine; focus on your belly button with jaw pulled in.
Modified Cobra Targets: the Abdominals. Lie facedown on the floor with thumbs directly under shoulders, legs extended with the tops of your feet on the floor. Tighten your pelvic floor, and tuck hips downward as you squeeze your glutes. Press shoulders down and away from ears. Push through your thumbs and index fingers as you raise your chest toward the wall in front of you. Relax and repeat. Do 5 reps total.
If that’s not enough, here’s a calming stretch video below: