Picture this: You only have one hour to get in your whole workout routine for the day. You’ve made a promise to yourself you intend to keep, but you don’t want to go crazy with strength training unless you have the time to warm up and cool down afterwards. What can you do?
Here are our top stretches to throw in your strength training routine to reduce recovery time.
1. Inchworm – The inchworm is an awesome, full body exercise that can be used as a warm up, cool down, and strength training. Little tweaks here and there can help you get in a good workout while stretching out for later.
The Workout: Start with your feet hip width apart, hands behind your head. Keeping your focus forward, squat down and back up again. Reach your hands to the ceiling, and hinge at the hips to fold forward. Walk your hands out into a plank, really feeling your core engaged. Walk your hands back to your feet, and stand back up right. This is 1 rep.
The Stretch: When you reach your hands to the ceiling, really reach and feel a good stretch down your sides and lats. When you walk your hands out on the floor into the plank, go as slow as you need to feel that stretch in your hamstrings.
2. Knee To Chest – When you’re laying on your back ready to work your abs, there are so many stretches you can incorporate in your rest time between sets. Today we’ll talk about Knee to Chest.
The Workout: Laying flat on your back, place your hands crossed in front of you or behind your head. Gently curl your upper spine forward, keeping your gaze straight ahead, engaging the core as you come upwards. Holding this position, bend your right knee and bring it towards your chest while simultaneously straightening the left leg directly out (should be parallel to the floor). Take a breath and switch legs. This is the bicycle.
The Stretch: Either between full sets or between every leg switch, take hold of your leg just underneath the knee, and pull in towards your belly button. Take a deep breath and with each exhale, gently pull closer, getting a great stretch in the glutes and spine.
3. The Cobra – The cobra is technically a yoga move, but it absolutely helps us to build strength and stretch our stiff muscles. This exercise is incredibly underrated – especially for those of us who sit all day! It flexes the spine as opposed to bending forward which we tend to do over a computer or phone.
The Workout: Lie flat on the floor face down with your arms out in front of you. Bend your elbows so they are tucked into your chest with your fingers spread apart. Legs should be together, or as close together as you can get them. Inhaling, imagine there is a little marble you are trying to push with your nose. Push yourself up, slowly articulating the spine, until your elbows have straightened and you are holding yourself up. Gently lower back down. Elevate this workout by adding a plank or a push up.
The stretch: You should feel a deep stretch in your low back, and perhaps through your shoulders depending on how tight you are. We highly recommend this one!