In our last article we went over some basic stretches to do before working out. Something to keep in mind is that a lot of these can effectively be used to warm up before doing any exercise or physical activity, but you can also use them the day after an intense workout to relieve soreness.
For stretching out your shoulders (especially when you are sore), a good stretch is the elbow pull. Just stick your right hand elbow up in the air, and put your right hand on your shoulder blade, or at least as close as you can get. Now use your opposite hand and pull your elbow to the left until it is in the middle of your back. Hold for 30 seconds, repeat on the opposite side.
If you have to do dead lifts or squats, or if you have sore glutes, this next stretch is one of the best (and one of a few) that will actually target your glutes directly. Sit down on the ground and extend your right leg outward to the right, then take your left foot and put it behind your right leg. Now pull your left leg backwards, and it should stretch out your left leg. Now switch sides. This is one of the few, and one of the best, exercises to target your glutes.
Another hard group to target is your pectoral muscles. This one is a little more involved. First, find a corner that you can stretch in. Next, stick your favored leg forward, and bend it, and stick your back leg backwards and keep it straight. Next, put both of your hands on the wall, on either and opposite corner. Now push yourself towards the wall until you are almost right next to it. Your hands should be just past your shoulders. This should target your pecs if done correctly. An easier one to do, if you do not have access to a corner, is to lock your fingers behind your head, above the top half of the back of your head, and push your fingers back with your head.
Lower Back Stretching
Another good stretch that will help relieve stiffness all over your body is to stand straight up, then separate your legs past your shoulders, stick your right hand in the air, and then push your right hand left. This will target your lower back and hips, and your upper body.
For soreness, using your muscles lightly the next day will also help. This means if you did sprints or rode a bike, take a light walk. This will help you build up a tolerance to the soreness, but also works out the lactic acid and helps trigger your body to target the existing inflammation and start repairs. For lifting, using 5 pound dumbbells or doing body exercises that mimic your sore muscles will help. So either body squats or push-ups or bench press.
For more information about safe stretching and work outs, visit STR8 Training, a 24 hour fitness San Marcos gym, to speak with one of our professional trainers.