Oct 5, 2017
Post Lifting Stretches

Post-workout stretching is essential for maximizing strength gains. When muscles are still warm from exercise they will be most receptive to stretching, which helps to get rid of kinks, decrease soreness, and increase flexibility. Here are some great stretches for athletes to do after a tough leg workout.

Standing Pigeon:

This stretch targets the glutes and hips. First, acquire a box or flat, stable surface that is about waist high. Then place one leg across the box at a 90-degree angle while pressing your opposite hip forward and rotating the hip that’s on the box backward.

Lizard Lunge:

Target your hips and hip flexors by doing this stretch with external rotation. Start by placing one foot in front of you so that your knee is behind your shin. Then extend your opposite leg behind you, roll to the outside of your foot, and press your knee away from your body. This will help open up the hips, which are essential for athletic performance.

Squat Hold:

In order to further open up the hips and stretch your thoracic spine, try out the squat hold with a reach back. Squat down as deep as you comfortably can hold while keeping your heels flat on the ground. Maintain this position while reaching one arm up in the air as you try to touch your bicep to your ear. This is a great way to stretch one of those hard to reach areas such as the thoracic spine.

Resistance Band Ankle Stretch:

Leg workouts put a lot of stress on the ankles and calves, but this stretch will help keep those areas healthy. First, find a stable and secure fixture that you can loop a resistance band around. Place one side of the resistance band around your ankle and then loop the other end around the fixture. Get down on the opposite knee and push your other knee forward so that it goes past your toes. Keep your heal flat while doing this. The band creates a stretch in your ankle by pulling your shin backwards.

Hamstring Stretch:

This simple stretch is essential for loosing up the all-important hamstrings. Sit on the ground and extend one leg straight out while tucking your other foot in. Bend forward and hold your foot, or hold your shin if you don’t have flexibility to reach further.

Quad Stretch:

Not to be overlooked, this basic stretch is crucial for keeping the quads healthy. Find a poll or a wall to place one hand on and stabilize with. Then with your other hand grab your foot and pull your heel towards your buttocks. Stretch each leg with both hands in order to target all of your quads.

Typically, all these stretches should be held for at least 20 seconds, and should be done for one to two rounds. As athletes build up flexibility they will be able to hold a longer and deeper stretch. Both sides should be stretched equally, and there should not be any pain. If an athlete is experiencing pain while stretching, either he or she went too deep into the stretch too fast, or is pulling on an injured muscle. Encourage your athlete to work into a stretch slowly and to tell you if they are experiencing pain.

For more details and examples of leg stretches, visit T-Nation.com and Active.com.

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