6 Stretching Routines for 6 Different Workouts

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
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Is there anything better than a good stretch after a tough workout? Taking the time to cool down and help your muscles relax as you reflect on your accomplishment for the day is second to nothing when it comes to exercise. Although it can be tempting to skip the stretch if you're short on time, stretching has some great benefits you can't ignore.

One reason some people neglect their post-workout stretch is that they aren't sure what exactly to do to help their body start to recover. Wonder no more: These six stretching routines are specifically designed to target the muscles you just worked in six of the most common workouts. Each will leave you energized and ready to tackle the daily challenges that lie ahead.

Current recommendations are to stretch after a workout when your muscles are warm, but not before.  Hold each stretch for 15 to 30 seconds in a static position (no bouncing). Release, then hold again for another 15 to 30 seconds. You should stretch to the point of mild discomfort, but never pain. If you are unable to perform any of the suggested stretches in the routine, SparkPeople's Exercise Library has a number of variations from which to choose.

Running or Walking


Both running and walking use the same primary muscles: hip flexors, hamstrings, quadriceps and glutes. This routine will focus primarily on those muscles, but also includes a few core and upper body stretches to make your whole body feel good.

Pilates


Although this workout primarily challenges your core—abs, hips and lower back—you'll feel it in your legs and arms, too. Here's a stretching routine to help you feel longer and stronger after your Pilates workout.
  

Rowing


It's easy to think of rowing as an upper-body workout, but when done correctly, rowing actually works your entire body. After a rowing workout, you'll need a stretching routine that relaxes your muscles from head to toe.

Kickboxing


After a round of jabs, crosses and roundhouse kicks, you need to stretch out those hips and arms while you revel in what a tough guy (or gal) you've become. These stretches will leave you feeling full of energy and ready to tackle the rest of your day.

 

Circuit Training


A bonus because it's two workouts in one, both the strength training and cardio exercises will challenge your entire body in a circuit training routine. This workout might leave you feeling muscles you never realized you had before, so what better time to stretch it all out?

Plyometrics


Also referred to as jump training, plyometrics uses explosive movements to increase your calorie burn and improve your fitness level. These routines are typically high impact, which means you will need a gentle routine to help you relax and recover afterward.

 
Take five to 10 minutes after each workout to stretch and you'll find that it's time well-spent. No matter your age, fitness level or flexibility level, stretching should be a regular part of your fitness routine. Even if it's the same few basic stretches at the end of any workout you do, the physical and mental benefits you'll reap make it well worth your time.


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