We tend to only focus on the workouts that are going to whip our booties into shape, but warming up and cooling down can be just as important. Part of this process is stretching. Handstand Trainer, Sabrina Z. is here to share the stretches you should be doing pre and post workout. If you aren’t familiar with Handstand, it’s an app for on demand personal trainers that are certified and specialize in different workouts. Yes, once again, technology makes life a little easier! Here’s what Sabrina has to say:
Yoga is all about stretching right?! As a yoga instructor who teaches at different studios and on Handstand, I get this question everyday. Though yoga does consist of stretching, it is similar to any other physical activity where Pre & Post stretching are key factors to success.
Pre and Post stretches can be more specific depending on what part of the body you will be focusing on for that day but these key stretches can be added to any fitness regimen. Whether you’re hitting up power flow yoga or working on getting fit for summer with circuit training!
Roll Out! Rolling out with a foam roller, tune up balls, or even tennis balls can be helpful before any workout. Rolling out releases the myofascia that allows the body to move more freely. Make sure you focus on rolling out the area of the body that you will be working on the most that day.
Dynamic stretching is key! When you think of stretching you usually assume you should just hold the body in one position to stretch it out, however moving in and out of the position will do a better job at warming the muscles. Try this by doing a walking lunge, or an active bridge pose, adding the arms up over your head as the pelvis lifts, your calf rises adding the arms up overhead as your legs lift while taking your arms down as your feet come down.
In today’s society we spend so much time in a car, or on our computers and phones, so it’s key before any workout to release the tension in your neck, shoulders, and spine. Head rolls and shoulder rolls are an old favorite. Spice this up by bringing your hands onto your shoulders allowing your four fingers to be in the front of your shoulder and your thumb in the back. Then begin to roll the shoulders by bringing the elbows together and apart. This will allow a larger range in motion that really opens up your rotator cuff.
The Cat and Cow pose is great to activate the spine and upper back. To change up your basic Cat and Cow try it seated with your legs crossed!
Now this is the time to hold the stretch! Because your body is nice and warm, you’ll be able to sit in a pose for a longer period of time. Butterfly Pose is a staple for just about any workout you have done. Instead of leaning forward towards your feet, you can spice up this stretch by lying on your back. This way, you’ll notice the release or stretch in the groin.
Thread the Needle, usually done on your back, can be done from table top position by keeping one hand firmly planted on the floor, extending the other arm up and out to the side and threading the extended arm underneath the stationary arm while releasing the shoulder and ear down to the ground. The deeper stretch option? For a little more stretch add the opposite leg out to the side as well.
Laying down on your back and coming into a simple spinal twist is great, not only for neutralizing the spine after your workout but for digestion. Yes digestion! Taking a twist rings out our internal organs allowing our body to break down food easier. If you need an upper back stretch go ahead and take your knees closer towards your arms as you twist. If you’re looking for a lower back stretch, then take your knees further away from you.
Always remember to listen to your body, it will always know your limit best!