Cool down and stretching after your work out is very widely known to be just as important as the main exercises you do in your workout. When asked which stretches I like to do, after having a good think about this (as I like all of them!) here are my top five. I tend to take influence from Pilates and Yoga and it is all about the animal names ;)
1. The Pigeon - this is a particularly strong stretch and a more advanced position but it is a fab one! It is mainly to stretch out your glutes and groin area and apparently is also very good for alleviating sciatic pain. Great after lots of lunges and squats.
2. Downward Dog - a genius stretch for almost every part of your body and the standard ‘go to’ pose for Pilates and Yoga. Great for releasing tension from you spine, opening up your hips and shoulders, stretching your whole leg, strengthening your arms and apparently helps improve digestion - fab for someone who has a gluten intolerance!
3. Cat stretch - this stretch just feels so relaxing and apparently a great stress reliever. This one will stretch out your spine and your neck nicely.
4. Cobra stretch – another pretty strong stretch and you do need to be fairly supple in the first place to perform this one to its fullest potential. It really stretches out the muscles all the way down your abs and a lesser intense stretch in your shoulders and chest. It is also a pretty good exercise for strengthening your arms and shoulders as there is quite a bit of weight that goes through them both to keep you in this position.
5. Butterfly stretch – I have quite tight hips adductors (a muscle found in your inner thighs near your groin) and although I find this one quite challenging, it is very useful for stretching out an area that is pretty tough to do. Plus you do have to watch your posture with this one ensuring you keep your back fairly straight. Quite tough to get your knees on the ground as well – one for me to work on ;)
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