How to Stretch: 3 Full Body Stretching Routines To Cool Down

This LEGO is ready to play some sports! Should he stretch before or after his exercise?

Today, you’re going to learn how to stretch.

If your warm-up is the appetizer, and your strength based workout is the main course, than a post-workout stretching routine is the dessert (sorry for making you think about Creme brulee).

In this guide, we’ll cover it all (click to get to those sections):

Now, if you’re stretching as part of a strength training routine, you might be interested in our 1-on-1 Online Coaching Program.

We don’t just focus on weight loss, but helping people level up their entire lives. That includes nutrition, mobility, goal setting, and even overcoming fears and becoming an actual superhero.

Okay let’s get bendy like gumby!

Beginner Full Body Stretching Routine Video

The Beginner Full Body Stretching Routine:

  1. Reach above and fully extend your body.
  2. Keep legs straight, bend forward and stretch for 10 seconds.
  3. Stretch towards the left for 10 seconds, and then the right for 10 seconds.
  4. With legs together bend forwards for 10 seconds.
  5. Squat down and hug your knees to your chest.
  6. Roll onto your back in the same position.
  7. Kneel and lean back with arms extended and rock forwards stretching the lower back (repeat 3-5 times).
  8. Sit with the bottoms of your feet together, lean forward and stretch (repeat 2 or 3 times).

You can do this routine both AFTER your strength training routine, and also on your off days. Do your best to stick with this routine regularly to get maximum benefits like increased mobility and flexibility!

Advanced Stretching Routine

This advanced stretching routine is a mix of yoga, stretching, tai-chi, pilates, and awesome [1].

Although I move quickly through the movements to keep the video short, don’t confuse my movements with bouncing. Stretch as far as you can, hold it for a few seconds without bouncing, and then repeat the process

Is Yoga Good for a post-workout stretch?

Yoga is awesome.

It can help improve flexibility, strength, and mindfulness.

Plus, if you’re looking for a stretching routine to cool down with after your training, yoga almost seems built for it. Oftentimes a yoga routine will end in corpse pose, the perfect posture after a hard training session.  

Here is a FULL yoga routine you can do anywhere. It’s a great routine to follow on your non-training days:

The above video (Water Series – A)  is taken from our course, Nerd Fitness Yoga. If you like it, I’d encourage you to go browse the page and check it out.

Want more free videos and demos on yoga poses? You can click right here for “21 Yoga Poses for Beginners.”

Using a Foam roller for post-workout stretches

Do you own a foam roller?

With that, and a little floor space, you’ll have all you need for perfect post-workout stretch.

Let’s show you how to do the following:

  • Thoracic Spine
  • Glutes (both sides)
  • Quads (one at a time)
  • Abductors

Here’s a video demonstrating the moves, plus a T-Rex (this is Nerd Fitness after all):

Want more tips on starting a foam roller practice? Click right here for our article “How to Use A Foam Roller.”

Should I stretch Before or After A Workout?

Let’s get the answer to this question right out of the way: “Should I Stretch BEFORE or AFTER my workout?”

The science is pretty clear on this one:

  1. This consolidation of studies didn’t find any benefits to stretching before a workout.
  2. Static stretching will not result in the reduction of chance of injury.
  3. Static stretching can actually decrease your potential for strength gains and performance.

Instead, you should be doing a dynamic warm-up before you strength train (jump jacking, leg swings, arm circles) instead.

As this study shows, “a dynamic warm up” can also help reduce soreness after a workout.

Back to stretching.

Stretching AFTER a workout CAN be helpful, but not for the reasons you’d expect!

Stretching hasn’t been proven to reduce soreness or improve one’s recovery time, but stretching CAN help improve flexibility.

This is super helpful if you have the flexibility and mobility of this robot:

So stretching after a workout allows you to work on flexibility and mobility without needing to worry about losing your strength (if you had stretched before your workout)!

And with improved flexibility comes improved performance in almost all areas of life (yup, even THAT).

  • Also, as you get older, your flexibility and mobility start to go…making you FEEL older.
  • If you can stay flexible, you’re more likely to stay happy and healthy for far longer.
  • Staying flexible keeps you active, and staying active keeps you young.

pARTING WORDS ON STRETCHING EXERCISES

What’s that? You want even more stretching recommendations?

Depending on how you’re feeling, where you’re sore, and so on – you can throw in some additional movements:

The Ballet Stretch

The Full Body Stretch:

The Back Stretch:

No matter what training your doing, whether it’s with bodyweights, actual weights, or running, always make sure you take some time post-workout for some stretching exercises: you’ll be improving your flexibility which gets more important every day you get older!

Alright, your turn:

Do you have any favorite post-exercise stretches?

Any difficult areas you try and troubleshoot after your training?

What do you do to help with post-workout recovery?

Let us know in the comments!

-Steve

PS: With all this talk on post-workout stretching, did you remember to warm up before your workout? I got you!

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All photo citations can be read right here.[2]

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