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, then 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:

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 the 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: “Strech AFTER a Workout”

Here’s why:

  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 the chance of injury.
  3. Static stretching can actually decrease your potential for strength gains and performance.
  4. If you stretch after your workout, your muscles will be warm and less likely to suffer an injury.[2]

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

Coach Staci covers such a warm-up in this video:

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

Okay, back to stretching.

Stretching AFTER a workout CAN be helpful, but perhaps not for the reason 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.

If you are interested in improving your mobility, make sure you check out these two guides:

  1. How to Touch Your Toes– which will walk you through 4 stretches to help you reach those little piggy wiggies.
  2. Flexibility Practice for the Inflexible – which provides exercises and stretches to help even the most rigid of us to improve mobility.

One last point – even if you’re JUST going to do some stretching, it’s still a good idea to warm up first for about five minutes. Again, it could just be with some legs kicks and arm circles:

Arm circles like so are a great way to get your heart rate up before doing HIIT.

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:

#1) The Ballet Stretch

#2) The Full Body Stretch:

#3) The Back Stretch:

No matter what training you’re 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!

The Tick is stoked you are putting on weight, muscle or fat, it means our strategy is working.

Before I dip out, if you want Nerd Fitness to help you along with your fitness journey, here are three ways we can help:

#1) If you want a professional coach in your pocket, who can do video form checks, provide feedback, and adjust your workouts based on your experience level, check out our 1-on-1 Online Coaching Program

For example, let’s say you have an old injury and couldn’t perform one of our streteches. A Nerd Fitness Coach can work with you to create a customized routine for your exact situation. 

Personally, I’ve been working with the same online coach since 2015 and it’s changed my life. You can learn more by clicking on the box below: 

#2) Exercising at home and need a plan to follow? Check out Nerd Fitness Journey!

Our fun habit-building app helps you exercise more frequently, eat healthier, and level up your life (literally).

Plus, you can take part in flexibility challenges alongside a group of nerds who are all trying to better themselves!

Try your free trial right here:

#3) Become part of the Rebellion! We need good people like you in our community, the Nerd Fitness Rebellion.

Sign up in the box below to enlist and get our Rebel Starter Kit, which includes all of our “work out from home” guides.

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: Decathlon, Amazing, 145, Batman, Nevada, FoamYoga.

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