Once your heart rate slows down following an intense interval workout and cooldown, perform a stretching routine to give your muscles a little TLC. Try this stretch after intense cardio, such as running or other workouts that require sudden changes in direction. This move works the piriformis, a deep gluteal muscle that helps to rotate and stabilize your hips during training.
From a seated position on the floor, bend your left leg in front of you so that your knee points to the left and the sole of your foot to the right. Extend your right leg straight behind you. Keep your torso tall and hold here for five breaths, or, for a deeper stretch, reach your arms straight ahead and fold forward as shown. Gently release when you are done, then switch sides.
- Make stretching a priority, not an afterthought to your workouts. Schedule your postworkout stretch session into your day in the same way that you schedule exercise. Write it down in your calendar.
- Don't stretch cold muscles.
- Take your time. Rushing through stretches can lead to injuries and pain.
- Know your limits. If a stretch feels wrong for your body, it probably is. Listen to your body.
- Do not bounce. It can lead to injury.
- Remember to breathe.