6 Essential Cool Down Stretches to Help Avoid Injury

They're only going to benefit you in the end.

cool down stretches

At the end of every strenuous workout, take the time to do these cool down stretches

“Don’t underestimate the cool-down at the end of your workout,” says award-winning personal trainer Geoff Bagshaw. “You’ve worked hard to get to this point, so you should enjoy it. Take a few minutes to relax and stretch out all of the major muscles you used. The stretches will keep you limber and prevent tightness, helping you avoid injury.” (Read up on five exercise strategies to help reduce your risk of injury.) Here, Bagshaw shares six cool down stretches that are a must-add to your post-workout routine.

Tip: Hold the following cool down stretches (without moving) for 10 to 15 seconds, making sure to do both sides.

Quadriceps

Lying on your right side, pull left heel into left glute, feeling the stretch in the front of the thigh. Repeat with the right leg.

Hamstrings

Lying on your back, lift and straighten one leg directly above hips. Holding the calf or thigh, press heel toward ceiling as you pull leg back toward chest. Switch legs.

Glutes

Lying on your back, cross right leg over bent left knee. Then bring left knee to chest, holding onto the back of your thigh, gently pressing right knee wide. Switch legs.

Chest

Standing straight, interlace fingers behind your back as you straighten out your arms and lift chin to ceiling.

Triceps and shoulders

Take one arm overhead, bend at elbow joint, and extend palm down centre of your back, gently pulling elbow with opposite hand. Take same arm across the chest, gently pulling at the elbow joint, to extend through the shoulder. Switch arms.

Core and back

On all fours, round out your back (like an angry cat), and then invert it, making a C-shape with your spine. Repeat three times. Then sit back between your heels, with forehead on the mat and arms extended in front of you, as you lengthen your back. After you’ve finished with your cool down stretches, learn the real reason why you should be making post-workout stretching a priority.

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