We’ve talked about it before: recovery needs to be a daily focus, just like your workouts and nutrition. The truth, however, is that it can be difficult to know how to recovery properly on a daily basis. Some people claim foam rolling or soft tissue work is what you HAVE to do. Some claim yoga is needed on a weekly basis. Others are fans of stem for muscle recovery. For us, a combination of all of it would be best. The least sexy of all recovery techniques is stretching. Including a daily stretch routine in your health plan is simple, free, and will help your body feel much better.
You can easily spend thirty to sixty minutes stretching each day – but really, who has time for that? Unless you’re a professional athlete, the answer is probably not you. So, we’ve put together this simple guide for five stretches which will address many of the major muscle groups in your body and give you a holistic daily stretch routine.
Daily Stretch Routine
These five stretches will mobilize your hamstrings, glutes, hip flexors, lats, and shoulders. Complete each of them for 1:00 per side if you’re in a bit of a hurry, 2:00 per side if you have the time. If the stretch does both sides at once, hold for 2:00 total.
Standing straddle Stretch
To complete the standing straddle, spread your legs twice of the width of your shoulders. Bend at the hips while maintaining straight legs by slightly flexing your quads. Allow your arms to hang down and just relax into the stretch. This will target your hamstrings, groin, and lower back.
The couch stretch is one of those all-encompassing stretches which simultaneously mobilizes your quads, hip flexors, and ankles. To do this stretch, set a yoga mat or another pad close to a wall. Kneel on the pad, and put your other leg in front of you in a lunge position. Put your foot of the leg which is on the pad onto the wall, allowing the top of your foot to drag down the wall until your knee rests comfortably on the wall. Now, attempt to get your heel all the way to your butt. The closer to the wall your knee is, the harder the stretch will be.
A yoga favorite, the child’s pose, when done correctly, will open up your shoulders and stretch out your lats. This is particularly helpful if you do a workout routine which consists of a high volume of overhead movements like presses and pull ups. CrossFit or body building both typically have a lot of both. To do the child’s pose, start by sitting on top of your feet with your knees in front of your body. Walk your hands out in front of your body and push your head through your arms to the floor. You should feel this stretching in your shoulders and the side of your body.
The pigeon stretch is going to open up your hips and your glutes, two areas that should be the target of any daily stretch routine. The pigeon is simple to do and will have a huge impact on your mobility. To do the pigeon stretch, begin on your hands and knees. Bring your right knee up to your right hand, and extend your left leg behind your body. Try to keep your right shin parallel to the wall in front of you, and then either lean over that shin with your chest, or push up with your arms to keep your chest tall. Either way is fine. After your time on the right side, repeat on the left.
For the doorway stretch, you will need to find a door frame or a tall pole. Bend one arm at 90 degrees with your elbow directly in-line with your shoulder out to the side. Place the front of your forearm on the door frame, and then step out in front with your opposite foot like you are throwing a baseball. You will feel this stretch in your chest and in your shoulder.
There you have it! A simple, five step daily stretch routine to open up most of the major muscle groups of your body. If you have a specific mobility issue, you will want to focus more on that area, of course. However, as a general mobility tool, this is a great start to improving your recovery and mobility.