While many people see the benefit of working out multiple times a week, few realize the benefit of consistent stretching. Stretching is the best thing you can do for your body before and after you work out. In addition to common stretching, using a foam roller can be a great way to further loosen up your body.
The day after a workout, many people experience tightness and soreness in their muscles. For that reason, athletes will only work out every other day, using "recovery days." While recovery days can be helpful, you should work out 2-3 days in a row before taking one. Stretching can help you reach this goal by alleviating pain and tightness in your muscles.
It's important to stretch hamstrings and quads, but people often overlook smaller muscle groups that can cause additional pain and discomfort.
Stretching your hip flexors, calves, and your entire upper body will not only loosen you up, but also make you feel strong and energetic. Many times these muscles will be the ones causing the nagging pain you feel after working out.
Directly after stretching, you should use a foam roller to help speed up your recovery by rolling out your muscles.
Foam rollers come in different hardness levels, ranging from beginner level to advanced. Using a foam roller can be painful, so try one of the softer rollers to start. The foam roller can be used for every muscle, but it is most commonly used to roll out the extremely tight IT band on the outside of each leg between the hamstring and quad. The foam roller is the perfect way to alleviate pain by elongating this band. Another helpful use for the roller is to massage your back. Many people suffer from back pain and tightness. The roller is an easy way to massage your back by yourself. If you use this foam roller after every workout session, or even every day, you will feel much better and more energetic.
By taking time out of your day to stretch and roll out your muscles, you will feel better and be able to get more out of future sessions. There is a reason coaches and personal trainers stress the importance of stretching. Try these stretching techniques for a week and you'll begin to see the drastic benefits.
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