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, using a foam roller is a great way to further loosen up your muscles.

Tight muscles and soreness are common the day after a workout, and that causes some athletes to break up their schedule for recovery. While full rest days are important, regular stretching will minimize the need to cut back on your routine.

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 improve practical strength and range of motion. Connective muscles are often the culprit for intense soreness. They deserve attention in daily stretching.

Use a foam roller after a post-workout stretch to help speed up your recovery by rolling out your muscles.

Using a foam roller can be painful, but they allow for deep tissue massage. They can be used on any muscle, and commonly are used to loosen the IT bands. These tendons, located on the outside of each leg, are used all day long by connecting the pelvis and the knees. They grow to be extremely tight if ignored, but are very difficult to stretch. Gliding over them with a foam roller will elongate them and loosen them up.

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 a foam roller after every workout session, or even every day, you will feel much better.

Mixing a stretching routine into your schedule will keep you loose and allow you to train harder. Dedicate some daily time to stretching small muscles and foam rolling for the next week. You will feel the results!

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