Stretching after a cardio workout can help you cool down and improve your flexibility. Try stretching for about 5-10 minutes after each round of cardio to stay flexible and recover faster after you exercise. Doing this will help ease your muscles and nervous system out of a tough cardio session and is great for your overall physical health. Your body will thank you for taking the extra time to stretch it out!
Method 1 Method 1 of 2:Performing Single-Muscle Stretches Download Article
Loosen up your glutes with a lying buttocks stretch. Lie on your back and pull your knees up to your chest, then place your right leg across your left thigh. Interlace your fingers behind your left thigh and pull it back towards your chest. Hold this stretch for 10-15 seconds, then repeat it for the other side.
- Generally, you should try to hold a stretch for about 10-30 seconds to get good results. However, if a stretch starts hurting or feels very uncomfortable, stop immediately to avoid straining and hurting yourself.
- Choose your stretches based on the muscles you used during your cardio. For example, cardio exercises like running, jogging, and cycling mainly use your lower body muscles, so your post-cardio stretching should focus mainly on these muscles.
Do a lying leg raise stretch to help relieve your hamstrings. Lie on your back with your knees bent, raise your right leg straight up in the air, and place both hands behind it just below your knee. Keep your left foot flat on the ground with your knee bent and pull your right leg back towards you. Hold your leg for 10-15 seconds, then release it and repeat the stretch with your other leg.
- You can repeat any stretch multiple times if you want to focus on certain muscles. For example, if your hamstrings feel tight, you can do this stretch 2-3 times per leg for extra relief.
- As an alternative to pulling your leg back with your hands, you can place a rope or strap over the bottom of your foot that’s up in the air and use it to pull your toes back towards your head.
Put your heel up on something and bend forward to stretch your hamstrings. Stand up and place your right heel up on a raised surface, such as a chair, bench, or ledge. Hinge forward at your waist, so your torso is at about a 45-degree angle to your waist, and hold the position for 30 seconds. Repeat this on the other side.
- Don’t pick a surface that is so high that you can’t balance comfortably. Anything at about chair height is generally a good height for this stretch.
Try a kneeling leg bend to help your quads recover and practice your balance. Place your right foot forward in a lunge position, with your leg bent 90 degrees. Put your left knee on the ground, grab your left toes with your left hand, and pull your left foot back up towards your buttocks. Hold this position for 30 seconds, then switch sides and repeat the stretch.
- This stretch requires some balance, so take your time and stabilize yourself at each step before you move on to the next step.
- If it feels particularly hard to hold this stretch for 30 seconds, try focusing on your breathing while you hold it and breathe more deeply.
Lift and hold a foot behind your butt to stretch your quads while standing. Stand up straight, then lift your right foot up behind your butt and grab it firmly with your right hand. Hold your foot for 30 seconds, then release it and switch sides.
- You can hold onto something with your other hand if it’s difficult to balance. You can also use this stretch to practice and improve your balance.
Try a forward half lunge with a straight back leg to stretch your calves. Put your right foot forward and bend your knee while standing, so that your upper leg is at about a 45-degree angle to your torso. Keep your left leg out straight behind you and press your heel down to the ground. Hold this position for 10-15 seconds, then switch sides and repeat it for the other leg.
- Don’t bounce up and down while you’re in this position as this can actually stress your calf tendons more.
Do a side-to-side lunge stretch to relieve tightness in your inner thighs. Stand up with your feet placed wider than shoulder width apart and your toes pointing forward. Bend in 1 knee and shift your body and weight sideways to that knee, keeping your other leg straight. Go as deep as you can and hold the stretch for 10 seconds, then switch sides.
- You can keep going back and forth between sides for 10 seconds at a time until you feel like your inner thighs aren’t tight anymore.
Method 2 Method 2 of 2:Targeting Multiple Muscles Download Article
Stretch your chest, shoulders, hamstrings, and lower back with a tip-over tuck. Stand straight with your feet about hip distance apart. Interlace your fingers behind your lower back, then lean forward and fold your torso over the fronts of your legs. Press your hands straight up above you, pulling them away from your back and shoulders. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, then slowly lift your torso back up.
- If you want to focus only on your chest and shoulders, you can keep your knees slightly bent. The straighter your legs are, the more it will stretch your hamstrings and lower back as well.
- This could be a good stretch to include after types of cardio that involve your upper body more, such as rowing or boxing.
Do a butterfly stretch to loosen your thighs and hips. Sit down with your back straight and the soles of your feet together in front of you, so your legs are bent and your knees are pointed out at your sides. Use your arms to press your knees down towards the floor. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds.
- If you want to add another element to this stretch, you can bend forward at your waist and lengthen your torso, keeping your eyes on your feet or the ground in front of you. This will stretch your lower back out as well.
Try a seated modified hurdler’s stretch to relax your thighs and hamstrings. Get into a seated butterfly pose with the soles of your feet together in front of you, then straighten out your left leg and put the sole of your right foot against your left inner thigh. Grab your left foot with your left hand and hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Repeat the move on your other side.
- If you want to make this move even more of a stretch, you can try folding forward over your straight leg and pressing your head against your knee.
- Always stop any stretch right away if you feel pain or if it is too difficult. You should feel some pressure, but it shouldn’t be overly uncomfortable or painful. Thanks! Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0