At TMR we LOVE muscles! Building them, articulating them and using them! To make sure your muscles are really being taken care of you need to stretch. Here are some post workout stretches that we recommend.
What they are: Hamstring is actually a catch-all term for a group of three muscles that run along the back of your thigh between your hip and knee. The Hamstrings consist of the Biceps Femoris muscle, the Semitendinosus muscle, and the Semimembranosus muscle.
Why it’s important: Your Hamstrings play a major role in both normal daily activity and many key physical training activities. Hamstrings are responsible for the flexion of the knee joint (bending the knee) and also assist in the extension of the thigh (moving the upper leg backwards), this means that you are using your hamstrings every time you lung, squat and even walk… which at TMR is A LOT!
How to do it: So how do you give your hammies a good stretch after working out?
We like this stretch because it targets your hamstring at both your hip and your knee. Bend the knee a little to feel the stretch more at the hip and then straighten the knee to get the stretch more at the knee. Reach as far towards your toes as you can. By having your weight forward gravity is helping add some extra ‘oomph’ to the stretch. If your hamstrings are very tight, this might be too much so just pull back your weight and keep at it!
TIP: Rotating your toes outward emphasizes the inner portion of the hamstring (semimembranosus), while rotating your toes inward emphasized more of the outer portion, or the biceps femoris.
Hip Flexor Stretch
What they are: The hip flexors are made up of many different muscles, but the three key players include the Rectus Femoris, Psoas Major, and Illiacus. These muscles work together to help flex the hip, and to provide stability in your lower body.
Why it’s important: Hip flexion is a part of daily life! It’s what helps move you from standing to sitting, and propels you forward or backwards and gets you up those stairs. Sitting at a desk all day? You probably have tight hip flexors. In the gym, you are using your hip flexors when you are lifting your knees (HIGH KNEES!). Under or over developed hip flexors can put un-due pressure on your quads and cause major issues with your lower back and spine. It’s important to make sure they aren’t tight so you can have a full, safe range of motion in the hip!
How to do it: Stretching out your hip flexor after a workout can take many forms, but here is what we want you to try.
Kneel down with one leg in front of you at a right ankle, foot flat on the floor. Keeping your hips square, sink down and forwards into the stretch. Hold for 20-30 seconds, then switch sides.
TIP: Take your front foot further forwards to sink deeper into the stretch. Make sure you’re leaning straight ahead and not rotating your body.
What they are: We all talk about our ‘pecs’ – getting them stronger and usually bigger, but what are they? Your pectoral muscles are actually a large thick fan-like muscle that covers the front part of your chest, connecting to your ribs, shoulders and upper arm.
Why it’s important: Your pectoral muscles are activated any time you are performing adduction of the arm (reaching across your body), pulling or pushing. In day-to-day, your pecs are used to open doors, throw a bowling ball, or swim. At the gym, think push-ups, pull-ups or bicep curls.
How to do it: Stretching you pectoral muscles can feel different for different people, men and woman, depending on the size and tightness of your pecs, so keep trying until you find your sweet spot!
Place the palm, inner elbow, and shoulder of one arm against the wall.
Keeping the arm in contact with the wall, exhale and slowly turn your body around, to feel the stretch in your biceps and pectoral muscles.
TIP: Adjust the hand position either higher or lower and repeat to stretch the multiple biceps and chest muscles!