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Banner photo courtesy Illanna Barkusky.
In my last blog I shared some tips on post workout recovery routines. I mentioned that stretching and rolling is a key part of my recovery ritual, however did not go into specifics. Below I’m going to take you through some of my favourite static stretches, which I use to help decompress my body after a hard day in the mountains, on the trails or in the gym.
- Anna Segal
If possible hold each stretch for 2+ minutes, in order to allow your muscles and fascia to elongate. If you find stretching for long periods of time boring, try putting on your favourite podcast or netflix show, which will help the time fly.
Knee over toe:
This is great for ankle range of motion, mobility and stretching out your achilles tendon.
Your front leg will be between a 45 and 90 degree angle. Try to keep your hips square, breathe and relax into it.
I find this great for adductors (inner thigh muscles).
Lie down, cross one ankle over the opposite knee and pull knee towards your body. Once you’re in the stretch, you might like to do some small movements (micro adjustments) to find the sticky spots.
Use a tennis ball, lacrosse ball or… for those that have built up a tolerance, maybe a spikey ball. Sit on it and move it across the bands of gluteal muscles. You’ll find that after a couple minutes, the bands of muscle start to relax.
Lunge with your back foot up on a couch or low stool. This will get both your quads and hip flexors. Make sure that your pelvis tucks under, avoiding the ‘banana back’ position (when you’re back is ultra curved).
Feel free to use some cushions or yoga blocks to support your back on this one. As you become more flexible, you can lower the height of your supports.
Forward fold with wrist grab:
Have a microbend (or big bend) in the knees and fold forward so your stomach is resting on your thighs. Sway side to side to get a nice back release, then grab wrists from behind and sink into the fold.
Crossed over forward fold:
One foot in front of the other and fold forward. Move hips from side to side to feel the sticky spots.
Lazy toe grab:
Lie on your back, keep one leg straight out in front and grab the other toe. It’s fine if you’re leg is bent. You can also use a towel/ sweater to loop around your calf and help pull the leg towards you. After 1 minute of a straight hold angle the leg over to your side and feel the stretch move to your IT band (side of your leg).
Side-to-side child's pose:
Find a kneeling position, push your hands out in front, then creep them over to the left side - as far as they will go will your bum stays planted on your heels. After a minute here, creep them over to your right side and hold for another minute.
Lie on your back, pull one knee towards your chest, then move it over to the opposite side. You may feel a nice back crack or adjustment. Keep your hands out to the side and look the opposite way to where your knee is pointing. Swap sides.
By Anna Segal. Anna is a professional freestyle skier and former Olympic athlete who makes her home in beautiful Pemberton, BC.