Cool Down Routine
After your workout is complete, make sure that you allow ten minutes or so to perform the following six stretches. As always, please remember to never bounce, or to force any of the movements. Ease into each position slowly and go only as far as your muscles allow. Work up to holding each stretch for 20 seconds at a time. Don’t forget to breathe! Slowly inhale through your nose as you enter each position, and exhale out your mouth while holding the stretch. Consult your family physician or doctor before starting this or any exercise program or physical training.
1- Squat Stretch (stretches Adductors, hips, lower back and hamstrings): From a standing position, feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, bend at your waist and reach down to grab your toes with your hands. Drop down into a deep squat while keeping your arms straight, elbows inside your knees, back flat and chest up. Squat down completely with knees pointed outward over toes. Place the palms of your hands on the floor with the inside of your upper arms positioned against your inner thighs. Gently press your thighs apart with your upper arms and hold for 15-20 seconds. Your movements should be slow. Repeat 3-4 times.
2- Hamstring Stretch (stretches hamstrings): Stand and raise one leg up by placing it on an object no higher than 12” above the ground. Make sure that you do not lock your knee and that you keep your back straight. Do not round your head and shoulders. With your toes pointed straight up, reach your arms forward, keeping your thigh directly under your chest and grab your calf. Hold for 6 seconds, release, hold again for twelve seconds. If you look up while you are reaching it will help you avoid rounding your shoulders. Next, turn your foot slightly in and repeat. Perform three times per leg.
3- IT Band Stretch (stretches side of leg): This stretch is best done immediately after the hamstring stretch. Lay on your back, with your head and shoulders resting on the ground, and your arms straight out at shoulder level. Raise one leg, and gently swing it across your body and over to the side. Hold for 12-14 seconds. Repeat three times per leg.
4- Calf Stretch (stretches back of lower legs): Squat down so that your hands and feet are touching the ground. Raise your bottom up and walk forward with your hands until you are in a bridge position. Keep your back straight, do not arch. Take one foot and place it on top of the ankle behind the other foot. IMPORTANT: Maintain a slight bend in both knees. DO NOT lock your knees! Slowly lower the heel that has the weight on it until you feel a slight pull in the back of that leg. Hold for 10-20 seconds. Switch to the other leg. Perform this stretch three times per leg.
5- Hip Flexor Stretch (stretches hamstring and hip flexor): Go down on one knee, with one foot out in front of you. The leg in front should be bent at about 90 degrees, and your knee should be above your ankle. Maintain a nice upright posture and gently push forward with your hips. Do not allow that front knee to extend out past the ankle. You should feel the stretch in the front of the hip above the thigh. If you don’t feel anything, move the knee that you are kneeling on back farther so the legs are further apart, while maintaining the front knee above the ankle on the front leg. Hold for 20-30 seconds, and repeat 3 times per leg.
6- Back and Glute Stretch (stretches back and glutes): Lay on your back with your knees bent. Gently pull your left knee off the floor and toward your chest. Hold your leg behind your knee on the bottom part of your hamstring. Hold for 15-20 seconds and repeat 3 times per leg.