Speed Up Your Recovery with this Full-Body Stretch Routine

Do each of these yoga poses for up to a minute every day to speed recovery from your workouts.

Rest days are critical to maintaining your flexibility and range of motion. They are also important to recover from a workout.

To speed up recovery, active stretching, like yoga, is a time-efficient and effective method. This full-body stretch routine will help you recover so you can be prepared for your next training day. You can complete all eight stretches in 15 minutes or less. The best thing is, you can do them every day.

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By holding the positions for a specific amount of time under tension, you work one side of your body isometrically while the other side relaxes. This is called reciprocal inhibition, which simply means that when a muscle contracts, its opposing muscle has to relax.

Hold each pose for a maximum of one minute. Focus on breathing in deep from your abdomen. As you exhale, sink into the stretch further.

This full-body stretch routine can be done anywhere.

When performing any type of full-body stretch routine, never go to maximal effort to force your end range of movement. Stop if you feel any pain, and don't make it a competition.

Recovery can only occur when your body is allowed to repair itself. Each pose should challenge you mentally and physically, especially if you've never done yoga. Work your way up to holding each pose for one minute. Drop the ego. Thinking, "This is easy" will get you in trouble and you could do more harm to than good. Start by holding each pose for 15 seconds every day. Add 5-10 seconds each week until you reach one minute.

This routine won't make you a yogi, but it will help you recover and get you back to your game. Check out the video player above for a demonstration of each exercise.

Front Warrior

Front Warrior

When you hold this position, both your knees are bent at about 90 degrees, and your arms are extended overhead. The pose focuses on stretching your thigh and hip flexor of the back leg. As you hold this position, think "shin forward, thigh back" and squeeze your glute and hamstring on your back leg.

Flow right into the next pose.

Front Lunge

Front Lunge

Lean forward over your front foot. Keep a straight line from the top of your head through your back heel. Continue to squeeze your glutes and hamstrings, thinking "shin forward, thigh back," with a slight knee bend.

Front Lunge with Rotation

Front Lunge with Rotation

Press your palms together. Rotate your shoulders over your front thigh as far as you can. Maintain the same contractions in your legs as in the previous pose.

Front Lunge with Assisted Rotation

Front Lunge with Assisted Rotation

Place your right hand flat on the ground. Reach your left arm up as you rotate toward your front leg. Keep your upper body vertical. Maintain the same contractions in your legs as in the previous pose.

These two positions help to open the chest and create movement in the thoracic spine.

Side Warrior

Side Warrior

Line up your heels with your front shin over the ankle. Turn your back foot 90 degrees from your front foot. Rotate your hips and shoulders to face the same direction as your back foot. Actively separate your inner thighs by squaring your hips and shoulders. Your back thigh should be slightly rotated out. Keep your back knee slightly bent as you tighten your butt and hamstrings. Continue to think " shin forward, thigh back."

This pose helps to open up the hips and stretch the inner thighs.

Side Warrior with Rotation

Side Warrior with Rotation

Reach forward with your upper body as far as you can, then rotate to the ground with your front hand. Keep a vertical position with your arms.

Downward Dog

Downward Dog

Place your hands directly under your shoulders and your feet about 4 inches apart. Drive your hips into the air as you press your upper body between your arms and toward your toes. Drive your heels toward the ground with your knees slightly bent. Keep your shoulders wide. Tighten your hamstrings while you hold the pose and breathe deeply.

This full-body pose stretches the calves and gives more range to the shoulders. When done consistently, it helps the legs recover quickly as it focuses on proper alignment of the hips, which allows greater blood flow.

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Back Dome

Wheel Pose

Place your hands behind your shoulders next to your ears. Press your shins forward and hands into the ground as you lift your hips off the ground. Think about straightening your arms and hips as you lift your upper body off the ground. Breathe deeply and stay relaxed.

Extension of the spine provides release of pressure on the front of the vertebrae. Creating more extension, or a bigger dome, allows the muscles next to the spine, which stabilize and flex it, to relax.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: STRETCHING | YOGA | PRESS | RECOVER | SPINE