As many are amping up their fitness routines while in quarantine, Stretch*d’s Jeff Brannigan spoke to HL about the importance of recovery & the best post-workout stretches.
Stretching is just as important, if not more so, than your vigorous workout routine. Many people have increased their fitness routines or even started their workout journey in quarantine with the unlimited amount of time provided during this moment of isolation. However, it’s incredibly important to take the time to recover and stretch after any cardio or strength training workout. “Recovery is always important when you’re active because helps eliminate the risk of injury and keeps you healthy so you can maintain your workout schedule and reach the goals you’re striving for,” Jeff Brannigan, the Program Director of the NYC-based stretching studio Stretch*d told HollywoodLife.com in an EXCLUSIVE interview. “Now that we are spending our entire day at home, we may be moving less, which means our muscles are going to be very prone to being stale and tense increasing the risk of injury. Therefore, it’s especially important that we are diligent with our recovery during this time to care for our bodies and avoid the onset of musculoskeletal issues.”
Jeff advised to stretch both before and after your workout. “At Stretch*d, our method is active which means all stretches are held for a maximum of 2-3 seconds and done as a set of 10 repetitions. When stretching is done this way it helps to promote circulation and therefore warms up the muscles as you’re stretching. This allows you to eliminate the risk of over-stretching and helps to prep the muscles for activity so it really serves as a great way to warm up the muscles pre workout,” he explained. “Alternatively, post workout, this methodology helps to speed recovery by lengthen muscles that have fatigued and tightened while flushing out metabolic waste that has been produced as a byproduct of strenuous exercise.”
Jeff offered some daily stretches for common areas of discomfort to be done while in quarantine and to help maintain healthy muscles in common areas for pain and injury so that you can stay active.
Hello Hammies (hamstrings)- lay on your back with a strap around the arch of your foot and hold the other ends in your hand. Keeping the leg straight, gently lift it up towards you as far as you can while climbing hand over hand on the strap to assist the movement a bit farther than you could go on your own. Hold at your end range for 2-3 seconds before returning to start position on the floor and then repeat the stretch 10-12 times.
Twist and Dippr (mid to low back)- Sit in a chair with your feet flat and knees a little wider than shoulder width. Keeping the spine straight, interlace your fingers and place your hands behind your head. Twist as far as you can in one direction and then drop down with the forward elbow towards the floor while bringing it outside the knee on the same side. For example: if you twist to your right, your left elbow will be forward so drop that down towards the floor outside the left knee). Hold at your end range for 2-3 seconds before returning to the starting position and then repeat the stretch 10-12 times.
Maybe (side of the neck)- sit with your spine straight and shoulders relaxed. Drop your head toward one side so you’re bringing your ear towards the shoulder. When you can’t move the head any further, reach your arm over the top of the head and gently pull the head closer to the shoulder. Hold at your end range for 2-3 seconds before returning to the starting position then repeat the stretch 10-12 times.
Stretch*d sQuad (quadriceps)- Lay on your side with both knees bent and your hips flexed so they are in front of you (similar to the fetal position). With your lower arm, grab the lower leg underneath the thigh so you can keep that leg stable and in position. With the other hand, grab the ankle of the top leg. Kick that leg backward and assist the movement by gently pulling with the arm. Hold at your end range for 2-3 seconds before returning to the starting position and then repeat the stretch 10-12 times.