This is part 2 of our series on yoga for post-workout recovery, covering specific yoga and yoga-inspired poses.
Check out our previous post to learn more about yoga as a recovery method for athletes, as well as its benefits and effectiveness.
In case you missed our previous post, here’s the main idea - yoga is a great post-workout routine to add to your regimen! There are numerous physical and mental benefits, and focusing on yoga poses that are similar to stretches is the best way to get max recovery effectiveness.
In this week’s post, we’ll be covering specific yoga and yoga-inspired poses that are perfect for your post-workout recovery session. Feel free to integrate these into your stretching routine, and don’t forget to foam roll before these poses to further help the recovery process. If you need a primer on foam rolling, look into our benefits of foam rolling for recovery and basic foam rolling moves posts.
Shoulder flossing helps stretch out your major shoulder muscles, including your lats, pecs, and rotator cuffs. You’ll need a yoga strap or light resistance band. Stand upright with your feet shoulder width apart.
Holding the strap in a wide grip in front of your hips, and keeping your arms straight, sweep them forward and overhead. Continuing the initial motion, move your arms behind you until the strap is level with your lower back. Keep your spine straight and abs tight throughout. Reverse the action to complete one rep.
If you don’t have a strap, you can try the forward bend instead - with your arms straight behind you and your hands clasped, slowly bend forward at your hips, let your head hang, and move your hands overhead.
Boomerang Side Bend
This side bend stretches out the side seam of the body, including your triceps, lats, and obliques. It’s especially great after ab workouts or overhead sessions. To start, stand with one side of your body about a foot away from a wall.
Place your closer hand with fingers pointing up against the wall around hip height. Now take your further hand and reach over your ear. Arch your body toward the wall until that hand also touches the wall. Rotate that hand so fingers are pointing down to your lower hand, about a foot apart.
Keep your spine neutral - if you’re doing it right, you should feel a nice stretch along the side of your body. Hold the pose, then repeat on the other side.
This pose helps with spinal flexion and spinal extension, which improves spinal mobility and may alleviate back pain. The easiest way to visualize this pose is to picture a relaxed cow and a scared cat.
Start on all fours on the ground, with your knees under your hips touching the floor as well. From a neutral tabletop position (back flat and abs engaged), take a deep breath and then exhale while rounding your spine towards the ceiling. Tuck your chin to your chest and keep your neck relaxed.
On the inhale, dip your back and relax your stomach - your spine should now move in the opposite direction. Make sure your head and tailbone are both pointed up. Slowly alternate back and forth between the two poses.
Bridge pose is perfect for stretching your chest, shoulders, and hip flexors. It’s especially useful as a hip opener after squats or marathon training. Lie flat on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor hip-width apart. Your arms should be by your body with palms down.
Take a deep breath, and as you exhale, press your hands and feet into the floor as you lift your hips off the ground and your chest towards your chin. To stretch your chest, tuck your shoulders together and move your arms below your body.
You can interlace your hands at this point. Hold for 30 seconds, then release your hands and slowly roll back down to the floor one vertebrae at a time.
Reclined Spinal Rotations
This relaxing spinal stretch helps out the spine and lower back muscles that are used often in workouts, such as deadlifts and kettlebell swings. Start off by lying on your back while hugging your knees to your chest.
From the initial position, drop your legs to one side so the bottom thigh is touching the floor. Keep your legs and knees together. Roll your chest open in the other direction and your arms splayed out in a T shape.
If you’re doing this rotation right, you should feel a nice twist in the spine. Take a deep breath and then exhale while deepening the twist. Hold this pose for a minute and repeat on the opposite side.
Reclined Hamstring Stretch
This is a variation on a popular hamstring stretch, perfect for those tight post-deadlift or post-run hamstrings. It’s also a great ending pose to relax after a tough workout. Start by lying flat on your back.
With one leg extended straight on the ground, lift the other leg straight up using a yoga strap or towel under your foot. Make sure that your glutes are still touching the ground. Get your leg as high as it can go (up to 90 degrees) while still keep it straight.
Take deep breaths and feel out the stretch for about a minute. Switch to your other leg and repeat the process.
That’s it! We recommend following the order of the poses listed above and experimenting with different reps and times. Remember, these yoga poses should help stretch out your muscles and should not be adding more stress.
To supercharge your recovery, wear Enerskin’s compression gear after your foam rolling and yoga stretch sessions. Enerskin’s E75 collection of compression sportswear is designed to be worn in reverse (silicone side out) after working out to help further speed up muscle recovery. It’s one of the many unique features our products offer!