One of our favorite ways to recover and relax between classes is with a good stretch session.
If you need to work out some soreness before a workout, move through these movements relatively quickly, holding each one for about 30 seconds per side. If you're stretching first thing in the morning, before bed or post-workout, take your time. Hold each pose for 1 to 3 minutes and let yourself relax into the poses.
Remember: These stretches should feel good! Never push so hard that you're in pain. Results come with consistency. Chronically tight hips won't loosen up with just a few stretch sessions. Try adding 5 to 10 minutes of stretching to your routine a few days a week, and let us know how much better you feel.
To get you started, here are a couple stretches we love after a tough week of rowing.
Lunge hip flexor stretch
Targets: Hip flexors and lats
Lunge forward with one foot, and lower your weight all the way down. Tuck your hips to keep your spine neutral. Reach your arms up, then lean to the side, across the front leg. Repeat on the other side.
Targets: Hips, piriformis and glutes
Start on your hands and knees or in downward dog. Bring one knee forward and out to the side. Tuck your toes, and slide your leg back. Relax your hips toward the ground, using your hands or arms for support. Work your torso closer to the floor as you progress, starting with forearms to the floor, then chest to the ground. Be patient! It may take time to get as deep as Sydney. Repeat on both sides.
From your lunge stretch, send the hips back. Lean forward over the front leg, stretching the hamstring. If you flexibility allows, reach the hands forward. If not, rest them on the knee, shin or foot. Repeat on the other leg.