You know how it is; you had a big leg session at the gym yesterday and now you’re wincing around town and eyeing every staircase you see with dread.
To help you get over the inevitable delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) that will hit you the next day, we’ve put together a stretch routine to help your entire lower body. This should be done after your session, while your muscles are still warm, loose and limber.
You should hold these DOMS stretches longer than you would a regular one. And, if you feel up to it, you can hit the gym the next day. Just be sure to focus on a different muscle group or up your heart rate with some cardio.
Stretching your calves is super important. Taking the time to do this helps keep your achilles tendon healthy and ups mobilisation in your ankles. Make sure you do both legs!
The iliopsoas sits deep in the hip. It’s used constantly but stretched rarely. That’s why giving this epicentre needs some real TLC to help you avoid lower back pain, especially in the lumbar spine area.
Maximus gluteus. A muscle, not a Roman soldier. Lie back and stretch your leg up to your chest and feel the pull. This move should help to release lower back soreness. Doing it on the floor allows the other leg to rest, so you can hold the stretch for longer and reap the benefits.
IT band stretch & variation
The IT band is important to stretch as it directly affects health of the knees and hip joints. It runs down the outer side of your leg, and it’s an oft-forgotten mass of tendons, so is definitely in need of some TLC. This stretch also targets the QL muscle in the back, which helps ease lower back pain if you experience it.
IT band stretch (wall)
This move looks like you’ve had one-too-many, but makes you feel alive! If you’re not able to use a mat to stretch your IT band then you can still get an effective stretch standing against a wall.
Hip flexor stretch
This restorative stretch is perfect for releasing tension within the hip area. It stretches your glutes and the psoas and will help you to increase the range of motion in the lower body.
Get that piriformis werk, werk, werking! This movement pushes your piriformis (a muscle buried deep inside your hips) to release much-needed tension. This can help alleviate lumbar spine pain and pain caused by the sciatica nerve. If you can’t do the full range of movement build it up slowly – don’t push it too fast too quickly.
Let’s hear it for your quads. Whether they’re helping you lunge, stretch or deadlift, they play a massively important role in your mobility. If you don’t take time to give them TLC, you can end up with knee or back pain, and no one wants that. For this stretch, push your pelvic bone into the floor to feel a proper stretch on the front of the leg. Repeat on both sides.
This method is one of the most amazing stretches as it helps to relieve back pain, stretch the posterior fascia and bring awareness to your entire body. Hold the stretch as long as possible, even if you’re a beginner 5 minutes will already be beneficial. To get the most out of the move your legs need to against the wall, the glutes have to be on the floor (no space left between glutes and the mat). Your spine needs to be on the mat all way up to the shoulders, shoulders need to be in contact with the floor and the arms are extended all the way down to the fingertips, with the palm of your hands facing up.
Happy baby pose & variation
How can you possibly resist a pose called ‘happy baby’? This joyful move helps to relieve pain and stiffness in the lower back and stretch the glutes and hamstrings. Give yourself a little bit of lower back massage by rocking from one side to the other. This swaying motion can also help calm your mind too.
Grab a foam roller and get ready for some extra-strong tension relief. Using one on your calf will help to get a deeper stretch on the soleus muscle and relieves tension from the achilles tendon.
Hamstrings can be a tough muscle to stretch. But popping yours up on the foam roller and moving gently up and down will help you to get rid of the toxins accumulated in these big ol’ muscles – just make sure you neck a good amount of water after to help flush them out.
Tense quads? Oof, we feel you. Start with the classic stretch demonstrated above, and then move on to the foam roller – it’s less painful this way. Gently rolling back and forth helps to keep the knees and lower back functioning healthily, as well as increasing the range of motion in the hip area.
Plantar Fascia and Achilles release
Grab a small ball – tennis, ping pong, or cricket would be perfect – and pop it under your foot. Roll your instep gently over the ball to help release the plantar fascia under the foot. This then helps keep your Achilles tendon healthy and maintains good mobility in the ankle and toes.
Who are we? We’re Urban Massage – on a mission to make wellness rituals convenient and accessible without compromising on quality. So from just £49 an hour, you can enjoy a range of massages from an expert therapist at a time to suit you. Download the app or go to urbanmassage.com to book 60 minutes of restorative me time.