3 Exercises for When You’re Really Freaking Sore
When soreness happens to you, there are two things you shouldn’t do. Number one: Don’t push yourself too hard, because you need to let you muscles recover and rebuild. The second no-no: Vegging out on the couch all day. Doing active recovery—or mobility and flexibility exercises that don’t elevate your heart rate or put too much demand on your muscles—can help the recovery process. When choosing an activity for your active recovery, pick one that gets you moving but isn’t so challenging that you risk breaking down your muscle tissue even more. So if you are struggling to get out of bed the day after a workout from soreness, try these exercises:
Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
Why it helps: Movements like running and cycling tend to tighten your hip flexors, says Cosgrove. This move is ideal for loosening them up. And it’s especially good if you sit a lot because that also shortens these muscles.
How to do it: Kneel down on your left knee, with your right foot on the floor and your right knee bent 90 degrees. Reach up with your right hand as high as you can (A). Bend your torso to your right (B). Rotate your torso to the right as you reach with your right hand as far behind you as you can. Hold this position for the prescribed length of time (C). Kneel on your right knee, switch arms, and repeat. That’s one rep.
Why it helps: Cobra is awesome for stretching your abs, and it also loosens up your chest and shoulders, says Cosgrove.
How to do it: Lying on your stomach with your hands directly underneath your shoulders, inhale and lift your head and torso off the mat into cobra backbend. Keep you elbows in at your waist, and your shoulders down (A). As you exhale, lower back down until your forehead touches your mat. That’s one rep.
Why it helps: This move is great for increasing blood flow to your upper body and increasing your shoulder mobility, says Cosgrove.
How to do it: Lean your head, upper back, and butt against the wall. Place your hands and arms against the wall in the “high-five” position, your elbows bent 90 degrees and your upper arms at shoulder height (A). Keeping your elbows, wrists, and hands pressed into the wall, slide your elbows down toward your sides as far as you can. Squeeze your shoulder blades together (B). Slide your arms back up the wall as high as you can while keeping your hands in contact with the wall (C). That’s one rep. Lower and repeat. (Source: Women’s Health)