While it may not seem necessary, stretching out your abs after a workout is definitely beneficial.
Abdominal muscles recover quickly, which is why many trainers recommend working out your core on a daily basis.
When you focus on your core during a high intensity training session or a fast-paced, full-body boxing class, you know you can anticipate some discomfort. Integrating abdominal stretches after your workout can help reduce muscle soreness, strain, and even injury.
Tight abdominal muscles may cause cramping or pain, which forces you to use your back muscles more than your core to hold yourself up.
This can cause unnecessary strain or even back spasms. Making sure your core muscles are properly stretched out and cooled off after a workout will take some pressure off your back.
Additionally, when your stomach is sore, you may also find yourself hesitant to take deep breaths. Breathing, as we know, is essential to muscle recovery since the more oxygen in your bloodstream, the faster you heal.
For a muscle group as important as your abs, alleviating the pain with stretches may just be enough to keep you moving even when stiffness and tummy tenderness have you groaning every time you sit down at your desk.
Take the time to stretch your abs with these helpful moves:
Stand and Stretch
When you finish your marathon of crunches, squats, and lifts, take a minute to stand and stretch out your abs. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, extend your arms over head, clasp your hands and lean first to the left for about 5 seconds, then rotate so that your back arches and your hands point toward the wall behind you. Hold for 5 seconds. Make sure you squeeze your glutes to prevent any back strain, and then rotate to the right and hold for another 5 seconds. You should feel this stretch along your sides and front. Repeat a couple of times until you feel nice and loose around the middle.
Lie Down and Stretch
This yoga pose is the way to go when it comes to stretching out your middle. Commonly known as the “Cobra Pose,” this stretch is fantastic for loosening up your abs. Lie flat on your stomach with your palms flat on the floor at chest level and your legs extended and toes pointed. Push yourself up so that your torso is off the floor as high as you can go, but your pelvis and legs remain grounded. Hold for several seconds, then release, moving slowly back to the floor. Again, be sure to tighten your glutes to prevent back strain.
Stretch with a Ball
With the help of a large stability ball, this stretch helps stretch your abs after a grueling core workout. Gently lie down on your back over the stability ball and drape your arms and legs. Hold for several seconds then roll slowly off the ball. You can also do a similar stretch for your oblique muscles by rotating onto your side, draping your body over the ball with your arms and legs extended. Your body should be curved over the ball like a bow.