How often do you stretch? Daily? Weekly? Maybe monthly? If you’re like most people, you probably don’t stretch as much as you should. A good stretching routine is often (and easily) overlooked.
The problem with that is we then end up with short, tight muscles that don’t function as efficiently as they should. It also tends to create an environment that’s more susceptible to injuries.
For many runners and endurance athletes, ailments often start from the knee down. There are so many muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones in your lower leg that need attention after an exerting workout, but realistically most of us don’t put in enough effort to keep them all happy and healthy. But, the good news is that pro triathlete Andy Potts is here to help! Andy shares the lower leg stretching routine he uses daily to stay limber and loose.
Lower Leg Stretching Routine
To get in a great stretch session, Andy recommends using a slant board angled at 45-degrees while completing the following routine. Try spending 15-20 minutes a day on this stretching routine post exercise when your muscles are warm. If you don’t already have a slant board, you can check out this YouTube video to learn how to make your own.
Stretch #1: Both Legs
This first stretch is very simple. Just put both feet side-by-side on a slant board and then bend over and grab the board while keeping your legs straight.
Stretch #2: Crossed Legs
Next, do the same thing as stretch #1, but cross your left leg over your right leg. Alternate and cross your right leg over your left. This slight variation will target your lateral quad and IT band.
Stretch #3: Quads
Even though quads aren’t a part of the lower leg, they are connected to the knee, so they make the cut for this stretching routine. Plus, this stretch works double duty. Put your left foot on the slant board and then grab your right foot to stretch out your quad. With your left leg, alternate between keeping your leg straight and bending it. Adding in some leg bend will help target your soleus.
Stretching is a vital component to keep your body healthy. It keeps muscles flexible and strong and prevents them from becoming tight. Since muscle tissues surround our joints, stretching also allows our joints to move better so we can maintain or improve our range of motion.
Post-workout recovery is another critical element to stay healthy and active. During exercise, muscles break down and become weaker. However, during the recovery phase, muscles rebuild and become stronger. Research has found that active recovery is the most effective way to enhance that process.
Active recovery involves low-stress muscle movement, such as a light swim, cycle, or run. Keep in mind, the key is that the activity needs to be low stress and not cause additional muscle break down. Sometimes that may be hard to achieve, which is why many athletes use Marc Pro. Marc Pro has a patented technology that creates non-fatiguing muscle activation, so you get all the benefits of active recovery, but without the limitations. Plus, it’s also more versatile so you can target specific problem areas such as your back, quads, or knees.
Stretching and active recovery are two elements that you don’t want to pass up. If you’re an athlete who wants to train for many years to come, then investing in your body is worth it.