My clients at Pure Barre often ask me how they can help alleviate sore hips and thighs after a grueling workout. I always encourage them to drink a lot of water, and also to do some stretches. For recovery, I like to do relaxing, non-strenuous stretches, mostly on the floor. (No standing splits here, or anything even standing!). Floor stretches like these are relaxing for both your muscles and your nerves. Here are some of my favorite dance-based stretches for post workout.
Supine center split
Take your seat close to the wall. Lie down on your back, with your legs straight toward the ceiling. Gently open your legs and let them fall down to either side. Allow gravity to pull your legs down and open your hips. Breathing slowly, place your hands on your inner thighs and gently press down with every exhale.
Center splits at the wall
Roll on up from supine center splits and press your feet into the wall. Move your seat in toward the wall as far as you can, using the wall to keep your legs open. Press forward with your hip bones to get a deeper stretch. You can also press your fingertips behind you to scoot forward more.
Round the clock
Lie on your left side, left arm overhead flat on the floor and both knees tucked to chest in a fetal position. Place your right hand in front of you. Pick up you right leg and send it back as you arch your back and reach back with your fingertips toward your right toes. Slowly retrace your movement back to beginning position. Here’s what it looks like from the other side:
Repeat “opening and closing” your body this way for however many reps as you like. This is a great post-workout stretch as well as a warm up stretch for your entire body. Also very nourishing for your nerves!
Happy baby variation
Lie on your back and grab hold of the outer edges of your feet, knee to chest, in happy baby pose. Hang out here and enjoy your hips opening up; for added stretching, extend one leg out to the side, and then the other, followed by both legs extended out–just be playful and see what your body responds to.
Lie down on your back. Extend your left leg straight toward the ceiling, right leg long on the floor. Grab the outside of your left foot with your right hand so that the top of the foot faces out to the side–this is a great stretch for your peroneus muscles on the outside of your shins, as well as hamstrings (on backs of thighs). Switch legs.
Supine quad stretch
This is similar to virasana in yoga. Sit with both legs straight in front of you, then fold your right knee back so that right foot is outside your right hip. Slowly lower yourself down on your back, trying to keep both your hips and knees down. Remember to take this one slowly and don’t force anything–you should feel a strong stretch even if you’re not getting all the way to the floor.
I hope you try these stretches–let me know how they go!
More fitness tutorials: 5 Yoga Stretches for Sore Lower Legs
Get more like this–sign up for our newsletter for exclusive inspirational content!
Photo: Peaceful Dumpling