Having sore muscles is a regular side effect of regular exercise. It's not always a concerning symptom, but it can be quite painful!
Sometimes the best thing to do is to rest because this will give your muscles a chance to repair themselves – but we know this isn't always possible!
If you have sore muscles but are looking to continue to excursive, or simply need something to help you with sore muscles.
It's important to stretch your muscles before and after exercising to prevent injury and help them recover faster.
This article will cover the best stretches for sore muscles. We've also included an extensive FAQ section around stretching, to give you some extra tips if you need them!
Let's get stretching!
The Best Stretches For Sore Muscles
We're going to be taking you through a large selection of stretches for different muscles, so have a look down the list to find the one that will most help you.
1) Hamstring Stretch
This hamstring stretch is great for helping loosen up tight hamstrings, which often happen when you sit all day at work.
The key here is to make sure you keep your back straight and don't bend forward too much. You should feel a nice stretch in your lower back area, and more specifically, in your hamstrings.
To do this stretch firstly stand up straight, then step forwards with your left leg, keeping your right foot flat on the floor.
Your knee should be bent slightly, and your toes pointing outwards. Now take hold of the outside edge of your left foot, and pull it towards you until you feel a comfortable stretch in your hamstrings. Hold this position for 10-20 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
2) Quadriceps Stretch
This quadriceps stretch helps to relax your quads, which can become stiff from sitting all day. To perform this stretch, stand up straight, and place both hands on the wall behind you.
Then push yourself backward by bending your knees, while keeping your feet firmly planted on the ground.
Once you reach a comfortable position, try to keep your legs straight, and slowly return to standing upright. Repeat this stretch twice on each side.
3) Gluteus Maximus Stretch
This gluteus maximus stretch targets the muscle group responsible for kicking your bum into gear! If you spend a lot of time sitting, this is an easy way to help improve your posture.
Start by lying face down on the floor, and then lift your hips off the floor. Next, raise your body upwards until you feel a comfortable amount of pressure in your glutes.
Hold this position for 30 seconds, and repeat three times.
4) Hip Flexor Stretch
This hip flexor stretch is perfect for loosening up those tight hip flexors. Sit cross-legged on the floor, then lean forwards, resting your forehead against your thighs.
Slowly slide your arms underneath your knees, and begin to gently press downwards. Keep your head still, and focus on relaxing your shoulders.
Hold this position for 20 seconds, and repeat three to four times.
5) Lower Backstretch
This lower backstretch is great for relieving tension in your lower back. Lie on the floor, and bring your knees towards your chest.
Bring your elbows together, and interlock your fingers. Then slowly roll over onto your stomach, allowing your upper body to fall forwards.
Hold this position for 15-30 seconds, and repeat two to three times.
6) Upper Backstretch
This upper backstretch is great for loosening up your upper back muscles. Place both palms on the floor, and lie on your front.
Bend your elbows, and slowly move them away from your sides. Continue moving your arms outwards, and eventually, your elbows should point directly ahead of you. Hold this position for 5 minutes, and repeat once or twice a week.
7) Shoulder Stretch
This shoulder stretch is great for loosening up your shoulders, as well as improving your posture. Stand tall, with your spine straight and shoulders relaxed.
Raise your arms above your head, and slowly rotate your forearms clockwise.
Continue rotating your arms, but this time, turn anticlockwise. Hold this position for five to ten seconds, and repeat three or four times.
8) Neck Stretch
If you spend most of your time hunched over a computer screen, chances are that your neck is suffering too.
This simple neck stretch will loosen up any tightness, and relieve any pain. Simply sit upright in a chair, and rest your chin on top of your hand.
Gently rock your head from side to side, and notice how much more comfortable you feel. Hold this position for one minute, and repeat it twice daily.
You can also try adding the exercises for a stiff neck that we listed in this article to help you recover quickly from a sore or strained neck.
9) Chest Stretch
Chest stretches target the muscles that support your rib cage, and help reduce stress levels.
Begin by sitting upright in a chair, then bend forward at the waist so that your torso forms a 90 degree angle.
Rest your hands either on the armrests, or on your legs. Take several deep breaths, and hold this position for 10 seconds. Repeat this exercise, but keep breathing deeply throughout.
10) Leg Stretch
Leg stretches target the muscles that run along the length of your leg, and can be used to increase flexibility.
To perform this leg stretch, stand upright, and place your left foot flat on the ground.
Lean backwards, placing your right elbow on the floor, and extend your left knee towards the ceiling. Hold this position for 10 seconds, and repeat three days later.
11) Foot Stretch
Foot stretches target the muscles that connect your feet to your ankles, and can be used as part of a warm-up routine.
To perform this foot stretch, stand upright, with your left foot placed firmly on the floor. Lift your right heel off the floor, and allow it to hang freely.
Allow your toes to dangle, and hold this position until you feel some discomfort. Repeat this exercise, and switch between your right and left foot.
12) Ankle Stretch
Ankle stretches target the muscles that control movement in your ankle joints, and can be used after any strenuous activity.
To perform this ankle stretch, stand upright, raise your left foot behind you, and bend your left leg. Reach down with your right hand, and grasp your left ankle.
Pull yourself upwards, and hold this position. You may need to use your other hand to assist you. Hold this position until you feel comfortable, and repeat on the opposite side.
So there you have it! The list above is not meant to be exhaustive, but we hope we have covered many of the most obvious parts of the body and that you've found something to help you.
Regular stretching is vital if you want to avoid injury, and improve overall health. Try out these 12 stretches regularly, and see which ones work best for you.
Aside from the stretches listed above, yoga for sore muscles can also help relieve pain in your body. However, it is important to note that you only perform the appropriate poses to avoid further strain on muscles that are already sore.
If you still have some extra questions, check below for FAQ section. We wish you the best of luck and hope you're able to enjoy all the benefits of regular stretching.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Difference Between Static And Dynamic Stretching?
Static stretching involves holding a particular pose for longer than normal. Dynamic stretching involves moving through a series of poses, and repeating them frequently. Which type of stretching should I do first?
It's important to start with static stretching before doing any dynamic stretches. Static stretching helps to prepare your body for the movements involved in dynamic stretching.
How Long Should I Hold Each Stretch?
Holding each stretch for 30-60 seconds is ideal. Longer holds will tire you out, and shorter holds won't give you enough time to fully benefit from the stretch.
Is It Better To Do A Few Short Or Many Long Stretches?
The answer here depends on what you are trying to achieve. If you want to build muscle mass or strength, then short holds are better. However, if you just want to relax, or reduce tension, then long holds are more effective.
Which Type Of Stretching Works Best For Me?
There isn't one specific type of stretching that works best for everyone. Find stretches that suit your needs, and stick with them.
Can I Perform Stretches In Bed?
Yes, although you'll probably find that you get fewer results when lying down. Make sure you are well rested, however, so that you don't fall asleep during your stretches.
Stretching Exercises: How Often Should I Perform Them?
You should aim to perform at least three sets of 10 repetitions of each stretch every week. This means performing the same stretches 20 times over 7 days.
Do Stretches Affect My Performance?
Stretching does not affect performance. However, it can increase flexibility, and help prevent injuries.
Are There Any Benefits To Performing Stretches Before Exercise?
Performing pre-exercise stretches can help to warm up your muscles, and prevent injuries. They also make you more limber, and ready to exercise.
How Can I Prevent Injury During Stretching?
Make sure you warm up properly before starting any stretching exercises. Warm up by walking around for 5 minutes, or running slowly for 2-3 minutes.
Once warmed up, try to focus on relaxing your muscles. Then, begin stretching as described above.