I Never Feel Sore After Rowing For an Hour, Thanks to This 8-Minute Stretching Routine
For the past two months, rowing an hour every day has saved my mental health. It may be lower-impact cardio than running, but because it’s a full-body workout, and I do it for 60 minutes, I absolutely can’t forget to stretch afterward. A few times I skipped it, and my lower back, hips, and shoulders were so achy. Now I always include this eight-minute stretching routine. It’s great for rowing, but since it targets the hips, glutes, hamstrings, lower back, abs, and shoulders, it’s beneficial to do after any full-body workout.
Why I Do it: My lower back, hips, and glutes are the most sore after rowing for an hour, so I love to just slide off the rower seat onto the floor, take off my sneakers, and do this stretch that targets all those areas, and allows my heart rate to begin to slow down.
- Bend your knees, and bring the soles of your feet together.
- Rest your hands on your feet, or to deepen the stretch, bring your hands underneath your calves and use your upper body to pull your torso and head toward the floor.
- Enjoy this stretch for five deep breaths (which is about 30 seconds).
Head to Knee
Why I Do it: I love that this yoga pose targets one hip and one hamstring at a time, so I can get a deep stretch.
- From a seated position, bend your left knee.
- Fold over your right leg. Rest your hands on the floor on either side of your leg or on your shin, or wrap your hands around your right foot.
- Stay here for five breaths, sit up, and then repeat on the other side.
Why I Do it: This is an even deeper hip and glute stretch that I like to hold for twice as long.
- Sit with both legs in front of you.
- Bend your right knee, so your shin is parallel with your body. Bend your left leg and stack your left knee on top of your right ankle, and your left ankle above your right knee. The shins should be parallel. Flex both feet.
- Sit up tall or fold forward to increase the stretch. Hold Double Pigeon for 10 breaths (a full minute) on this side and then repeat this stretch with your left shin on top.
Why I Do it: I love this stretch for my hamstrings, inner thighs, and lower back.
- Sit on the floor and extend your legs out into a wide straddle.
- Inhale to lengthen your spine, and exhale to slowly fold forward as far as you can with a flat back, making sure your toes and knees are pointing straight up.
- Rest your hands on your feet, your legs, or the floor in front of you.
- Hold for five breaths.
Why I Do it: After an hour of folding forward, it feel so good to bend the other way! My abs are always sore after rowing, so this is a great way to stretch them.
- Lie on your belly and extend your arms out in front of you.
- Keeping your legs and pelvis grounded, slowly walk your hands toward your chest, keeping a slight bend in your elbows. Walk your hands in until you feel a nice stretch in your abs.
- Relax your shoulders away from your ears, and lengthen your neck. If it feels OK, lower your head back between your shoulder blades for a nice stretch in your chest and neck.
- Stay here for five breaths.
Chest Opening Spinal Twist
Why I Do it: This stretch is so great for opening my chest, shoulders, and increasing flexibility in the spine.
- Lie on the floor and extend your arms out wide, palms facing down and in line with the shoulders.
- Place your left palm underneath your left shoulder, and push into the floor to roll onto the right side of the body.
- If it feels OK on your shoulder, turn this into a spinal twist by bending your left knee and placing it on the floor behind you.
- Lean back into your left foot and right hand as much as you can, gently pressing your left hand into the floor for support.
- Enjoy five breaths on each side.
Why I Do it: This is one of the best stretches to target the hip flexors and the outer hip.
- Begin on the hands and knees. Step the left foot forward between the hands, coming into a deep lunge, with the right knee resting on the ground.
- Place your hands on the floor under your shoulders.
- Slowly press your left knee to the left so you’re resting on the outside of your flexed left foot. Keep your arms straight, pressing your chest forward to increase the stretch.
- Hold like this for five breaths, and then repeat on the other side.
Why I Do it: This is a great way to stretch the abs, quads, chest, and shoulders.
- Stand on both shins with the knees underneath the hips, legs parallel with one another.
- Reach your right hand behind you, placing it on your right heel. Extend your left arm in the air. If this is too difficult, rest your right hand on your right hip instead.
- Shift weight forward onto your knees to increase the stretch in your quads, belly, and chest.
- Lower your head behind you, and stay here for two breaths. Then switch sides, holding for another two breaths.
Why I Do it: This is one of the wrist stretches I love that also targets the forearms and shins.
- Sit on your heels and place your hands on the floor with your fingertips facing your knees.
- If this feels too intense, lift your hips off your heels a little and lean forward for five breaths.
- If you want to deepen the stretch, lean backward into your heels.
Why I Do it: This basic pose stretches my hamstrings, calves, and shoulders. I also like that it gives my neck a nice release.
- From Downward Facing Dog, step the feet together so your big toes are touching. Keeping the left heel on the mat, inhale to raise your right leg in the air.
- Hold here for five breaths with the shoulders parallel to the floor.
Why I Do it: This relaxing stretch targets both hamstrings at the same time while also increasing flexibility in your lower back, chest, and shoulders.
- Begin standing with your feet hips-distance apart. Bring your arms behind you and interlace your fingers right below your sacrum (back of your pelvis). If you can, press the heels of your palms together in a double fist. Actively pull your hands away from your shoulders to increase the stretch in your chest.
- From here, lean your chest forward and lift your hands up overhead as you fold your torso toward your thighs. Keep both legs straight. Make sure you’re lengthening through your spine by reaching the top of your head toward the floor.
- Stay like this for five breaths, and when you’re ready to come out, actively press into your feet, engage your thighs, and slowly lift your torso back up to a standing position.