5 Things You Should Do After HIIT Classes

5 Things You Should Do After HIIT Classes

Many people are jumping into high intensity interval training workout commonly called “HIIT” training. HIIT workouts combine strength and cardiovascular training with timed sets alternating high intensity moves with lower intensity moves. Typically, these 30-45 minute workout sessions are done in a Tabata style of 20 seconds of high intensity alternating with 10 seconds of rest.

And for good reason, HIIT workouts provide a higher level of calorie burn per minute versus other steady state cardio workouts. Another advantage of HIIT workouts is faster gains in strength and power. However, without the proper recovery routines, you may find yourself sidelined within the first few workouts.

The downside is the injury rate for people participating in HIIT workouts. According to findings in a research study from Massachusetts General Hospital, regular HIIT workouts produced an estimated injury incidence of 3.3 per 1,000 hours. The most common injured body parts were shoulders, low back, knees, wrists, and elbows. Overall, the HIIT-related injury incidence rates were similar to those of weightlifting studies, and less than those reported in American football and soccer studies.

Preventing injuries can be as easy as developing a standard recovery routine. Many workouts spend about 2-3 minutes of recovery for stretching and resetting muscles tension. However, this just isn’t enough.

Here are five stretches you should be doing after your HIIT class or really anytime during the day. Performing this series when you have a HIIT workout, even several hours after the workout, can greatly improve your range of motion and flexibility.

Calf Block Stretch

Using a yoga block or a hardcover book, place the block on the floor with one heel on the front of the block on the floor and the other foot behind the block on the floor. Now bring the back foot to rest the ball of the foot on the block and lean forward into the front foot. It’s important to hold this stretch for 30 - 60 seconds to fully release the calf muscles. Release the foot and then again, place the ball of the foot on the yoga block and bend the knee as you stretch. There are 2 calf muscles. The first stretch targets the high calf muscle, the gastrocnemius while the second stretch targets the soleus. Perform this on the other leg as well.

Standing Quad Stretch to King Dancer Pose

For this stretch use your Flexistretcher or towel to help assist the stretch and incorporate resistance into the movement to engage the muscles. Start standing with one knee bent behind and rest the top of your foot into the elastic center of the Flexistretcher. All the nylon straps upward towards your shoulders and gently holding onto the nylon loops in each hand, kick the lifted foot into the elastic resistance, lifting the thigh up and back behind the hips. You should feel a stretch in the front of the hips and in the low back. Continue to lean forward as you lift the leg and straighten the arms upward. Hold for 30-60 seconds then release the stretch. Repeat it again on the same side before moving onto the other side. This stretch helps release tight hip flexors and stretch the base leg hamstring.

Standing Hamstring Stretch

For this stretch use your Flexistretcher or towel to help assist the stretch and incorporate resistance into the movement to engage the muscles. Start standing on one leg with the other foot placed in the elastic center of the Flexistretcher, hands holding onto each nylon loop. Slowly straighten the leg pressing into the elastic center and lift to hip height or as high as you can keeping balance and the base leg straight. Hold for 30-60 seconds and then lower. Repeat on the same side 2-3x then perform on the other side.

Front Body Open Stretch

Using a large stability ball or yoga wheel. Sit on the ground with the wheel or ball behind your back. Reach your hands down to the sides and slowly lean back into the wheel/ball and roll backwards to open the hips, chest and abdominals. Reach your arms outward and slightly overhead to a full open body stretch. Hold for 30-60 seconds and then slowly roll back down to a seated position. On the second stretch, place the bottom of your feet together with knees to the side and slowly roll back again into the open body stretch. Hold again for 30-60 seconds. This is a great total-body stretch.

Wide Pull Stretch

For this stretch use your Flexistretcher or towel to help assist the stretch and incorporate resistance into the movement to engage the muscles. Start with hands in the metal rings holding the Flexistretcher overhead with both arms straight. Keeping tension in the Flexistretcher, slowly lower the elastic center behind the head with elbows pointing downward in a W position. Hold here while pressing hands outward to the sides for 30 to 60 seconds.  You should feel this engaging the muscles in your back while opening the chest. Repeat this exercise 2-3 times. It helps release the shoulder from forward rotation which can result in shoulder pain or a rotator cuff injury.


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