If you want to sprint, pedal or stroke your way to a strong finish, give your muscles a post-workout stretch – you’ll gain 19 per cent more strength than if you skip it, says sports scientist Dr Wayne Westcott.
Add Dr Westcott’s strength-stretch pairings to your workout and after six weeks, you’ll leave the stiffs in the dust.
FIRST DO THIS SUMO DEADLIFT
Put a 10kg barbell 6cm in front of you on the floor. Stand with feet 1m apart, toes turned out slightly. Lower hips and grab barbell with an overhand grip, hands 15cm apart. Inhale. Exhale as you stand, keeping arms straight, abs tight and back straight. Return to start. Do 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps.
THEN DO THIS STRAIGHT LEG ROTATIONAL BEND
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, arms overhead. Clasp hands. Rotate torso right, bend from hips. Reach hands towards your shoe. Keep legs straight. Hold 30 seconds. Return to the start. Repeat on left side. Do 3 more reps on each side.
FIRST DO THIS EXTERNAL SHOULDER ROTATION
Works backs of shoulders
Grab an exercise band with an underhand grip, hands about 30cm apart. Stand with feet hip-width apart and bend elbows 90 degrees. Keeping upper arms against your body and forearms parallel to the floor, rotate arms away from each other, pivoting at shoulder joints. Go as far as possible, pause, then slowly rotate inwards, back to the start. Do 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps.
THEN DO THIS KNEELING STRAP STRETCH
Stretches fronts of shoulders
Grab a strap and sit back on your heels. Position hands about 50cm apart and raise both arms. Stop your right arm once in line with your ear, allowing your left arm to lower behind you. Hold for 30 seconds. Return to start, then repeat, switching arms. Do 3 reps on each side.
FIRST DO THIS STABILITY BALL HIP EXTENTION
Works hip extensors (glutes and hamstrings)
Lie on your back with your calves and feet on top of a fitness ball, legs straight and together. Place arms, palms down, about 30cm out from your hips. Tighten abs and glutes as you lift your hips off the floor until your body forms a straight diagonal line. Hold for 3 seconds. Lower and repeat. Do 3 sets of 6 to 8 reps.
THEN DO THIS PRONE QUAD STRETCH
Lie on your left side with your elbow under your shoulder and legs extended so hips and legs are on the floor but your torso is elevated. Keep your left hip on the floor, bend your right knee and grab your right ankle with your right hand. Pull your foot towards your bum. Hold for 30 seconds. Return to start. Repeat on opposite side. Do 3 reps on each side.