Best Stretches After a Taekwondo Training Session
Taekwondo can be an intense physical workout that pushes your muscles. Although you should always leave plenty of time to warm up with some dynamic stretches before you begin your training, it is equally important to cool down with post workout stretches afterwards.
Stretching after a workout cools down the body for a more natural transition into your normal heart rate and can also release muscles that become tense during the workout. This reduces muscle strain over the following days and helps to prevent injury. Regular stretching is also essential for improving flexibility – a key ability when it comes to your martial arts practice.
Cool Down Stretches for a Taekwondo Workout
Since taekwondo provides a full body workout, it is important to use a range of stretches that will target all the major muscle groups in your body. For each of these stretches, slowly ease into the position until the pull feels about 70% of your full range of flexibility. There should be slight tension but no pain. Hold the stretch for about 20 to 30 seconds, remembering to breathe throughout.
The following stretches are good options to get you started:
- Hamstring Stretch – There are a few different ways to stretch the hamstring. You can put your leg up onto a bar or table, or simply stretch one leg out in front of you at a time and reach down to touch your toes while bending the other knee. If you are experiencing any back problems, it can be more comfortable to lie on the floor and raise your leg up to perform this stretch.
- Seated Groin Stretch – Often known as the butterfly stretch, this stretch involves sitting on the ground and placing the soles of your feet together. Then let your knees fall to the side as far as they can. This stretches out the inside of the thighs and groin muscles.
- Lunging Stretch – Going into a deep front lunge will stretch out the quads, glutes, and hip flexors. Step forward with one leg and bend your knee so that it is at a 90 degree angle. Let your back knee and top of your back foot rest on the ground. Keep your torso straight up to lengthen your back.
- Side Stretch – This stretch will target your obliques and back muscles. Reach both hands over your head and lean to one side, and then the other.
- Hurdler Stretch – Martial arts icon Bruce Lee first made this stretch famous, so it works well for after Taekwondo practice. While seated, stretch one leg out straight and bend the other leg so the sole of your foot is against the inner thigh of your straight leg.Hinge forward at the waist and reach towards your outstretched toes. This will also stretch the hamstrings, groin, and hip flexors.
- Child’s Pose – This restorative pose is great for stretching the back, neck, and shoulders. Get on all fours on the floor, and then settle backwards so that your stomach rests on your thighs. Leave your arms stretched out in front of you. This pose is good to hold for a longer period since it is often more restful.
These stretches are only the basics that you can use in your stretching routine, but stretching is largely about what makes your body feel good. If you have other areas of your body that feel tight after a Taekwondo training session or particular stretches that feel good, feel free to incorporate those into your Taekwondo stretching routine.
If you are interested in improving your Taekwondo practice in the West Chester area, we also encourage you to join our Dojang at Master P’s World Class Tae Kwon Do where we make warmup and cooldown stretching a part of our Taekwondo practice. This enables you to build strength and flexibility while preventing injury to promote the best possible experience with Taekwondo. Sign up today to learn more about our practice.