Before you dive into you workout, it’s important to have a stretching plan for before AND after your workout. Without stretching, you’re inviting injury. Let’s dive into how you should be stretching.

The Warm-Up

The warm-up is an essential part of any and every workout. It’s important to get your heart pumping and oxygen flowing. Warming up lowers your risk of an injury during an exercise and helps to reduce muscle soreness.

A dynamic warm-up will loosen your body to its full range of motion.

We like to use a rowing machine to warm up by doing a full slide for 2-4 minutes at low intensity or even breaking down each part of the stroke at 30 second intervals using the same low intensity for 4 minutes. Regardless of your warm up of choice, the goal is to do 3-5 minutes of light aerobic activity to get your temperature up and increase your oxygen flow.

If you want to focus on your mental self while doing your warm up, try to allow yourself to let everything from the day go and to enjoy your workout so that you get the most out of it. Jogging, jumping jacks, and jumping rope are all alternatives you could opt for in your warm up.

The Pre Workout Stretches

After a quick cardio warmup, it’s important to give those pre-workout mobility exercises a few minutes of your time. Try to do 10-12 reps for each mobility or pre-workout stretch.

Do a 3-way ankle stretch to prevent against a common source of knee pain and injury. This exercise will also help with compression around both the ankles and the knees.

Keeping good posture, squat as low as your body allows you keeping heels completely flat on the ground and knees straight forward or slightly rotated outward. This mobility movement can help with warming up your glutes, quads, hips and help with core engagement for proper form. You can also do lateral lunges to focus on inner thigh muscles (adductors) which are very important in athletic and everyday movements.

Full tension planks are an amazing exercise all on their own, but they are also a fantastic way to warm up your body. They’ll help with core strengthening and further solidify the bracing pattern that exists in rowing.

Do you want to make sure you don’t revert to a hunched back position while rowing?

Bad posture can put unwanted pressure on the spinal discs. One way to help yourself avoid the hunchback position while rowing is by doing band pull-aparts. These reps will balance the internal muscles of your rotating shoulders.

In addition to the squat, a calf stretch should be a part of your leg stretching routine. One stretch you could do starts off by standing a few feet from a wall while your hands rest on it.

Take turns with each foot, placing it as far back as you can while keeping the heel to the ground. Don’t force anything or bounce your step but instead make it a gentle stretch.

Post Workout Stretches

Just because we’ve named pre-workout stretches and are about to list a few post-workout stretches, doesn’t mean that they aren’t interchangeable. In fact, they are. Many of the stretches that go hand in hand with rowing are beneficial to your body both before and after your workout.

Stretch your hip-flexors after your cardio workout. Many rowers and runners suffer from tight hips which can lead to injury and bad posture. Lower yourself into a lunge position allowing your knee to rest on the ground. Keeping good posture, push your hips forward to stretch the hip flexor above the planted knee. Hold the stretch for 20-30 secs and repeat on the other side. OR, you could do the piriformis stretch which can do wonders for your back and your hips.

Do a seated straight leg hamstring stretch to loosen up your hamstrings and allow them to heal after your workout.

Another awesome post-workout stretch is a finger and wrist flexor stretch by extending your arm out and pulling back on your wrist and fingers for 20 seconds on each side.

Make Sure You Don’t Skip Your Stretches

Whether you’re a world class athlete or a first timer, don’t skimp on your stretches. Stretching both before and after your workout will help you avoid injury and promote healthy muscle growth and repair.

It will allow your body to become more flexible, stronger, and more successful in getting the most out of rowing.