This 5-minute lower-body stretch sesh is the best way to cool down


Photo: W+G Creative

Welcome to Trainer of the Month Club, a fitness series where we tap the coolest, most in-the-know fitness leaders to create a month-long fitness challenge. On Mondays, we have our “sweat drops” where you’ll get access to the week’s workout that you can follow along at home. This week,  Nike Master Trainer and run coach Traci Copeland is taking us through a running workout warm-up routine.

The best piece of workout advice I’ve ever received is: “You can only work out as hard as you recover.” In other words, if you’re not giving your body a chance to reset the way it needs to, you’re not going to be able to go as hard during your next session. This holds true in every modality, but is especially important when it comes to running.

And so, for this week’s Trainer of the Month Club workout, Nike Master Trainer and run coach Traci Copeland is taking us through a cool down routine that’s perfect for any time you log major miles. “This is so important for runners. A lot of times we do our workouts and then we finish before we’re ready to cool down, so this workout will help you cool things down statically,” she says.

Here, Copeland shares a five-minute post-run routine that will make it even easier to lace up those sneakers for the next one. And one thing to keep in mind throughout? “In a cool down, you hold the moves a lot longer than you normally would,” she says. Happy stretching—may the sprints be ever in your favor.

1. Inner thigh stretch: Start with your legs in a wide, straddle position, and lean toward one side with your knee bent and your hands pressed on your thigh. Keep your hips back and weight in your heels. Hold each side for 15 seconds.

2. Downward facing dog calf stretch: Press your hands and feet into the ground, shifting your body into an upside-down V shape (aka a regular down dog position). Stretch your calves by pedaling the feet one a time. Hold for 30 seconds.

3: Hip flexor stretch: With your hands on the ground, plant one foot in between them and extend the other behind you, dropping your knee to the ground. Press your hands into the top of your front thigh and drive your hips as far forward as possible to give them a nice juicy stretch. Hold for 30 seconds on each side.

4. Laying quad stretch: Sitting on your butt, extend one leg out in front of you and bend your other knee to place your foot behind you with the top of your foot pressed into the ground. Tuck your tailbone and lean your torso back, planting your hands on the ground behind you, to stretch your quad. Hold each side for 30 seconds.

5. Laying hamstring stretch: Lay on your back with one leg stretched out and one extended overhead. Grab the overhead  leg at the calf or the back of your hamstring, and with every breath pull it closer to your face. Hold each side for 30 seconds.

Warming up is just as important as cooling down—here are Copeland’s favorite moves to do before a run. And one more thing worth working, especially if you’re training for a race? Your core.

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