If Your Body Feels Like Jell-O After Working Out, These Are the 6 Exercises You Need to Do ASAP
There are two things we really want you to do every time you work out: warm up and cool down. You may be tempted to head straight to the weights as soon as you step foot in the gym, but we really don't recommend it.
We admire your eagerness to train, but you've got to warm up your muscles so you can perform at your best and prevent injury. After you've crushed your workout, you've also got to cool down. Yup, even if your muscles feel like Jell-O and you still haven't caught your breath. You may be tempted to sprint to the locker room and get in the shower before all the hot water is gone, but trust us, you need to cool down.
"A crucial part of any workout routine is implementing a cooldown or recovery phase," Franco Calabrese, DPT at React Physical Therapy in Chicago, told POPSUGAR. One way you can help your body recover is by foam rolling after a workout. If you've ever experienced delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) — that extreme, stiff/weak muscle feeling that usually happens 24 to 72 hours after an intense workout — get ready to takes notes and roll away your soreness.
"Avoid passively rolling back and forth on the foam roller," Franco said. Instead, "Actively move your body segment back and forth while sustaining pressure to a specific part of the muscle," he explained. Doing this will target tight muscles and help relieve tension. Long story short: foam rolling will help you perform and feel your best. Check out the must-do foam-rolling moves ahead.
Upper Body: Side Lying Thoracic Mobility
- Start lying on your right side with your right leg straight and a foam roller underneath your left knee.
- Extend your arms to the right. Stack your left hand on top of your right hand.
- Without moving your left leg, lift your left arm and begin to rotate toward the left. Your head should follow the motion of your arm.
- Rotate as far as you can without moving your pelvis and taking your knee off the foam roller. This should not hurt. If it does, decrease your range of motion. This counts as one rep.
- Complete 10 to 15 reps on each side.
Upper Body: Overhead Reach
- Begin lying on a foam roller that's parallel (vertically positioned) with your spine. The foam roller should support your neck and head.
- While maintaining a neutral spine (no arch), reach both arms toward the ceiling on an inhale.
- Keep your arms extended as you reach them back and over your head. This counts as one rep.
- Complete 10 to 15 reps.
Upper Body: Lat Release
- Lie on your left side with a foam roller placed horizontally underneath your armpit.
- Using your bodyweight, apply pressure into the foam roller. This should not be painful.
- Move up and down on the foam roller, and make a punching motion with your arm to target the tender spots. This counts as one rep.
- Complete 10 to 15 reps at each tender area on both sides of your body.
Lower Body: Quad Release
- Start by lying in a plank position with a foam roller horizontally positioned underneath your thighs.
- Shift your weight to one thigh, and roll up and down until you find a tender spot along the length of your quad.
- Once you've found a tender spot, bend your knee back and forth 10 times.
- After addressing the front of your thigh, rotate your leg 45 degrees to hit the outer part of your quad.
- Repeat on both sides.
Lower Body: Glute Release
- Start sitting on a foam roller placed horizontally underneath your glutes. Cross your right leg over your left leg with your right ankle resting on your left knee.
- Begin to shift your weight from one side to the other to target tight muscles in your left glute.
- Be sure to move the foam roller up and down to target all the muscles in your glute.
- Roll back and forth 10 times at each tender spot. Repeat on the other side.
Lower Body: Calf Release
- Start seated with your legs extended out in front of you. Place the foam roller horizontally underneath your calves.
- Cross your right leg over your left to increase the pressure applied to your calf.
- Roll back and forth until you find a tender spot. Once you've found a tender spot, alternate between flexing and pointing your toes. This counts as one rep.
- Complete 10 reps on each side.