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Optimizing Athletic Recovery: A Comprehensive Lower Body Stretch Routine for Post-Game Success

A post-game stretching routine for the lower body is crucial for aiding recovery and preventing muscle tightness or injury. Combining the lower body stretch routine with treatments like AirRelax pneumatic compression therapy and DMS (Deep Muscle Stimulation) can further enhance recovery. 

Lower Body Stretch Routine: Recovery

Make sure to hydrate adequately and listen to your body throughout the routine. If you experience any pain beyond mild discomfort, stop immediately. Consistency is key to maximizing the benefits of this post-game routine. A stretch strap may be useful to complete some of these stretches.

Quadriceps Stretch Option 1:

  1. Stand upright and grab one ankle, pulling it towards your glutes.
  2. Keep your knees close together and maintain a straight posture.
  3. Hold for 20-30 seconds, then switch legs.

Quadriceps Stretch Option 2 (see video):

  1. Lay on your stomach with your whole body flat and wrap the stretch band around the middle of the top of your foot. 
  2. Pull the wrap over the same side shoulder of the leg you are stretching. 
  3. Hold for 30 sec-1min (should be 5/10 stretch intensity) and repeat 3 times for greatest benefit. 

Hamstring Stretch Option 1:

  1. Sit on the ground with one leg extended and the other bent with the sole of the foot against the inner thigh.
  2. Lean forward from your hips, reaching towards your extended foot.
  3. Hold for 20-30 seconds, then switch legs.

Hamstring Stretch Option 2 (see video):

  1. Laying flat on your back,  wrap the stretch strap band around the middle of the bottom of your foot. 
  2. Pull the intended leg straight up keeping your knee straight until you feel a stretch in the back of your knee. 
  3. Hold for 30-60 seconds (5/10 intensity) and repeat 3 times for greatest benefit.  

Calf Stretch:

  1. Stand facing a wall with one foot in front of the other and hands against the wall.
  2. Keep your back leg straight and your heel on the ground.
  3. Lean forward, feeling the stretch in your calf.
  4. Hold for 30-60 seconds, then switch legs.

Hip Flexor Stretch:

  1. Kneel on one knee with the other foot flat on the floor in front, forming a 90-degree angle with your knee.
  2. Push your hips forward while keeping your upper body straight.
  3. You should feel the stretch in the front of your hip.
  4. Hold for 30-60 seconds, then switch legs.

Glute Stretch:

  1. Lie on your back and cross one ankle over the opposite knee.
  2. Bring both knees towards your chest, gently pulling the uncrossed leg towards you.
  3. Hold for 30-60 seconds, then switch legs.

IT Band Stretch:

  1. Stand with one leg crossed behind the other.
  2. Lean towards the side of the crossed leg, reaching your arm overhead.
  3. You should feel the stretch along the outer thigh and hip.
  4. Hold for 30-60 seconds, then switch sides.

Adductor Stretch Option 1:

  1. Sit on the floor with the soles of your feet together, knees bent out to the sides.
  2. Lean forward from your hips, pressing your knees towards the ground.
  3. You should feel the stretch in your inner thighs.
  4. Hold for 20-30 seconds.

Adductor Stretch Option 2 (see video):

  1. Lying on your back, wrap the band around the middle of the bottom of your foot. 
  2. Pull the intended leg out to the side while keeping the uninvolved leg straight with toes pointed up. 
  3. Hold the stretch for 30-60 seconds and repeat 3 times for the greatest benefit. 

AirRelax Compression Therapy:

After completing the stretching routine, use AirRelax compression boots on each leg for 15-20 minutes. This will help enhance blood flow, reduce muscle soreness, and expedite recovery.


  • Enhance gene and protein upregulation for accelerated metabolic/muscle recovery
  • Decreased pain pressure threshold (tenderness of muscle to deep palpation) 
  • Increased range of motion 
  • Boost lymphatic fluid movement (decrease swelling) 
  • Removal of lactic acid (reduce muscle fatigue) 

Deep Muscle Stimulator (DMS) Treatment:

Following the compression therapy, use a DMS (Deep Muscle Stimulation) device on areas of particular soreness or tightness. Apply gentle pressure and move the device in circular motions over the muscles for 5-10 minutes per area.


  • Increased circulation
  • Reduced pain
  • Increased lymphatic flow 
  • Breaks up scar tissue 
  • Reduced lactic acid build-up 
  • Soft and active tissue release 

Benefits of Working with a Physical Therapist:

Incorporating the expertise of a physical therapist into the post-game stretching routine adds an extra layer of support and guidance, ensuring that athletes receive comprehensive care to enhance their recovery, minimize injury risk, and achieve their performance goals.

  • Personalized Guidance: A physical therapist can assess an athlete’s specific needs, biomechanics, and injury history to tailor a recovery plan that addresses individual weaknesses and imbalances.
  • Injury Prevention: Physical therapists help identify potential risk factors for injury and provide targeted exercises and interventions to strengthen muscles, improve flexibility, and correct movement patterns, reducing the likelihood of future injuries.
  • Optimized Recovery: With their expertise in manual therapy techniques, therapeutic exercises, and modalities, physical therapists can accelerate the recovery process, alleviate muscle soreness, and promote tissue healing, allowing athletes to return to training and competition more quickly.
  • Education and Empowerment: Physical therapists educate athletes about proper body mechanics, injury prevention strategies, and self-management techniques, empowering them to actively participate in their recovery and long-term athletic development.
  • Performance Enhancement: By addressing biomechanical inefficiencies, muscle imbalances, and movement restrictions, physical therapists help athletes optimize their performance potential, maximizing strength, speed, agility, and overall athletic function.

Lower Body Stretch Routine for Various Athletic Abilities:

This post-game stretching routine, combined with AirRelax compression therapy and DMS treatment, can benefit a wide range of athletes across various sports, especially those involving high-intensity lower body movements. Here’s a breakdown of the types of sports and athletes that could benefit:

Endurance Sports:

  • Long-distance runners 🏃‍♀️: Running significantly strains the lower body, making this routine essential for preventing muscle tightness and injury.
  • Cyclists 🚴: Cycling engages the lower body muscles extensively, particularly the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. Stretching and recovery treatments are crucial for maintaining flexibility and reducing stiffness.

Team Sports:

  • Soccer players ⚽: Soccer involves frequent sprinting, cutting, and kicking motions, which can lead to muscle fatigue and tightness. This routine helps in maintaining mobility and reducing the risk of strains.
  • Basketball players🏀: The constant running, jumping, and sudden changes in direction in basketball can result in muscle tightness and fatigue. Post-game stretching and recovery treatments aid in muscle recovery and injury prevention.

Strength and Power Sports:

  • Weightlifters 🏋️‍♂️: Heavy weightlifting places stress on the lower body muscles, and this routine can help reduce muscle soreness and promote recovery between training sessions.
  • Powerlifters💪 : Powerlifting movements like squats, deadlifts, and lunges heavily engage the lower body muscles. Incorporating this routine can aid in maintaining flexibility and preventing tightness.

Combat Sports:

  • Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters 🥋: MMA training involves a combination of striking, grappling, and ground fighting, which can lead to muscle tightness and fatigue. Post-training recovery helps in maintaining flexibility and reducing the risk of overuse injuries.
  • Wrestlers 🤼‍♂️ : Wrestlers often experience muscle soreness and stiffness due to the intense physical demands of their sport. Regular stretching and recovery treatments are essential for optimizing performance and minimizing the risk of injury.

Field and Court Sports:

  • Tennis players 🎾: The explosive movements and repetitive tennis strokes can lead to tightness in the lower body muscles. This routine aids in maintaining mobility and preventing overuse injuries.
  • Volleyball players 🏐: Jumping, diving, and lateral movements in volleyball can strain the lower body muscles. Stretching and recovery treatments prevent fatigue-related injuries and improve overall performance.

Overall, athletes from a wide range of sports can benefit from this post-game stretching routine, especially those involving repetitive lower body movements, explosive actions, and high-intensity activities. It helps promote muscle recovery, reducing soreness, and enhancing flexibility, ultimately contributing to improved athletic performance and injury prevention.

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