Before you hit the gym for your next studio class, follow our series with pilates instructor, studio owner, and stretch specialist Erika Bloom. She's breaking down the moves that'll help your body recover after a workout -- and keep you in prime condition for your next sweat sesh.
We've all been there: You're feeling great after burning cals for 45 minutes on the treadmill. Maybe you've even taken your running workouts to the next level with an adrenaline-boosting group class like Tread Fitness or Mile High Run Club. But there's a downside to all that cardio, which is the inevitable pains in your shins and ankles that's so common with indoor running. "Studies show differences in how our bodies run on treadmills versus outside," explains Bloom. "The difference can translate to indoor runners having tighter calves and weakness in the upper hamstrings, low glutes, and fronts of the shin and ankle." These stretches will help you find a balance and keep you running strong -- straight through the finish.
Stand facing and holding on to a wall. Bring your right foot back, bending your left knee. Reach your right heel into the floor to lengthen the back of the calf and ankle. Breathe in to hold for a count of 15. Repeat on the opposite leg.
Stand with your back towards a wall, a shins length away. Stand tall on your left leg as you lift your right leg to bring the sole of the foot to the wall behind you. Your knee should be bent at 90 degrees. Line up your knees and lift and deepen your low belly. Maintain this position as you strongly press your right foot into the wall. Hold the press for a count of 10. Perform 3 reps on each leg.
Lie on your back with your legs in chair position and the soles of your feet flat on a wall. Fold as deeply as you can at your ankle to flex the foot off of the wall while maintaining heel contact. Stay centered on the heel with the inside and outside of your foot coming back towards you equally. Perform 20 flexes.