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The Stretches You Should Do Based on Your Favorite Workout

Sure, stretching can help you reach your toes. But it may also be the key to helping you achieve better workout results. During exercise, flexible muscles can help with your performance and make you less likely to get injured. Afterwards, stretching can help relieve post-exercise pain and soreness.

While it’s important to stretch your entire body, there are certain moves you should add to your routine depending on what form of exercise you choose. Different workouts focus on certain muscle groups, so those muscles tend to tighten up. Target those areas with these must-do moves from Ana Snyder, an exercise physiologist, personal trainer, and online fitness coach from New York City.

Your workout: Running

Pounding the pavement puts pressure on your hips. This puts pressure on the iliotibial (IT) band, a strip of connective tissue that runs from your upper thigh to just below the knee, Snyder explains.

Do this stretch: Standing IT band stretch. While standing, cross your right leg in front of your left. Stretch your arms overhead and lean to the right until you feel a stretch. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides, crossing your left leg in front of your right and leaning to the left.

Your workout: Boxing

The first rule of boxing? Keep up your guard. Holding your hands up and throwing jabs works your chest muscles.

Do this stretch: Assisted reverse chest stretch. Stand with your back facing a bench. Place your hands on the edge. Bend your arms and lower your body until you feel the stretch in your chest. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds.

Your workout: Barre

All of those pliés, squats, and leg lifts require flexible hamstring muscles.

Do this stretch: Hurdler stretch. Sit on the floor with both legs straight in front of you. Bend your right knee so the bottom of your right foot presses against the inside of your left thigh. Slowly reach forward toward your toes, keeping your back straight. Hold for 10 seconds, then repeat three to five times. Switch sides.

Your workout: Spinning

Cycling class kicks your butt—literally. Whether you’re climbing or in the saddle, you’re working your glutes and the piriformis, a small muscle underneath the glutes.

Do this stretch: Pitformis stretch. While standing, lift your right foot off the ground. Place your ankle above the knee of your left leg. Lean your chest forward toward your knees, keeping your back straight, until you feel a stretch in your glutes. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.

Your workout: Rowing

Rowing strengthens your whole back, but particularly your latissimus dorsi, or lat, muscles.

Do this stretch: Wall lat stretch. Stand facing a wall with your feet shoulders-width apart. Place your right hand against the wall. Keeping your back straight, bend forward until you feel a stretch on your right side. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.

Get more great health and wellness stories at Shape.com/Strive.