Best Stretches After Deadlifts For Post-Workout Recovery

It’s your last set…

You step up to the pad. Wrap your hands around the bar.

And heave that shit off the ground. Locking out a PR of maximal strength proportions.

Congrats. You celebrate that win.

Then comes next day’s DOMS. That muscle soreness kinda sucks though. Doesn’t it?

Not to mention, it can really cause your muscles to tighten up.

Personally, my favourite tool for post deadlifting muscle soreness a seat warmer.

In Canada, seat warmers are a must for the winter. BUT what’s even better? Cranking that bad boy up after gruelling lifts. And feeling that sweet heat warm up your muscles… 🤤

Sorry. I wandered lol

Let’s talk about the best stretches after deadlifts!

What To Know About Stretches After Deadlifts

Before we dive in, let’s talk about fully optimizing your post deadlift recovery.

Firstly, if you are fighting DOMS and muscle soreness, research suggests stretching may not be the most effective solution. Eccentric exercises or novel activities seem to be a better option.

Btw that makes a solid case for yoga. It’s the perfect accessory to a weightlifting routine. In fact, I think yoga and weightlifting should get married, pop out 7 children, and hold hands watching sunsets together for the rest of their days…

Anyhoo…

Stretching is great to work on lengthening your muscles. And promoting parasympathetic activity (rest-and-digest). While it may not help you so much with perceived muscle fatigue or DOMS, it will definitely aid in getting you to a better state to recover.

A better way to fight the muscle soreness? Massage and cold exposure seem to be your best bet after deadlifting.

(more on that in a minute).

Stretching is great for cool-down after tearing your ass apart with deadlifts. Your hamstrings and lower back will thank you for it.

And not only that, but c’mon. Get that flexibility in training in! Don’t be so restricted in movement you can’t even bend over to touch your damn toes.

Oh and one more thing…

DO NOT do these stretches before deadlifting.

The stretches below are the best stretches for AFTER deadlifts.

BEFORE deadlifts you should instead warm-up with dynamic movements that mimic its biomechanics. Warming up with a lighter load, for example, would be a better way to prepare.

Anyhoo… That’s another topic. Right now, we’re talking best stretches AFTER deadlifts.

Best Stretches After Deadlifts

Okay let’s dive in. Here is a video covering what we will further discuss below:

Here are the instructions:

One. Crush those deads and your workout 💪

Two. Foam roll your hamstrings, glutes, and hips

Three. Perform best stretches for after deadlifts shown below

Bonus steps

Four. After working out and stretching, follow it up with a cold shower or ice-bath 🥶

Five. Massage the muscle (technically, you are doing that with foam rolling)

But we’ll talk about those more in a moment…

Here are the best stretches to do after deadlifting.

Before Stretching, Consider Foam Rolling

After your workout and before stretching, foam rolling is a solid choice.

Exercise causes breakdown of the muscle tissue. Your body then repairs muscle tissue with collagen fibers to lay down new muscle. These can be tangly and disorganized, causing formation of myofascial adhesions.

Foam rolling does a great job at breaking adhesions apart and aiding in recovery. It will also relax the muscle and allow you to get into a deeper stretch. If you have the time, it’s good to do after workouts and prior to stretching.

Every gym should have them available for your use. It’s good to have one handy at home. I’ll use it sometimes to massage sore muscles while watching Netflix.

My favourite is the Trigger Point. I find those standard blue foam ones lose their firmness. The Trigger Point has held up and still gives me that “hurts-so-good”, adhesion busting feeling.

I have the 13-Inch Trigger Point. The 26-Inch Trigger Point is a great option if you want the larger surface area. It can allow you to roll both your hamstrings at once, as well.

How to Foam Roll Your Hamstrings:

Start by placing the foam roller under one or both hamstrings.

Since hamstrings are a long muscle, you may want to break them into 2 halves. First, rolling the lower half to your knee insertion:

best-stretches-after-deadlifts-workout-recovery-foam-rolling-hamstrings

Roll the muscle slowly. Back and forth. Point your toes outward and roll the side of the hamstring. Point them inward and do the same.

If you find any tender areas, focus on that area. Holding the roller on that point to work on breaking the adhesion apart.

Then do the same for the upper half of your hamstrings to the glute insertion.

Roll each leg for 2-5 minutes. Holding tender areas and massaging them for 30 seconds or so.

How to Foam Roll Your Glutes & Hips:

Another nice option for foam rolling after deadlifting is a figure 4 stretch position.

Start by placing the foam roller under your right buttox. Flex your right ankle and place it over your left thigh. Your hands will be behind your back. Body roughly 45-degrees with the ground.

You can roll back and forth along the muscle. Holding any tight areas. Lower the knee towards the ground and roll along the side as well.

Repeat on the left side.

Your legs should feel great now. Let’s stretch them out to make them feel even better!

Best Stretches After Deadlifts: Reclining Hand-To-Big-Toe Pose

Hand’s down. Best stretch after deadlifts is Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose from yoga.

You’re gonna love it! Your hamstrings and lower back sure will.

First time I experienced it in yoga, I instantly thought “wow, this would be an amazing stretch for after deadlifting”.

I still think it is the number one best stretch after deadlifts.

Why do I think so?

The beauty of RHBT Pose is that it isolates the hamstring and relaxes the low back muscles so well. As you move the leg around, the hamstring will stretch better along with your lower back muscles.

If I had to recommend one stretch for after deadlifting, RHBT Pose is it.

To do it, grab something like a yoga strap, resistance band, skipping rope, towel, belt, or anything you can wrap around your foot.

Then, lay down on the ground. Place the strap around your right foot.

Keeping your left leg extended across the ground, pull on the strap and lift your right leg as high as you can. Pulling your foot towards your face.

IF and when you have the flexibility, you can even grab for the toe:

Hold the position for 20-30 seconds.

Then, extend your left hand across the ground. Slowly open the right hip and use your right hand to lower your leg as low as you can:

Hold the position for 20-30 seconds.

Return to center. Switch hands – grabbing the strap with your left. Extending your right arm across the ground, use your left arm to lower the leg the other way:

Hold this position for 20-30 seconds.

Return to center. And while your there, see if you can pull the leg even further. Don’t forget to repeat on the other side.

Best Stretches After Deadlifts: Seated Forward Fold Variation 1

After you do those stretches, why not follow it up with a seated forward fold?

When it comes to the biomechanics of deadlifting, you need to involve that hip-hinge.

Too often, people focus on reaching for the toes. RATHER… You should be using that hip-hinge and focusing on hamstring flexibility.

One way to help with this, is to sit on a block or foam roller. Elevating the hips. Keep a generous bend in your knees:

Keeping your spine long, begin to fold forward. Bringing your chest towards your thighs:

You can also work towards hugging your thighs:

best-stretches-for-deadlifts-seated-forward-fold-03

Eventually grabbing your feet:

best-stretches-after-deadlift-forward-fold

Notice how my knees are still bent?

The next step would be to work on straightening them. Relaxing the muscles, and allowing them to lengthen. Nice thing with the foam roller, is that it is massaging your glutes as well.

best-stretches-for-deadlifts-seated-forward-fold-04

Best Stretches After Deadlifts: Seated Forward Fold Variation 1

Finally, instead of elevating your hips, you can use a yoga strap, skipping rope, resistance band, towel, etc. to pull yourself closer to the legs:

You would simple perform the same folding motion. Closing the distance between your torso and your thighs.

As hamstring flexibility improves, you will eventually be able to grab the feet:

forward-fold-after-deadlifts

Cold Exposure & Massage After Deadlifts to Reduce DOMS & Muscle Soreness

Okay, so stretching is great. But what’s best for your recovery?

A meta-analysis including 99 studies on reducing muscle soreness and fatigue concludes that purposely freezing your ass off and massaging the muscle is your best bet.

While the research doesn’t quote ‘freezing your ass off’; that’s essentially what you do.

Just enough to hit that “Gasp” reaction. The real magic is from controlling the breath in response to that cold exposure.

Easiest way to do that? After your sweaty workout (and stretching sesh), you hit the showers. Scrub yourself with soap. Then…

(I really hate this part)…

You turn that nob down to COLD. 🥶

STAY CALM.

CONTROL your breath.

Close your mouth. Inhale through your nose…

1… 2… 3… 4…

Exhale through your nose…

1… 2… 3… 4…

Inhale… (and continue the 4-count breathing)

See if you can do this for 10 nice controlled breaths.

Hit 10 of em?

Good! Go for 20.

Maybe you go for 30.

You’re the master of your own pain.

Then go dry off. Have someone massage those hamstrings. Or use a tool like a theragun.

Now your muscles are best prepared for recovery and growth.

Summary

So there you have it. The steps again are:

  1. Workout
  2. Foam Roll Hamstrings & Hips
  3. Stretch (Reclining Big Toe Pose & Forward Fold)
  4. Optional – cold shower / bath / plunge
  5. Optional – massages

That will give you the best results in your post deadlift recovery. So you can come back strong and ready to lift new PRs!

I really hope you found this article helpful. Please share it with a friend or 7.

And if you wanna really maximize your mobility and flexibility gains; check out our yoga for weightlifters featured video classes!

Best,

Jason Jacques

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