Studies show that the best time for athletes to do static stretching of the lower body is after the completion of training sessions. Recent research explains that static stretches before sports endeavors weaken the very muscles needed to power workouts. Basketball, soccer, surfing, running, cycling, tennis and football for instance, all require strong fast leg work to generate the forces necessary for peak performance.
Power originates at the core, which then passes the energy to the limbs for explosive results. The heavy work occurs when our leg muscles kick in by contracting to activate the force needed to move. Static stretching tires muscles and makes them less able to store energy and snap to action. It can also make muscles more prone to injury. The general consensus today is to stretch after training unless we do light dynamic stretching, which warms the muscles up.
It is, however, extremely important to stretch the lower body after sports. A post-athletic tuneup that opens the hamstrings, knees, calves, Achilles, and ankles increases flexibility, which can enhance performance and prevent injury.
Below are a few simple yoga postures for athletes to do after training.
Fan Pose (Prasarita Padottanasana)
Revolved Fan (Parivrtta Padottanasana)
Garland Pose (Malasana)