Active Recovery/Stretch Series
This is a quick and easy to implement active recovery/stretch series to use with a PE class that is sore from a few intense workout sessions. It could be used for a High School Aerobis Class, Lifetime Activities Class or even a Beginning/Advanced Strength Training Class.
Recovery Workout Series
A 20 minute recovery session with multiple stretches/poses to give your students the needed physical break from strenuous aerobic activity expected in class. This lesson can be done at home and used for a virtual PE assignment.
Students will understand the importance that allowing your body an active recovery day is essential to improved performance of overall fitness and health.
PE.HS.8.2.a Identifies and applies the movement concepts and principles utilized for the improvement of performance.
Equipment/Materials Needed: A Timer.
Time Required for Lesson: 25-30 minutes
Diagram/Setup: Space students six feet apart in all directions for safety.
YES X NO
As a teacher make sure that you practice the stretch series yourself to get the timing down and feel comfortable with your own cues and descriptions of the stretches/poses.
This activity allows students to understand that a rest day doesn’t mean sitting on the couch, you can do active recovery workouts that are very beneficial to their physical and mental health.
Activities (i.e. instructions, warm-up, lesson, cool-down):
- Ask students to spread themselves out so there is a 6 feet open area completely around them.
- Explain the benefits of an active recovery workout.
- Begin the Stretching Series: You will time/hold each stretch for 30 seconds, then proceed to the next stretch. The stretches are designed in an order that should flow very smoothly and offer maximum health benefit to the students.
Active Recovery/Stretch Series Order of Progression (includes some teacher cues)
- Students stand up with good posture, taking 5 big deep breaths. Have students inhale for a 3 second count and exhale for a 3 second count
- Slowly roll down in a Hamstring Stretch keeping feet close together.
- Move into a Sumo Squat Hold.
- Slowly straighten your legs into Hamstring Stretch again this time keeping feet a little wider than your shoulders.
- Slowly Roll Up. Take your right foot over your left foot and roll back down into an IT Band Stretch.
- Slowly Roll Up. Take your left foot over your right foot and roll back down into an IT Band Stretch for the other side.
- Slowly move your feet shoulder width apart and walk your hands out into Downward Dog. Push your palms and heels into the floor raising your hips to the ceiling.
- Step your right foot up to the outside of your right hand into Runner’s Stretch.
- Staying in this position take your left hand and move it closer to your right foot, take your right hand to the ceiling and open your chest toward your right thigh.
- Now put your right hand where your left hand was and take your left hand to the ceiling and have your back toward your right thigh.
- Return to original Runner’s Stretch. Bring your right foot under your body parallel to your hands so that your right heel is at your left hip. Lower your body down to the ground into Pigeon Stretch.
- Take your body back into Child’s Pose keeping your knees together and sinking your hips back into your heels, stretching your hands out long in front of you and resting your forehead to the floor.
- Move your body so your torso is on the floor. Align your elbows so they are directly under your shoulders, lift your chest off the ground into a Sphinx Pose.
- Push yourself back up into Downward Dog. Cue the class that we will repeat all those stretches on the other side of the body next.
- Step your left foot up to the outside of your left hand into Runner’s Stretch.
- Staying in this position take your right hand and move it closer to your left foot, take your left hand to the ceiling and open your chest toward your left thigh.
- Now put your left hand where your right hand was and take your right hand to the ceiling and have your back toward your left thigh.
- Return to original Runner’s Stretch. Bring your left foot under your body parallel to your hands so that your left heel is at your right hip. Lower your body down to the ground into Pigeon Stretch.
- Take your body back into Child’s Pose this time opening your knees wide and sinking your hips back into your heels, stretching your hands out long in front of you and resting your forehead to the floor.
- Move your body so your torso is on the floor. Align your hands so they are directly under your shoulders, lift your torso off the ground into a Cobra Pose.
- Turn your body over onto your back. Take your arms out to make a “T”, palms flat on the floor. Bring your Right foot up to your left hand in an Iron Cross Hold.
- Slowly bring that right knee into your right armpit. Be sure to gently pull your leg from behind the knee on the hamstring and not on top of the knee to reduce stress on the joint.
- Straighten that right leg, flex your right toe. If you are more flexible than cue students they may walk their hands up their leg to hold at the base of the calf muscle above the ankle.
- Slowly lower the right leg and cue students we are going to repeat on the left side of the body. Take your arms out to make a “T”, palms flat on the floor. Bring your left foot up to your right hand in an Iron Cross Hold.
- Slowly bring that left knee into your left armpit. Be sure to gently pull your leg from behind the knee on the hamstring and not on top of the knee to reduce stress on the joint.
- Straighten that left leg, flex your left toe. If you are more flexible than cue students they may walk their hands up their leg to hold at the base of the calf muscle above the ankle.
- Hug both knees into your chest.
- Release your legs. Bring your knees to a 90 degree angle stacked over your hips, flex your toes. Have arms out to a “T” palms down to the ground. Slowly lower your knees to the right and turn your head to look to the left. Cue students to keep both shoulders square on the floor.
- Slowly rotate that same movement to the other side. Lower your knees to the left and turn your head to look to the right. Cue students to keep both shoulders square on the floor.
- Sit up with excellent posture in Butterfly Stretch.
- Extend your feet a little away from your body and reach your arms attempting to bring your nose to your toes in a deeper stretch.
- Tuck your Right leg into your groin, bring the left foot over so it is parallel to the right thigh, bring your right elbow over the left knee drawing your chest toward the left thigh in a Pretzel Stretch.
- Slowly release and repeat on the other side. Tuck your Left leg into your groin, bring the right foot over so it is parallel to the left thigh, bring your left elbow over the right knee drawing your chest toward the right thigh in a Pretzel Stretch.
- Slowly extend your legs straight out in front of you. Keep your toes flexed and pointed to the ceiling. Sit up tall, have good posture and raise your hands up to the ceiling. Stretch and reach for the ceiling then slowly bend forward to reach and touch your toes.
- Slowly lift your arms back up towards the ceiling sitting up with good posture. Reach and stretch then gradually roll your body flat on it’s back on the floor, pointing your toes and stretching your arms in a final Full Body Stretch.
While the students are lying in the Full Body Stretch cue them to do another 6 rounds of deep breathing. With each exhalation have them do a full body scan of how their major muscle groups feel after that recovery workout. Also have them reflect about how they feel mentally after the recovery workout. (Is their body more relaxed, heart rate lowered, etc.)
This would be more for a formative assessment day. Are the students able to follow teacher cues/prompts as directed throughout the series?
Always tell students that stretching/recovery should not be painful so if their body can’t move through the full range of motion to position themselves so they feel an easy stretch but not an aggressive pull on their muscles.
Make sure students have a clear space around them because some students may lose their balance and fall over during the workout.
Comments (adaptations for various grades/ages, teaching styles, etc.)
If the teacher wants you could play soothing, relaxing music in the background to create a more calming atmosphere.