Most of us make a swift attempt to engage in a quick cool-down stretch. But how can you maximize your stretching time to ensure that your muscles are getting the release they need? Cue: resistance bands, a simple and effective way to deepen and enhance your stretches. Here are our favorite banded stretches that you should start incorporating into your stretching routine.

Our 6 Favorite Banded Stretches

1. Banded Hip Stretch

Take your half pigeon to the next level with this juicy hip opener. Secure your band around the rig or a stable pole just above knee height. Insert one leg into the band so that it’s around your inner thigh sitting under your glutes.

Walk diagonally away from the pole in the same direction as the leg in the band. Once you have a suitable amount of resistance, fold into a half pigeon. The shin of the leg in the band will attempt to become parallel to the body, while the leg not in the band is straightened behind you.

Ensure that your hips are as even to the ground as possible for your body. If you feel ready, fold your upper body forward, outstretching both arms to intensify the stretch. Breathe deep breaths and hold for at least 60 seconds, repeat on the other side, and enjoy your newfound hip openness.

2. Banded Good Morning

Say good morning to your hamstrings with this stretch. Begin by standing in one end of the band with your feet hip-width apart. Bend at your hips and loop the other end of the band over your head so that it’s sitting across the back of your neck.

Hold onto the band around hip height on both sides with your hands. Start the stretch by bending at your hips, keeping your knees soft. Extend through your hips without rounding your back to come to a near-vertical standing position.

Do not rush these, and ensure that you can feel a stretch through your hamstrings. Repeat for 10 to 12 times.

Tip: make the stretch deeper by changing the resistance of your band to a thicker one.

3. Banded Quad Stretch

Perfect after running, this stretch may save you from a few days of walking around in agony. Plus it can be done anywhere and without excuses. Start in a basic lunge position with your front leg bent at 90 degrees and the knee of your back leg on the ground. Ensure that your front foot is slightly wider than hip-width to provide stability.

Loop the band around the top of your foot on the behind leg, and make sure the band is in the hand of the same side. Gently begin to pull the heel toward your glutes to get deep into your quad.

Remain as upright as possible, squeezing the glutes and pushing the hip flexors forward for a deeper stretch. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.

4. Banded Squat Stretch

Not only will this provide a deep groin stretch but it will also help with overall squat mobility and ankle strength — a triple whammy! Secure your band around the rig or a stable pole about hip height. Step both legs inside the band facing the rig so that the band is sitting under your glutes, and walk away from the rig to gain resistance.

Keeping your torso upright, lower down into a deep squat, clasp your hands and bring your elbows inside your knees for added resistance. Ensure that your feet, particularly your heels, remain on the ground, and try to lift the arches of your feet up to help strengthen your ankles.

Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, work your way up, and say hello to your inner thighs.

5. Banded Chest Stretch

There is nothing better than a deep chest opener after a pull-up intensive workout. Secure the band around the pull-up bar of the rig, so it’s above head height. Wrap the band around the back of one hand and move away from the rig to create tension and feel your chest release. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat on your other side.

Tip: for an at-home version, hold the band behind your upper back and grab onto opposite ends and pull to create a similar chest opening.

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6. Banded Shoulder Stretch

Your shoulders will definitely thank you after this shoulder opener. Start by kneeling on the ground and placing the band under both of your feet. Grab the opposite side of the band with both hands, then stretch both hands overhead, push your chest out, and breathe into the stretch.

The more you stick your chest out and arch your back, the deeper this stretch will feel. Hold for 15 to 45 seconds. This is one that you may need to work up to.

Tip: if this is too intense, start by kneeling and sitting back onto your heels to reduce the range of resistance.

Add these banded stretches to your warm-up or recovery routine and take your stretching to the next level.