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A Master SoulCycle Instructor’s Guide to Workout Recovery

At one new SoulCycle studio, you won’t be hopping on a signature yellow bike.

Instead, the incubator space—called SoulAnnex—in New York City’s Flatiron neighborhood, is focused on what active people need when they’re not pedaling. Namely: recovery.

“Across the board, in almost all workouts, the first thing people skip when they are short on time is the stretch,” says master instructor Charlee Atkins. “Stretching is something we think we can do our own or something we’ll get to later in the day, only to continually push it off of our list of things to do. We simply just don’t make time for it.”

Atkins is trying to change that with a class she created, Le Stretch, offered at SoulAnnex. It uses self myofascial release using a lacrosse ball, mobility exercises, and stretching to improve flexibility, increase range of motion, and correct muscle imbalances.

Why is that important? “Injury happens when you ignore stretching, plain and simple,” she says. “Muscles get tight because of overuse and that includes being stuck in a constricted position all day, AKA the sitting-at-desk position—constricted hip flexors and little core stability—which causes a whole mess of issues in the shoulders, lower back, and hips. When you mix a morning workout and sitting at a desk for 8+ hours, an injury isn’t too far down the line.”

If you can’t stop into SoulAnnex to take care of that incredible moving-and-shaking body of yours, work Atkins’ tips into your fitness regimen wherever you are.

SoulCycle SoulAnnex Workout Recovery

The SoulCycle Guide to Workout Recovery

How Often Should You Engage in Active Recovery?

“You should be doing at least 10 minutes of Le Stretch-type exercises daily. Match your high-intensity workouts two to one for recovery classes. For example, if you work out four times a week, you should be doing at least two Le Stretch classes [or recovery exercises on your own] a week.”

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SoulCycle SoulAnnex Workout Recovery

What to Do Pre-Workout

“I recommend using a lacrosse ball, tennis ball, or even a foam roller for six minutes before class. The recipe is this: two minutes on your right leg hitting the quad and glute, two minutes on the left leg, and two minutes on the back and shoulders. This is especially beneficial if you’re a ‘rooster’ doing a workout before 8:00 a.m. or a night owl doing a workout after 6:00 p.m.

If you don’t have those tools on hand, do some dynamic stretches before your workout. Try leg swings, lunges, jumping jacks, skips, etc. Try doing 15 body squats before your next SoulCycle class and see how you feel!”

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What to Do Post-Workout

“Take at least 10 minutes post-workout to add in some stretching. You don’t have to do a ton of stretches—the key is holding a pose longer than 30 seconds, and for up to 90 seconds. It’s easy to have a quick post-workout stretch.”

(All Photos: SoulCycle)