One thing that has killed me for all my years of working out (or lack there of) is the necessity to really stretch before and after you work out. It doesn’t matter if you are running a couple miles, lifting weights, or even just recovering from yesterdays intense workout the importance of keeping your muscle stretched out still remains.
Required Time: 20 Minutes
Things you must keep in mind
1) Know the muscles your exercises or sport works
It doesn’t matter if you are hitting the track, working your in your basement, or doing pull ups you must know that muscles to stretch for your exercises
2) Think specifically on those muscles
While it is important to have a routine that stretches out almost all of your body it is important to acknowledge the muscle group you are targeting and focus your attention to that area.
3) Warm up prior to stretch
Start by walking around or doing a light jog. This is important because it warms up your muscles and lets them know that they are about to be abused. By doing this it will make your stretching exercises easier and more useful
4) Don’t push to hard to quick
You must ease into your stretches. If you know you can’t touch your toes don’t push yourself and overdue it to start your stretching. Instead of touching your toes stretch yourself until you start to feel it and loosen the muscles up. Stretching to often and to soon can injured your muscles and be very painful.
5) Hold your stretch
Once you have been stretching your particular muscle group for a period of time and feel comfortable with the stretches you are doing start holding the stretches for 10 seconds. Take 10-20 second break and try and push yourself to stretch a little further and hold for another count of 10
6)Don’t rush your stretches!
I promise you that rushing your stretching will only hurt your overall performance in stretching and your actual exercises. If you are in a rush and need to have a quick workout cut the workout short not your stretches. Don’t push yourself to do that extra mile if you havn’t properly stretched! You will regret it later
7) One more time
After you have finished your workout you must repeat the stetching you did before. Don’t run 3 miles and then cut yourself short of the most important aspect of the whole run. Stretch out long for this is the time where you gain more flexibility in the muscles because they are warm but it also is the perfect way to cool down.
Things to remember:
1) Stretch both sides
People tend to stretch the side that isn’t hurting as much or is not injured. It is real important to make sure you are stretching both regardless if one side is injured or not. If you neglect to stretch one side now you better believe you will be stretching it later.
2) Don’t bounce
The title says it all, DO NOT bounce when stretching this is your best bet from maximizing the stretch. As mentioned before try to hold the stretch that is pulling the muscle
Don’t forget that on days that you are not working out it is still important to stretch, even its only when you wake up and are going to sleep. Their is no better way to start your day then waking up and being stretched out.
Good luck in the weight room but try and remember these keys to stretching before you get there.