Stretching is easy to forget because the results and importance are not as visible as say, weightlifting. However, stretching is just as important as working out. Stretching can benefit the body in many ways, it can help improve joint range of motion, decrease the risk of injury, and it can improve athletic performance. Let us show you why stretching is important.
When and Which
Stretching certainly has many positive values within a training plan; static stretching allows us to increase our joint mobility and relax the muscles, thus acting on our health/performance and on our ability to recover.
Associated with postural exercises that use different muscle chains, it also allows to recover a more fluid muscle action and reduce all the muscular retractions that we create in everyday life (sitting in the car, in the office, incorrect positions taken in different situations). Considering the negative effects on the immediately following performance, it is recommended as a separate session or post-workout, but trying to avoid extreme intensity and associating respiratory relaxation exercises (whose duration must exceed 30 seconds).
For those who feel the need to stretch before a race, the advice is to perform reasonably short exercises (10-15 seconds at most for no more than two sets per muscle group) and not very intense, especially before explosive or quality activities. (for example, short repetitions) always mixed with a slow activation phase.
Dynamic stretching can be beneficial to activate the pre-race muscles correctly, provided that it is always managed with a lot of progressions and avoiding exercises with maximal intensity or not learned correctly. Also, dynamic stretching should be performed on a warm but not tired muscle to prevent the risk of muscle-tendon injuries.
All indications must, however, be adapted to one’s level of physical and sports condition, accustoming one’s body with progression to any new method. To get the most of your stretching here are some helpful tips.
Do Stretch Safely: If you’re holding a stretch too long and it begins to hurt ease up. Stretch until you feel resistance but not pain. Modify movements to feel comfortable to you. Stretching should feel good.
Do Stretch Regularly: Make stretching part of your fitness routine. Stretch at least three times a week to maintain flexibility. Try stretching for about ten minutes and hold each stretch for about 20-30 seconds.
Do Not Replace a Warm Up with Stretching: Before your start stretching make your body is ready to work. Warming up increases your heart rate, blood flow and gets your muscles to a warm temperature. Stretching cold muscles can lead to an abnormal heart rate and blood flow.
Do Not Bounce While Stretching: Stretch in a smooth and stable movement, without bouncing. Moving around too much while stretching can lead to injury and sore muscles.
Do Proper Practice Posture: A good stretch requires good posture. Engage your back and neck to help muscles work efficiently. Stretching can also help with poor posture by loosening up tight muscles.
Stretching can improve flexibility and mobility. Its often overlooked but can be a great tool for athletes or anyone who wants to improve posture and become more flexible. Find a stretching routine that works for you or sign up for a yoga class to help you get the most out of your body.