How important is a consistent stretching routine?

by Thursday, August 31, 2017

How can you avoid muscle pain and injury that will afflict so many adults in their life? A great stretching routine is a very effective and simple way to greatly reduce, or even eliminate, joint and muscle problems in your life.

What a consistent stretching routines does?

  • Improves your posture
  • Reduce muscle tightness
  • Greatly reduces the risk of injury in your daily life, as your muscles are long and supple
  • Increases your flexibility which will improve your workouts by giving you more range of motion
  • Reduces muscle tension and improves overall circulation
  • Your body will feel better overall as your muscles will be relaxed and supple

Stretching Basics

There are two main types of stretching:

  • Static stretching
  • Dynamic stretching

Static stretching involves stretching a muscle or joint by using a fixed object (wall, barre, pole, etc) as resistance.  You stretch the muscle as far as you can until you feel slight discomfort, and then hold the position for 30 seconds.  Static stretching is a controlled and stable movement, without fluid motion.

Static stretching is better used post-workout when the muscles are fully warm.

Dynamic stretching involves motion in circular and continuous back-and-forth movements. It is critical to never bounce or jerk the motion, as this will lead to joint or muscle injury. Dynamic stretching should start very slowly and then progress to a full range of motion.

Dynamic stretching is best used pre-workout, when the muscles are slowly warming up.

Both static and dynamic stretching are vital to a complete and well-rounded stretching routine. They will improve your workouts, as well as your flexibility and overall well-being.

No matter the stretch you are doing, keep in mind these important basics:

  • Always maintain good posture
  • Focus on proper breathing (inhale through the nose, exhale through the mouth)
  • Really focus on the muscle(s) you are stretching – feel the stretch
  • Never jerk or bounce
  • Only start a stretching routine when your muscles are warmed up (2 minutes of cardio)
  • Never stretch to a point of pain, only slight discomfort

How and When to Stretch for your Workout Routine?

The scientific and research evidence as to when you should stretch, pre- or post-workout, has changed in the past 20 years. Dynamic stretching pre-workout, and static stretching post-workout is the best way to increase flexibility.

The approach we take on this site, 30on3 (30 minutes workouts – 3x a week), is a combination of each, but mainly modern (as follows):

Pre-Workout

1) Warm-up – 5 minutes

Warm-up your muscles and body for 2 minutes by doing some quick cardio:

  • Hopping/Bouncing in place
  • Jumping
  • Travel side to side

This warms the muscles, gets the blood flowing (circulation), and increases the heart rate.

2) Dynamic stretch – 2 minutes

Dynamic stretches are generally performed pre-workout, and usually include full-body movements. You want to engage all of your muscle groups in a slow and controlled motion, gradually increasing the intensity, we integrate in the routine. Some dynamic stretches to prepare you for your workout:

  • Arm rotations
  • Neck rotations
  • Shoulder rotations
  • Torso rotations and bends
  • Squats
  • Lunges

3) Light Static stretch

Static stretches are very slow and controlled, and focus on the muscle groups for your intended workout. For these static stretches, do not stretch to the point of any discomfort and do not hold the stretch as you will post-workout. Your pre-workout stretch is now complete…you are ready to attack your workout routines with intensity and confidence, knowing your muscles are warm and ready. The most important thing to keep in mind pre-workout…you are not trying to stretch or elongate your muscles for flexibility – you are trying to warm-up your muscles to prepare them for the workout.

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