Toss out old school static stretching that you suffered through in junior high PE and get down to some really great stretching that not only gives you better flexibility, but feels good and will help you see better results from your workout routine.
When one group of muscles is stiff, they prevent the opposing group of muscles from performing as needed and can not only lead to a less than desired performance, but also increase your chances of injury.
Static stretching, where you hold a painful stretch for a long time, has long been considered old school and even dangerous. Instead, stretch after doing a warm up such as a light jog or even jumping jacks. Getting your blood going and muscles warmed up prior to starting your stretches will help your muscles to respond better and allow you to achieve deeper stretches.
Adopting a good stretching routine will see improved flexibility, increase in strength, and even improved endurance. As you work hard in areas of cardio and strength training, your muscles that are stretched and in balance will support your workout efforts more effectively.
While exercising, our muscles tighten and shorten. As you stop to stretch during workouts – and especially between sets while weight training – you counteract that tightening and shortening and promote flexibility which gives your muscles and joints full range of motion. As this is occurring, you will hit see yourself hitting your fitness goals better.
Here are some tips to help you reap the most benefits from your stretching routine:
- Start out with at least 5-10 minutes of brisk walking or light jogging so that you are not starting your stretching on cold muscles.
- Set it on your calendar to stretch really well 3-5 times a week. Integrate this into your workout regime.
- Focus on all of your major muscle groups; quads, hamstrings, calves, back, shoulders, and chest.
- Take care to focus on each muscle group slowly, making sure not to bounce or pull fast.
- Breathe while stretching; exhale going into the stretch, inhale as you release.
- Only hold each stretch for no more than 20-30 seconds, repeating 3-5 times.
- Use furniture or a wall for support so that you are focusing on the stretching rather than balancing.
- If you feel pain, back off gently and ease into the stretch carefully. Never stretch to the point of pain, your body is trying to warn you.
So no more skipping out on your stretching, it really is not optional and can make the rest of your fitness plan improve. Check out Fitness Blender’s basic stretching routine for a really good all body stretch to start and end your day well.
Do you have some favorite stretches or routines that have really worked for you? We would love to hear them!
Featured photo source: Pixabay.com.