Stretching is often something that many people forget to do before, during and after their session. Normally, because they are exhausted to do anything else, or when they decide to do it, they tend to rush through their stretches and they don’t get the full benefit of how stretching can help them improve on their Fitness and the benefit it has to offer.
Why do we Stretch? Stretching improves our flexibility; meaning flexibility is the range of motion that is available to a joint or Joints.
Why is it important? It improves muscle balance around the joints, and also improves overall posture. It reduces the chances of being in risk of injuries when playing a sport or performing the “every day activities” as well as working out. Stretching helps circulate blood and oxygen to the joints, keeping them supple and healthy.
The blood itself carries nutrients and vitamins to muscles so they can heal and rebuild. Stretching also flushes the body of toxins and lactic acid that create trigger points (knots) that bind muscle fibers together, preventing the muscle from functioning at its maximum potential. If you don’t have sufficient flexibility in your back, hips and gluteus, you might resort to poor form, compensating elsewhere for that inadequacy, which can lead to injury.
When not to Stretch?
Do not stretch following a muscle strain or when you have ligaments sprains. When your Joints are infected, inflamed or you have been hurt. After suffering a recent fracture, you should not be stretching. If you are feeling sharp pains around the joints or muscles, it’s recommended not to stretch because it could get worse.
Here are a few different types of stretches to keep in mind:
- Ballistic Stretching: I would not recommend to the Ballistic Stretching but I am sharing this type of stretch so you understand the different types of stretches and have the knowledge and implement the best ones into your training. The Ballistic stretching uses the momentum of a moving body or a limb to force it beyond its normal range of motion, this stretching or “warming up”, consists of bouncing into or (out of) a stretched position while using the muscles as “springs” which pulls you out of the stretched position. As I mentioned above, I would not recommend this as it’s not useful and it can lead to injuries.
- Dynamic Stretching: Do not confuse Dynamic Stretching with Ballistic Stretching, Dynamic Stretching involves on moving parts of your body and gradually starting to increase the reach, speed and movement. Which can consists of the controlled movement of leg and arm swings to the limits of your range of motion.
- Active Stretching: Active stretching can also be referred as the “Static-Active Stretching” it consists when you hold a position and hold it there for a second or two with no assistance but using the help of your antagonist muscles.
- Passive (Relaxed) Stretching: The passive or relaxed stretching as they also called it, can be a great one to implement during your training, its where you assume a position and hold it with another part of your body or by having the resistance of a partner, or another apparatus that will give you that assistance you need.
- Static Stretching: Static Stretching consist of stretching a muscle or different muscle groups to the farthest point, and then maintain or holding that position.
- Isometric Stretching: The use of isometric stretching is one of the fastest ways to develop increases static and passive flexibility and it’s very effective than either passive or active stretching. Isometric is one of my favorites because it also helps to develop strength in the “tensed” muscles; it also seems to decrease the amount of pain that’s usually associated with stretching.
Fitness tip: It’s not about perfect. It’s about effort. And when you bring that effort every single day, that’s where transformation happens. That’s how change occurs!
I hope this blog posting has been helpful and informative to you. Stretching is something I do on a regular basis when I’m not working out. I also stretch while I travel; taking small breaks in between work to stretch and of course, before, during and after my session. You will notice a tremendous different as you start implementing this more often into your regimen.
“Train Hard & Train Smart”
About the Author
John Carter is an Internationally Published Fitness Model, Men’s Fitness Magazine UK Writer, World Champion Martial Artist and Actor/TV host. John has been featured in multiple magazines all over the world and has appeared in National Level TV commercials as well. He has also developed his own Fitness DVD programs which are being distributed all over Europe. You can follow John via his site www.JohnCarterFitness.com, via his Facebook account : www.facebook.com/JohnCarterFitness, and Twitter account : @JohnCFitness.