Stretching will improve your flexibility and mobility. These enhance your range of motion and ability to apply the proper technique to exercise. An obvious exception to this is if you have joint hypermobility, in which case you should be strengthening the muscles around that joint.
Stretching requires a continual application; otherwise, you lose it.
For proper body posture, you almost certainly need to be stretching. If you haven’t been thoroughly assessed by a professional, the chances are that you will have some postural imbalances. These could be hindering your ability to move well and apply full force when lifting. Postural imbalances can also lead to injury and chronic pain.
SELF ADMINISTERED STRETCHING
The two primary forms of self administered stretching are static stretching and dynamic stretching. Static stretching may be more effective at improving flexibility and mobility for specific muscles than dynamic stretching, but it is counterproductive before a workout as part of a warm-up routine. For this reason, adding dynamic stretching into a warm-up is becoming popular. Dynamic stretching is an excellent way to prime joints and body tissue before a workout. Static stretching is best done as part of a cool-down or in the evening.
Tips for stretching are:
- Don’t push too far, only to the point of mild discomfort. You shouldn’t feel pain.
- Breathe normally while stretching.
- Work on opposing muscle groups each time you stretch, i.e., the quads and hamstrings.
- It is best to be warmed up before doing static stretching, such as after a workout or light exercise such as a walk.
- Hold a static stretch for a minimum of 15-30 secs.
- Lying down and using a door frame, the corner of a wall or a stretch strap for static stretching can be useful for taking the load off your back when hamstring stretching.
- For the best improvements seek professional advice of what to stretch, especially if you have injuries or limited mobility.
There is not a clear link between flexibility and injury prevention. Although it makes sense that a reasonable range of movement is required to perform the proper technique of an exercise. Strength training in itself can improve flexibility.
BEST USE OF TIME
A significant deterrent to stretching is the time commitment required. If you find stretching all of your major muscle groups too time consuming then focus on tight muscles and areas with a reduced range of motion.
The strength training programs of split body or body part conveniently allow for stretching the parts of your body that you aren’t working on that day. It is a great way to fill in the time of rest periods between lifts.