Stretching Do's & Don't's - Some Points to Remember When Stretching

Stretching Tips

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Let's deal with a very common question in bodybuilding as well as any sport to be fair. What are the do's and don't's of stretching? This practice seems to go in and out of fashion. Some people working out in the gym who never stretch. What's the real story? Should we stretch before lifting weights or after? Why should we stretch at all?

Let's take this last query of "why stretch at all?" first. Number one, stretching leads to increased flexibility. Now you might think flexibility isn't important, but it truly is. You don't need to be so flexible that you can lace your heels behind your head and still sit upright, but you should have enough flexibility to carry out your daily affairs and guard against the aging that occurs in your tendons and ligaments over time As we age, joints get much tighter and ligaments shorten. The decreased flexibility that results can hinder whatever physical pursuit we engage in. When your muscles shorten and stiffen, your posture is less erect, you walk more spifly, and you have trouble doing the most basic movements because your entire skeletal system has been thrown off balance by the supporting ligaments and tendons. These are but a few reasons that pertain to overall health. Is stretching good fur bodybuilders? Does it benefit you in the gym? Absolutely!

Daily stretching can correct muscle imbalances, Let's say your quads overpower your hamstrings, and your hamstrings are fairly weak by comparison. Since quads are the stronger muscles, you 'II tend to rely upon them much more, using them for almost everything as an anchor The resultant weakening of your hamstrings causes undue stress on your quads. This imbalance can lead to muscle-pulling - even tearing - and can cause a general clumsiness which can be dangerous in any gym environment. The most important reason to stretch is that it makes each body movement more fluid and graceful. It aids in recovery, weight training, and helps develop billowy, long, taut muscle bellies.

What's the best time to stretch? Well, you should never use stretching as a warmup, or stretch immediately upon entering the gym. Stretching should always be done just after a warmup. It should never be the warmup itself I suggest walking on a treadmill, using a slight grip for about 5 to 10 minutes, and then stretching prior to your workout. Better yet, stretch just following your workout.

Here are some points to remember when stretching:

» Always warm up before you stretch, stretching after a workout is best.

» Hold your stretches for 15 seconds, gradually increasing that time as you become more flexible.

» Stretch all your muscles, not just select ones, at each stretching session.

» Stretch only to a point of tension, not pain. Take deep, fluid breaths during stretching. Don't hold your breath.

» Use stretching as a way to relax after a workout. You can mentally picture your body moving through the workout you just did and assess how the workout went.

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