Stretching 101

Before doing any kind of fitness training you need to remember to warm up. This gets your muscles ready for the strain you will impose on it and it will also enhance your performance.

Stretching is an excellent way of getting the muscles ready for the workout. Remember to stretch before and after the workout. Most persons will stretch before working out because we have been taught that we should do so in order to prevent injuries during the workout.  However few know or practice stretching after the workout while the muscles are still warm. This increases muscle flexibility.

If you are stretching for the flexibility benefit you should hold your position for at least 60 seconds.   This is important as many persons go into the stretching position them immediately return to the starting or relaxed position, and repeat. This is wrong and  a wastes of your effort as you are not in the stretch long enough to achieve the benefit. As was stated before, hold the position for at least 60 seconds then relax and repeat. Not only does it not benefit you if you rush the process, it can also lead to damage or strain to joint and or muscles.

Start off slowly allow your body to get used to the exercise. Do not immediately try to do the hardest positions. Try to take your ego out of it. Your head thinks you should be able to do it but you body is not quiet up to it as yet. Start slowly and carefully.

Pay attention to all muscle groups when warming up. Often times, even those of us who are more experienced tend to neglect some muscle groups. One important body part that often get’s neglected is the neck.

Make stretching a regular part of your routine. Over time you will notice you range of  movement will increase, along with your level of strength and flexibility.

Slowly increase the degree of difficulty. Don’t ignore when your body is telling you that you need to slow down.

Rest, rest, and rest. Do I need to say it again? No matter how hard you work out, you must rest because that is when the muscles grow, not during the workout.

Get yourself a good instructional DVD that will guide you in doing the proper stretching exercise in the proper way.

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