Archive for the tag - stretch

The Do’s and Don’ts of Stretching.

If I could do this - well, who would need a boyfriend?

If I told you that I knew something that could:

  • Boost your performance
  • Increase your flexibility (in bed)
  • Improve recovery
  • Decrease muscle soreness

Would you do it? Of course! So, what is this magic something? It’s called stretching.

The are two main types of stretching: Static stretching and dynamic stretching. Static stretching is when you elongate a muscle group and hold it for a period of time – like touching your toes for 30 seconds. Dynamic stretching uses movements that involve speed – like arm circles, leg kicks and everything else that you did in middle school gym class.

Over the years, I’ve become better – and wiser – about stretching.

For example, did you know that there is a bad time to stretch? Yup. Doing static stretching before strength training (i.e., lifting weights, resistance machines, etc.) will likely reduce your ability to lift by an average of 15%. Dynamic stretching, on the other hand, is fine before strength training. But the best time to stretch – believe it or not – is at the very end of your strength training routine when your muscle are tired and warmed up. Hold your static stretches for longer than 30 seconds to full take advantage of the benefits.

You also want to avoid stretching for cardio before you’ve warmed up. I always do a gentle jog on the treadmill for 3 minutes before stretching; it gets the blood flowing. Muscles are like Silly Putty. You have to warm it up to stretch it – otherwise, they snap.

The bottom line: Stretch for cardio once you’ve done a warm-up, and stretch again following your strength training routine at the conclusion of your workout. Those few minutes will prove to be a big investment into the success of your fitness program.