Does it ever feel like those scheduled workouts seem to last forever? Below are a couple of simple tips on how to make any workout seem as quick and painless as possible:Bring A Buddy. Working out with the right workout buddy isn't just fun but also provides that extra push you need to go that extr...
Stretching is considered a key part in almost any exercise regimen, as it helps increase flexibility and improve the range of motion of your joints. But before you start attempting to touch your toes, you might want to run through the list below on how to stretch and the types stretching mistakes to avoid:
The difference between flexibility and stretching Flexibility refers to the range of motion for a given joint. The degree of flexibility that a person has is influenced by muscles and connective tissues, like ligaments and tendons. Stretching is a form of exercise that can lead to an increase in flexibility.
Know your limits If your muscles are too tight, then you might need to stretch. Limited range of motion may be due to tight or stiff muscles, which has been linked to injuries, chronic pain, and poor posture.
But being too flexible is also not too good, since muscles that are too loose may be weak resulting in joint instability and dislocation. So if you are already overly flexible, you may need to strengthen your muscles and joints with resistance training.
So what's the appropriate amount of flexibility? That depends on the primary movements of your daily life or sport: baseball pitchers need more flexibility in their shoulders compared to runners; cyclists need less flexibility in their legs than martial artists.
Stretch at the right time Static stretching involves slowly stretching a muscle to its end position and holding it for a short period of time (10-30 seconds). However, there are certain moves that you should avoid at all costs:
Don't bend down and touch your toes to stretch your legs before running.
Don't hold your hands together behind the back to stretch the chest before you bench press.
The reason why is because should not be used as a warm up, since it can actually
hurt your performance and make injury more likely if you do it right
Think of your muscles as rubber bands; when it's too stretchy, it cannot be pulled back quickly enough to provide a strong "pop." An overly elastic muscle has to work harder to generate the appropriate level of power. This can overtax and strain a muscle. Never statically stretch a cold muscle. Cold muscles are more likely to
tear when stretched improperly. Save it as a cool-down activity meaning after you're done exercising, or use it as the main point of your workout (after you have warmed up). By this time, the muscles will be warm, more elastic, and less likely to become injured. Use dynamic movement as a warm-up for exercise Low-intensity, dynamic movements similar to the main type of activity that you will perform is the best way to warm up for exercise. It will gradually raise your heart rate and increase
blood flow to the muscles while also slowly warm up your body's
temperature. Below are a couple of movement examples:
You're going to jog three miles. First, do some dynamic movement to warm up: slowly walk, gradually speeding up for about five minutes.
You're about to do a set of bench presses. First, bench press a much lighter load -- one that is about 50% to 70% lighter than what you're planning to lift later. Do 2-3 sets of those light bench presses (10-15 repetitions per set).
You're going to stretch your leg muscles. First, do some high knee marches and walking lunges to warm up those muscles.
Arm circles, jumping jacks, and rope skipping are other good dynamic choices for warming up.
Don't overstretch In order to improve flexibility, you must stretch and hold a muscle beyond its normal length. Only stretch a muscle to a comfortable point and hold for about 15 seconds or so. Never stretch to the point of pain, as it could lead to serious damage:
tearing a muscle, spraining a ligament, or dislocating a joint. Don't bounce Ballistic, or bouncing-style stretching is not recommended for most
people, especially if you are a beginner or recovering from an injury.The reason why is that a ballistic stretch uses vigorous momentum, such as rocking a body part back and forth to create a "bouncing" motion. This makes it challenging to control the force and range of motion, which could spell disaster especially for those who don't know what they're doing. Fact-check your technique The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends at least two to three days per week of stretching activities. Static stretches should be held for 10 to 30 seconds per repetition after activities like stretching, with approximately four repetitions per muscle group. Do multiple stretches of your major muscle groups.
Remember, everyone is different, and so are their flexibility and stretching needs. So don't compare yourself to anyone else. If you are a beginner, try getting in touch with a certified personal trainer to help establish a program that's right for your unique needs. If you have any health conditions such as osteoporosis, arthritis, or
chronic back pain or any injuries, talk to your doctor or physical
therapist about which stretches are right for you.