Fit 4 Life | Stretching your performance - Part 2
WHILE DYNAMIC stretching is all the rage nowadays, static stretches - you know, the ones in which you hold a position for 15 seconds or longer - still have a major role to play in any workout programme.
Doing static stretches at the end of your routine or on rest days will improve range of motion, especially when you hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds.
It can also be very relaxing and doesn't require a lot of time. Really, all it takes is a few minutes of focus on the muscles you have worked, or on chronically tight areas, and you could reap the benefits.
Improved flexibility, injury and pain prevention, and improved performance should be temptation enough to get you stretching.
* Don't use static stretches on the muscles you're about to train. Research shows it can weaken your muscles for lifting. Also, static stretching prior to activity may cause injuries, and does not prevent them. Although there are some exceptions for very tight muscles, you should perform static stretching after exercise.
* Don't hold your breath while stretching. This will cause your muscles to tense. Instead, you need to relax and breathe deeply - try exhaling slower and longer than you inhale.
* Don't stretch in a rapid motion. Pushing yourself into position quickly and then "bouncing" back is dangerous.
* Don't force any stretch. Pain does not equal gain and stretching too far could tear a muscle. Instead, use your stretch routine to increase the range of motion over time.
* Don't stretch injured muscles unless prescribed by a professional. Even if it feels good, you could be making the damage worse.