You Must Stretch If You Are Going To Do Any Activity

One of the often overlooked components of a fitness routine is stretching.

Many people get very caught up with their cardio and weight workouts and never take action to stretch, you must plan them down to the very last detail, and not let this other crucial form of exercise slip by the wayside. In order for you to be getting a complete workout and want to make sure you are dedicating at least a few minutes to performing stretching exercises.

How About Breathing?

Breathing is also a very important component of upper body stretches, as it will allow you to increase the range of motion as well. Before moving into position, take a deep breath in. Then, on the exhaling portion, move into position, focusing on feeling the muscles relax as you do so.

When your concentration level is high, you will find that the stretches are much easier to do.

While holding the stretch, with each breath in and out you take, try and move slightly deeper into position. Really pay attention to your shoulders at this time as that seems to be the one area of the body in particular that individuals like to tense up.

Stretching Exercises

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I ALWAYS SEE PEOPLE using static stretching exercises before and during their workout. It makes me crazy because
This is actually the opposite of what you want to do.
Are you static stretching before you workout? If so…. Why? I’ll be sure to give you some answers.

Today were going to cover:
Static, dynamic, and ballistic stretching
When to use each type of stretching

One thing that’s kind of crazy is there’s actual programming for stretching just like any other fitness routine. The reason why is because we are actually trying to create adjustments in the tissue so it will lengthen and then we’re not half crippled anymore and will have more flexibility or range of motion.

This is different with every person because some of our muscles are lengthened and just fine and then there’s others that are so dang tight that it’s actually causing pain and sexy posture imbalances.

Do you know which muscles those are in your body? That’s okay most people don’t. The problem is people seem to just stretch whatever muscles that they know a specific stretching exercise for and actually ignoring the ones that have the problem.
I explain all of this in a video called Posture & Pain, but for this video were just going to stay on stack with the different types of stretching.

So we’ll start with Static stretching. These are the stretching exercises that are the most popular. The idea is to gently lengthen the muscle, be sure to take deep breaths for crap sakes don’t hold your breath. Sorry I see it so often. Lol but statistics show that a 30 second hold is best. Foam rolling plays an important part of stretching because stretching a muscle is pointless if the tissue is resisting you lol. I explain this is a video called Pain Exercises

Now here’s a Big thing with static stretching exercises. It’s not good to do them before or during your workout. You know I saw someone static stretching right before they started their workout and I actually walked up and asked him why he was doing that (because I was curious to hear the answer what people think) he told me that he was stretching so he could get his muscles ready to work out duo! I just said okay and walked away and thought to myself huh.

Now actually it has been proven that doing even short bouts of stretching exercises before strength training will actually reduce power output. Why is this? Because stretching the muscle is not getting it ready to do anything! Stretching the muscle is lengthening it, relaxing it and putting it to bed. Isn’t that exactly the opposite of what I would want right before I start my strength training? I think so lol actually I want Big juiced up ready to work muscles. So how do we get those?

That’s where dynamic stretching comes in. The advantage here is it allows the body to gain flexibility from movements. So the idea here is to move tissues in a SLOW full range of motion, pretty much mimicking the exercises that are about to be crushed. Some people don’t have something specific they are training for so in that case using movements that are not normally performed are a good idea because it helps maintain flexibility in all different planes of motion just like throughout regular life. Dynamic stretching exercises are typically done right after a warm-up or sometimes used as the warm-up.

The last thing I want to cover is Ballistic stretching. Now ballistic stretching exercises are often considered a little dangerous because of the risk for injury. It’s moving through a full range of motion while under momentum and force. Some of the common ones I’ve seen is bouncing toe touches or lunges, some of those wild arm swings.

Besides the fact that it puts a lot of stress on the muscle, connective tissue and joints, is that it doesn’t allow tissues to relax because the fast jerky movements cause a stretch reflex and create tension in the muscle which is exactly the opposite of what we want. Pretty much every time those wild arm swings start up, your brain tells the muscle to hang on because it thinks your arms about to get ripped off. Now don’t get me wrong ballistic stretching exercises do have their place, like in karate or ballet these are typically trained individuals that know how to use it. But just for the regular gym rat like me, doing a normal workout. Ballistic stretching exercises are typically not a good idea.

The take-home message here is we need to be sure our tissues are in good condition before we do any type of stretching. Warm-up then dynamic stretching, kill the workout then static stretching. I explain the entire exercise order in a video called Workout Routines.

Until next time stop putting your muscles to sleep.

Doing Stretching Exercises To Increase Your Overall Physical Flexibility

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While the benefits of daily exercise are numerous and well known, the benefits of a regular stretching routine are far less emphasized but just as important. Incorporating stretching into your daily workouts or into your regular day on their own is just as important to health and body functioning as regular exercise.

The most established and obvious benefit of stretching is to help improve flexibility and range of motion. As the body ages, muscles can become tighter and range of motion in the joints can be minimized. A lack of flexibility can cause movement to become slower and less fluid, making an individual more susceptible to muscle strains or other soft tissue injuries. This can put a damper on active lifestyles and even hinder day-to-day, normal motions. An increase in flexibility is accompanied by improved balance and coordination.

Chronically tense and tight muscles can also contribute to poor posture. Stretching helps to ensure correct posture by lengthening tight muscles that pull areas of the body away from their intended position. Stretching the muscles of the lower back, chest and shoulders can help keep the spine in better alignment and improve overall posture.

Gentle stretching can help increase flexibility in specific movements. The gentle movements of tai chi, yoga or pilates, for instance, may be a good way to stretch. In addition, when performing specific activities, such as a kick in martial arts or kicking a soccer ball, start by doing the movement slowly and at a lower intensity at first to get your muscles used to it. Then, as your muscles become more accustomed to the motion, gradually speed up the movement to a higher intensity.

Basketball Stretching Exercises – Foot and Ankle Rehab – Voodoo Floss Bands | Foam Rolling

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Basketball Stretching Exercises – Foot and Ankle Rehab – Voodoo Floss Bands | Foam Rolling

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How Often Should You Stretch?

In terms of frequency of stretching, how often you choose to do it is really up to you, the more you can stretch the better your results will be. Some form of light stretching is always advisable after a weight lifting session as it will help to reduce the chances you suffer from DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). It will also help your body to cool down after the workout and you will leave feeling more refreshed.

Don’t think that you have to be in the gym to get in a good stretching session either.

A very popular trick of the highly flexible ballet dancers or figure skaters is to stretch anytime they are watching TV.

Since it is very easy to perform these exercises on carpet in a small area, this should pose no problems. Plus, as long as you are stretching while watching TV, you know you won’t be eating! That is another great benefit for those of you out there who are trying to lose weight.

Some people also like to perform 10 minutes or so of stretching first thing in the morning to begin their day. This can have similar effects of that of a yoga session such as an increased calmness and a positive attitudeabout the day to come. Be sure if this is your choice however that you really pay attention to how far you are pushing your body as your muscles are now going to be most cold and tight immediately upon wakening.
If you can go outside (or alternatively if you have a treadmill at home jump on it) for 5 minutes to wake your muscles up first, that would be great. If that’s not an option, even just marching in place or walking up and down the stairs a few times can be sufficient.

Back stretches

Stretch exercise is better for relieve back pain than complete bed rest.

All movements of this Stretch Exercise focuses on the center of the body, the center being the point between the right and left side of the body and between the upper and lower half of the body.

An aged person can appear years younger with a lean and stronger core and a flexible spine he or she  achieves from these type of stretching and strengthening exercises.

Tips and Precautions Before You Start :-

  • Always wear comfortable clothes
  • Never force your body into difficult positions, it should be pain free.
  • The surface you exercise on should be flat and big enough to move freely.
  • You should realize that this is an exercise routine that you should follow regularly, it is not something you can do once a month and benefit from.
  • Pregnant women should only undertake exercise under guidance of a fully trained professional instructor because some of the exercises are contra-indicated for pregnant woman

Is it wise to stretch before exercising or not?

You should never ever stretch before doing weight training, as it will reduce the power of your lift and will cause loss in stability and this could lead to injury.

People who say dynamic stretching is good probably refer to activities-like baseball, etc., where you usually just warm-up by pitching a ball back & forth to the teammates or in sports-like, martial arts where stretching can prime the muscles in order to get them ready for use. . .

. . . if this is the case, stretching is good but definitely not before weight training.

One more question which might come to our minds would be that can we stretch between the sets or can we just sit and rest between stretches?

I would say no, as the idea of stretching between the sets is that you are cleaning your muscles out of the lactic acid when you do a stretch.

Stretching and the Gym

Imagine stretching of our biceps or chest to be similar like “ringing out a towel” that is soaked with some water. Therefore, if you do this, it presents same problem as written above by me, i.e., reduced power and losses of stability. It depends on your program and this is not such a big deal, but there is always a better side.

If you talk about between the sets, do some mild aerobic activity. Define your path through your gym between your machines and then walk up and down at a fast pace. When you do this, it cleans out much more lactic acid and will bring in much more oxygenated blood to the specific muscle you are training.

So it is for sure that do not ever just lie or sit and do nothing.
This can be considered as the worst form of relaxation technique.

One more thing to add that some difference between all your exercising activities must be taken into account.

It will be much more stressful for yourself to move from a fully relaxing position to a suddenly running position, rather than moving from a very slow jog to running position. Akin to this, it is much more stressful on your body to move from running too fast to fully relaxing. Least but not last, I would say it is much better to move from a fast paced run to a very slow jog and now to a fully relaxing position.
Again, This is another reason as it is just not good to sit between sets or running or jogging and to do nothing between the sets.

Partner Assisted Stretching

Another way you can really improve your flexibility is by using partner assisted stretching. To do this, have a partner slowly push whatever body part you are stretching slightly beyond your normal range of motion (it is most common to do this exercise with a hamstring stretch – you laying on your back while your partner pushes your leg towards your head).

After this is done then you are to start contracting the muscle and press against your partner, trying to move back into the normal position. Keep holding this contraction for about 20-30 seconds and then relax. As you relax your partner once again begins pushing on the body part and it is very likely that you will now be able to move further than before, thus increasing your range of body motion.

This is a effective exercise technique for those who are serious about their flexibility but caution should again be taken that you don’t push too far. It is much better to error on the side of slightly less than to pull a muscle as pulled muscles can take a long time to recover from.

So next time you are about to walk out of the gym before stretching, think again. You would be doing yourself a great injustice by not including some stretching as part of your workout routine. Even just ten minutes at the very end will go a long way to helping increase your flexibility and keeping you limber later on in life.