You always hear personal trainers talking about how important stretching is to your workout routine. Whether you focus on cardio or weightlifting, you need to be incorporating stretches into your daily gym sessions. If you’re not sure whether or not you’re stretching properly, read on to see what might be going wrong with your stretching routine.
You’re not stretching at all
This is a big no-no. Stretching helps your muscles loosen up prior to working out. Failing to stretch can lead to tight muscles and poor form which could both leave you prone to injury.
You don’t stretch until AFTER you work out
Again, a big no-no. Don’t get me wrong, stretching after your workout is really important too, but you shouldn’t be stretching ONLY after working out. This is for the same reasons as not stretching at all. By failing to stretch before your workout session, you’re leaving your muscles tight and with a smaller range of motion than they would have if you stretched before exercising them. This leaves you open to injury or muscular strains.
You stretch before you’re warmed up
When your muscles are cold, they’re pretty stiff whether you can feel it or not. Because of this, trying to stretch them before they’re warmed up can set the stage for strains. This is also why you shouldn’t stretch as soon as you wake up in the morning. Your muscles will still be cold from hours of inactivity as well as a lowered body temperature. Warm up for a couple of minutes (light jogging or bicycling will suffice) before you stretch.
You hold your stretch for a long time until it hurts
First of all, your stretches should never hurt. You should be stretching to the point at which you can feel muscle tension, but never pain. Stretches don’t need to be held for long periods of time either. Avoid holding your stretches for longer than sixty seconds, and instead do three sets of ten to twenty second holds to get an effective stretch.
Stretching is a really important part of any workout routine and can do wonders for you with regards to flexibility and performance during your workouts. Now that you know what you should and shouldn’t be doing, get to stretching!
By: Kayla Harwick