Stretching in its board term basically means manipulating your muscles and joints through movements to prepare itself for exercise and/or recovery after a workout. On one hand, stretching improves the range of motion of your muscles thereby improving your ability to bend, twist, reach, stride, etc in your activity. On the other hand, stretching relaxes your muscles post workout which improves circulation and hence recovery times between sessions. However, for the aim of this article, I want to focus on the type of stretching to do prior to a workout and why it is a MUST!
It is recommended to perform dynamic stretching before workouts, the type of stretching whereby body parts are put into a gentle motion to lengthen out muscles repetitively, within normal ranges of movement. For example, arms swings, leg swings etc.
Benefits of stretching prior to workout include:
- Improved range of motion
- Improved circulation of blood allowing oxygen/nutrients to be more readily available to fuel areas worked
- More oxygen/nutrients delivered to muscles improves performance
- Reduce risk of injury due to primed muscles and joints
- Primed nervous system ready to fire messages from brain to muscles
A common mistake performed by members and other gym goers, is performing static stretches whereby you are holding a movement for a short period of time. For example, whilst in the seated position, extending your leg out straight and reaching for your toes, and holding for 20 seconds.
Try dynamic stretches in your next workout and experience the difference for yourself! If you do not find that it improves your workout experience, your body will thank you when you are more mature!
*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.