Warming up before a workout including light stretching, prepares our muscles for the activity that we’re about to engage in. Stretching afterwards, on the other hand, helps to encourage recovery. A single stretch increases flexibility in tendons and ligaments BUT the effects of this are short lived.  Over time however, regular stretching will induce the growth of tissues which will lead to a long-term increase in flexibility overall.   Remember though, if your muscles are sore, stretching won’t necessarily make them more flexible, but rather, help them to feel better and ease the pain.

 

FUNDAMENTAL BENEFITS OF STRETCHING

– Helps with pain relief

– Helps decrease stiffness

– Stress management

– Reduces the risk of injury

– Muscular relaxation

– Improves Posture

– Decreases back pain

– Prepares the body for the activity

– Mechanical efficiency

– Promotes circulation

 

TWO MAIN TYPES OF STRETCHING

STATIC STRETCHING:

This is best performed after a workout when your body is warm and benefits from greater mobility.

Static stretching is simply a stretch that involves holding a particular stretch for 30 seconds or more, with no movement or bounce.

DYNAMIC STRETCHING

Typically, dynamic stretching is done prior to commencing your work out and involves active movements that help get your muscles warm and ready for exercise. It requires more movement that elongates muscles at the same time, allowing for stretch during slow, controlled movements.

 

OUR STRETCHING TIPS

 

  • Breathe through your stretches. Breathing will help you relieve stress and tension in your

Muscles. It can also improve the quality of your stretches and help you hold a stretch for

longer.

  • Watch your posture. Pay attention to your posture with each stretch. Try to keep your chin up,

your spine straight, your core engaged.  Shoulder’s should always be aligned with hips.

  • Start slowly. Like everything, start slowly. If it’s the first time you have tried stretching after a workout, you should start with a few simply stretches. You can continue to add new stretches and more repetitions as you progress.
  • Don’t stretch to the point of pain. You should expect to feel mild tension as you stretch your

muscles, but never pain. If you feel pain, stop right away.

 

It is very common for people to experience some level of muscle fatigue as well as muscle soreness,

both of which are common side effects to exercising. Muscle soreness is  caused by microscopic damage to the muscle fibres when the targeted muscles are required to work harder than usual.  Thus it is vital to include stretching to your post-workout routine to gently relax and re-elongate your muscles.

The best part of stretching is that it can be done anywhere and without any equipment.  It doesn’t have to take too long.  But it is important for post recovery of the muscles, tendons and ligaments.

Here’s a couple of exercises that you can try the next time you’re in need of a good stretch. Remember, try focusing the stretch on the parts of your body you most likely will be working hard on.

Pre-Workout Stretches

Hip Rotations

– Start in a standing position, with feet wider than hip-width apart.

– Bend your arms and place your hands behind your head.

– Bend your knee as you lift one leg up.

– Circle that leg across your body, up toward your chest, then back down to the starting position.

– Repeat on the other side.

– Continue for 30 to 60 seconds.

Knee Lifts

– Start in a standing position, with feet wider than hip-width apart.

– Bend your arms, placing your hands behind your head.

– Lift one leg up toward your body, bending your knee as you do, as if you were trying to touch your

rib cage with your knee.

– Continue for 30 to 60 seconds.

Post-Workout Stretches

Lunging Hip Flexor Stretch

– Begin with kneeling down on your left knee.

– Keep your right knee bent, with your right foot flat on the floor in front of you.

– Lean forward and stretch your left hip out towards the floor.

– Hold this stretch for 30 to 60 seconds before switching legs and doing the opposite side

Overhead Triceps Stretch

– Stand with your feet hip-width apart and roll your shoulders back and down to release any tension.

– Reach your right arm up to the ceiling, then bend your elbow to bring your right palm down toward

the centre of your back.

– Bring your left hand up to gently pull your right elbow downward.

– Hold this stretch for 20 to 30 seconds before switching arms.

– Repeat on both sides 2 or 3 times, attempting to get a deeper stretch with each repetition.

Remember we also have a range of stretches available on the back of our program cards, which are available for you to take home.

We are here to help you every step of the way so simply have a chat to one of the friendly staff next time you are in should you require stretching for injuries or to overall improve flexibility.

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