Is there any point to stretching?
This is a question someone asked me recently and I answered with the following questions?
Do you want less pain and less risk of injury?
Will more mobility help your training, sport or daily life? For example, can you tie your shoelaces without sitting down?
Would you like to look better naked?
Stretching and mobility work will help you to have less muscle pain post workout and also less pain in daily life. If your muscles are tight and imbalanced you are also at more risk of injury.
Being more mobile will enable you to move more efficiently, this will make daily life easier, your speed agility and power will improve. It will even allow you to lift more weight; for example, if your chest and shoulders are tight you will be fighting your own muscles in a pull up! Get more mobile and you can train to your maximum.
Now for the good stuff! Yes, being more mobile can make you look better naked. Better mobility allows you to have better posture which as you can see is one of the quickest way to change your whole shape.
How and when should I stretch?
A warm up is exactly that, a series of movements to warm up and loosen you muscles for exercise. These are not long static stretches but dynamic mobility movements to get you ready to go. If you want to do some foam rolling prior to this to get the blood flowing then this is also a great way to get ready.
Make sure you perform exercises through the full range of motion and make sure your training plans cover all the major body movements; push, pull, squat, deadlifts, overhead pressing and rotational movements.
This is when you can work on your long hold stretches and spend some time rolling out the real tight areas. At least 30 seconds on each stretch would be a minimum to have and effect.
Yoga and Pilates are great supplements to your training, good instructors will cover all the major joints and regular practice will get you real results.
The key to becoming more mobile is to be consistent, try not to go more than two days a week without some mobility work.
Now of course stretching isn’t everything and you don’t need to be able to lick the back of your knee to be functional but it is an essential ingredient in the recipe of health and wellness.
If you have any questions and want to more why not send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet me @limitlessuk_org or send me a facebook message (https://www.facebook.com/limitlesslife.uk/), I’m always happy to give some free advice.