2011/09/28

Daily tip #24| Stretching

Everyone knows how to stretch. But unfortunately very few know how to stretch properly and what it is for. Follow along.


Stretching is a commonly seen thing, sadly, when asked, people think they're doing it to prevent injury, while in some cases the risk of injury after stretching increases.

Let me explain what stretching is, what it does and what's it for. Stretching basically helps maintain normal range of motion. It can also help fix muscle inbalances.

Stretching does not prevent injury, which usually occurs during normal range of motion, why would widening the range of motion help prevent injury? 

Stretching reduces the strenght of the muscle in it's tensed form, meaning you can get easily hurt if you do lifting after stretching. I suggest you warm up, not stretch, these are two different things. Some people also stretch after the workout, saying it will reduce the soreness, which it actually does not. 


The reason why people think stretching prevents injury is because they're confusing or mixing it up with warming up. Warming up does reduce the risk of injury and in fact, greatly.

With stretching you can also fix muscle imbalances, it's a wide subject, so I'll do an entire daily of it someday. Muscle imbalance is basically one or two big muscles doing the work for other, smaller, weaker muscles. For example your bicep and pec minor doing the work for your lower lats while you're doing pull ups, that's a really common one. How do you fix that? You stretch out your arm entirely before doing pull ups, stretch out both of your arms against a wall as far as you can - ofcourse, don't injure yourself. If you do this, the smaller and weaker muscles will start working, instead of letting the bicep and pec minor take over the work completely.


So, what is stretching good for? It is good for decreasing imflammation and increasing the range of motion, allowing you do reach better, or sit on your straight leg. There are many more uses for flexibility too, ofcourse. I see a lot of people not doing the stretching properly, you can actually injure yourself while stretching the wrong way. So how do to stretch the right way?



To stretch the right way, first of all warm up, and then cool down a little bit. You should choose a stretch and do it so you feel pulling in the muscle - don't go into the pain zone though. Many people get this part right, but they bounce or do the same stretch repeatedly in a few seconds, that is plain wrong. Once you get into the position, that right spot, you should hold and continue to hold for atleast 30 seconds. Then release. Once a day is enough, studies shown that three stretches of 30 seconds a day had the same result as one stretch of 30 seconds per day. If you're doing it right, your flexibility should increase in about six weeks, if it doesn't, increase the hold into around 60 seconds. Don't increase if you see improvement though! You shouldn't expect too much because it is, afterall, a slow process.


Besides improving the range of motion, stretching can be relaxing (exmpl. joga). I'm hoping this cleared up the misconseption of stretching and now you know!




Drink a lot of water, sleep properly, stop making common mistakes and you'll be much happier!


29 comments:

Oatcake said...

Nice blog just what I was looking for, I was wondering if you could help me at all..

I used to play football regularly (soccer whatever) and was always active as a child and I've always been quite skinny, but I just assumed I would put weight on as a I got older, I'm 19 now and roughly 6"1 and 11-11.5 stone... Not underweight but I'm still quite skinny. Was just wondering what I could do to put weight on and bulk up. I do eat quite a lot but most of it isnt good for me I dont think lol...
Do I have protein shakes, eat more protein etc and go to the gym regularly, or would just the gym alone on a normal diet do over time.
Sorry if this isn't really your thing but I don't really know who to ask aha :) following :)

Hasidic Plumber said...

Remember kids, always strecht unless you like the idea of not being able to move next day. It's really important, i don't always remember to do it though.

DWei said...

Ok, that is definitely helpful. No more multiple stretches for me.

Mai Yang said...

nah. stretching will surely break every bones I have. hahahaha! but yeah, I'll go with water and proper sleep ^_^

Max Power said...

great advice man!

Superrrnickkk...!!!! said...

I used to stretch after my run.. But never hold it for that long.. Thanks for the tip.. Will try that :)

Major.Mack said...

stretch it out!

Heaven. said...

I never remember!

Gizmo said...

I used to stretch for 10 secs, seems like it's not enough..thx for info :P

Bang and Buck said...

thanks for this, great tips!

xo

Bang & Buck

Neon said...

You chose this picture by intention, didn't you? ;)

DEZMOND said...

I stretch in the morning and in the evening.

my day in a sentence said...

I once reat this book written by some NBA coach who claimed that stretching is so vital that it, if applied right, actually makes muscles grow faster.

neatfit said...

@Oatcake A daily post is coming for your question! :) I'll linko to your blog too.
@Hasidic Plumber Yep! Darn kids these days sitting on their ass, haha.

neatfit said...

@DWei Glad to have you get something out of this post!

@Mai Yang Haha, don't be silly! Do stretches after warming up and all will be fine, remember to not go into the pain zone.

neatfit said...

@Superrrnickkk Holding for the right amount of time is important, just as I've mentioned.

@Neon Don't tell me you don't like it ;).

neatfit said...

@Dezmond Remember to warm up, and once a day should be enough, like I said.

@My day in a sentence I have never heard of that, there is a lot of conflicting information around, but I'm positive this does not work at all.

The Dawg said...

I did not know the difference between stretching and warming up. Thank you for enlightening me!

Natural One said...

Stretching is part of my pre-workout.

neatfit said...

@The Dawg Glad to have helped you mate :).

@Natural One that is a horrible idea.

aamedor said...

I always stretch before my routine, it really makes you feel better during the actual exercise and your not as sore afterwards

My 2 Pesos said...

She has a nice back. :P

odis9000 said...

also helps to not pull a muscle.

neatfit said...

@aamedor You haven't read the article at all, stretch after your workouts.

@odis9000 Warming up helps on that, not stretching. Easy to confuse, but stretching is not warming up.

GADAFINY said...

My body hurts when I look at the picture but good advice

Lord Phrozen said...

I usually stretch before taking a bath and then sleeping afterwards. I'm pretty sure other people usually stretch after waking up though. Does it matter what time I stretch?

Kid Shuffle said...

i never used to stretch, but as i've gotten older, i've noticed its more essential

TheOtherSideofCool said...

I had no idea that stretching didn't have the same effect as warming up- I thought they went hand in hand- so thank you for sharing!

I like to do stretches when I wake up in the morning as it makes me feel alive and awake and ready for the day!

thank you for your lovely comments on my blog :) I'm trying to exercise more and get healthier so I think yours is going to be my bible from now on! xx

Visit The Other Side Of Cool
Tweet me! @othersideofcool

Rawr said...

nice tips! i'll try this :D

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