Simple stretching techniques to prevent injury and grow muscle
There’s a lot of folklore surrounding stretching. Must you stretch before (and after) your workout? Will you hurt yourself if you lift or run without having stretched? How long should you hold a stretch, if at all, to gain benefit from it?
Bottom line – it depends, and to simplify any contentious debate – there’s no harm in regular, pre- and post-workout static (hold for 30 seconds) stretching as long you don’t feel pain.
Benefits of Elasticity
Sports medicine physicians, kinesiologists and physical therapists generally agree on the benefits of stretching. Stretching helps keep muscles and connective tissue (ligaments, tendons) more flexible and resilient. In this manner, it can help reduce the risk of injury. Stretching helps keep inflammation down which, left untreated, can lead to carpel tunnel, tendonitis, plantar fasciitis and more. Stretching can enhance your workout on the front end, and studies have shown it can increase endurance and strength in some folks, as well as enhance muscle growth. Finally, stretching is good for your posture, which helps reduce fatigue, that improves your posture, that helps prevent back pain.
Set aside at least 10 minutes three or more times per week to stretch. If you’re going to work out or play sports, start with a simple, easy, dynamic (moving) stretch routine. Talk to your health care professional or a knowledgeable, certified trainer about which stretches best fit your needs.
To get started:
1. Click on the link below (a separate window should open to Musclewiki0 Stretches)
2. Once there click on each of the following muscle groups depicted in the diagram to view effective stretches for these muscle groups*
3. Bookmark this page for future reference so you can return and see how best to perform various stretching techniques.