You’ve had a long day at work and you are ready to relieve some stress at The Gym Pod. You make a booking and head to your favorite pod. You open the door, immediately get on the treadmill, and start running as fast as you can. Even better, you grab the heaviest weights you can handle and start pumping out reps. Awesome, right? Wrong!
It’s time we discuss the importance of stretching. What are the different types of stretching, when should they be performed, and why is it so crucial to achieving effective workouts?
Let’s start with the basics.
What exactly is the point of stretching, anyways? Stretching is the activity of elongating your muscles to improve elasticity. Consistent stretching has been proven to improve flexibility, mobility, injury prevention, and help increase performance. That being said, it’s important to understand the “when,” “why,” and “how” of stretching to realize the full benefits. Touching your toes for a few seconds before you start squatting doesn’t exactly constitute as proper stretching.
Dynamic Stretching vs Static Stretching
Dynamic stretching is the action of performing repeated movements to increase blood-flow and muscle temperature. Dynamic stretching is a great way to warm-up because it prepares your mind and body by mimicking some of the motions you will perform during your complete workout. Some great dynamic stretches to perform as a warm-up:
· Lunge with a twist
· Leg swings
· Knee to chest
· Walking quad stretch
Static stretching is performed by completing a singular motion to achieve a deep and slow stretch over an extended period of time. Some of the most typical static stretches that probably come to mind:
· Touch your toes to stretch your hamstrings
· Pull your foot back behind you to stretch your quadriceps
· The “butterfly” to stretch your groins
Static stretching loosens your muscles as much as possible and improves blood-flow circulation which will help your body recover more quickly. Therefore, you should perform your static stretches after your workout to increase your recovery speed.
Did you know?
If you complete static stretching before a workout, you may actually inhibit your ability to achieve a workout at full capacity. According to the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, static stretching may actually reduce strength, power, and explosive performance. This is because if you stretch the fibers for too long, you are actually weakening the muscle (think of stretching a frozen rubber band)!
So remember Gym Podders, in order to achieve maximum performance and recovery, do your best to incorporate stretching before and after your sessions. Use dynamic stretching to warm-up, and static stretching to cool your body down.
Need some ideas for your next dynamic warm-up? Here is a great video that we recommend!