Stretching - When and How

24th July 2017

Often going to the gym and hopping on the treadmill for few minutes or half-heartedly doing few stretches seems to satisfy most people’s idea of a warm up. Similar story happens with closing down a session. Taking 10 or 15 minutes to make sure the body is properly prepared for the work out ahead is often another story.

Warming up is paramount to a good workout – a cornerstone of staying flexible and agile too. Warm-ups prime your nervous system, increase the delivery of blood, oxygen and nutrients to your muscles and get your mind ready for exercise and performance. Cold muscles are more susceptible to injury.

Dynamic stretches are active. Instead of sitting down and then pulling or pushing your legs and arms, you are constantly moving. The active motion helps your body maintain a higher core body temperature. Science has shown that dynamic stretching is better at preparing the body for a workload than static stretching. It's also better for gaining flexibility and achieving full range of motion.

Static stretches are a great way to cool down after a training session. And, if you need to release a muscle that's not a primary mover, sometimes a static stretch is the only thing that works. Do not stretch a primary mover while working it out—stretching your pecs between sets of bench press is not a good practice.

By taking time to actively warm up before and statically stretch after the workout, you will miminise the chance of injury. 

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