Don’t forget to stretch!

Share This Post

Many clients (hopefully not too many…) don’t fully understand the importance of stretching before and after training, and as part of post training recovery i.e. at home! I’m sure there are some of you out there that stretch religiously (or am I kidding myself?), but for those of you that aren’t quite in that category, read on…
Why is stretching so important? Because it plays a vital role in keeping muscles and joints strong and pliable so they are less susceptible to injury. In its most basic form, stretching is a natural and instinctive activity. People often stretch instinctively after waking from sleep or after long periods of inactivity. But stretching pre and post exercise is something that should be done 100% of the time. Just 5-10 mins devoted to stretching could mean the difference between keeping your muscles strong and in working order, or spending days or weeks on the “sideline” nursing an injury.
When done correctly stretching helps strengthen muscles, and in turn strong muscles are important to stretching safely and effectively.
However, stretching can be hazardous when done incorrectly. There are many techniques for stretching in general, but depending on which muscle group is being stretched, some techniques may be better or more effective than others.

See below for a list of pointers to follow when stretching to make sure you are performing them safely and to achieve maximal benefit and reduced risk of injury:

  • Breathe slowly, deeply and evenly – if breathing is strained, you’ve gone too far
  • Stretching should never be painful
  • Stretch only when muscles are warm
  • Hold the stretch in a comfortable position
  • Concentrate on relaxing the area being stretched
  • Stretch before and after (and even during) an extended period of exercise
  • Use Dynamic stretching rather than Static stretching when warming up
  • Stretching should progress from major joints to specific joints
  • Flexibility training should be regular – at least 3 times/week
  • Always maintain good posture whilst stretching
  • Pregnant women should only do flexibility training under supervision

 When done correctly (and regularly), the benefits of stretching go beyond that of just increased flexibility. Some of the benefits include:

  • enhanced physical fitness
  • enhanced ability to learn and perform skilled movements
  • increased mental and physical relaxation
  • enhanced development of body awareness
  • reduced risk of injury to joints, muscles, and tendons
  • reduced muscular soreness
  • reduced muscular tension
  • increased suppleness
  • and even reduced severity of painful menstruation in females!

So next time you think you don’t have that extra few minutes to devote to your stretch down, think again! Stretching is a crucial part of your preparation and recovery from training and is a must in your program. We’ll give you a little help while you’re here, but the rest is up to you.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get updates and learn from the best

More To Explore


Use it or lose it…..

Maybe some of us have kind of dabbled in health and fitness. You know ‘The Amazing Watermelon Diet of the Stars’ in the weekly mag, or ‘Pilates is the answer to that flat belly you’ve always dreamt of’ on the prime time ‘health show’ or perhaps it was ‘Go hard or go home’ flyer of the ubiquitous 6 week challenge at the local gym that hooked you in, albeit until it got too hard or just finished.

Your Lifestyle Has Consequences

Your Lifestyle Has Consequences

Have you ever heard the saying, ‘that you become what you think about all day long’? The same also applies to exercise, ‘you become what you do or don’t do on a regular basis’. Hence the headline today. The trick with this ‘consistent exercise gig’ we all know we need is to find your motivation. If you can achieve that, you will no longer need ‘will power’, as the reason for doing it drives the action on auto pilot.