Honestly people – I H-A-T-E stretching. I mean, come on… as if it’s not enough that I’m ALREADY late to the gym, and I don’t have enough time for my workout – do I really have to waste a few mins just to stretch?
The answer is yes. You simply must add stretching to you fitness training. A full body streth can be done in as little as 10-minutes!
What are the benefits? Just to name a few:
– Fatigued, tight muscles are less capable of performing the skills/movement required, stretching helps loosen you up
– Stretching can help prevent injury by aiding recovery and decreasing soreness
– Stretching ensures that your muscles/tendons are in good working order. The more conditioned they are, the better they can handle the stress of your sport and exercise
Based on my experience, I’ve actually had a significant increase in upper body strength in just weeks after incorporating a stretching routine into my workouts. (Yes, I used to avoid stretching for the first few years of working out.. I’m only human :P)
How do I stretch?
I use the Trebistretch machine (see picture above- Fitness First has them, not sure about the others). These machines make stretching easy and has an instruction board attached to it which guides you on the steps to achieve a full body stretch. As for me, I normally only stretch the bodypart I’m working on for that day. So, for example, if I’m working on my back today, I’ll just stretch my back. I love these machines cos they’re a safe and easy way to help you stretch. In fact, I sometimes get such a good stretch (especially on my back) that the feeling is almost orgasmic – I SWEAR!
Now, one common mistake that people ALMOST ALWAYS do is that they tend to jerk their movements and only hold the stretch for a few seconds!
Now hear me out : It is IMPORTANT to move carefully and slowly into the stretched-out position, and once you’re there – hold it for a good 20 to 30 seconds before slowly moving back into position. Only then will you reap the benefits of stretching.
So, there you have it. My conclusion on stretching?
Stretching is important, and is a simple and effective (and FREE!) method that will help you improve your overall performance in your area of sports.