Monday, February 15, 2010

Why to Stretch

Stretching is a vital aspect in your daily workout, if you are trying to maximize your muscular development and fitness. People who already invest say ten minutes a day stretching need not worry to read this article. Stretching helps you strengthen & develop quickness, endurance and most importantly flexibility. Stretching is awesome activity that can be used to avoid injuries and muscle damage. Ever wondered why martial artist emphasize on stretching? Not just to do those fancy kicks. Yes stretching is what makes them develop speed, power and balance. Those round house kicks are not only great to watch but are also very powerful. Best example would be martial arts expert & Hollywood action star Jean-claude Van damme also known as “muscles from Brussels”.

First important thing one must do is to thoroughly warm-up before stretching. Stretching a cold muscle is not a good idea, muscles are like rubber band. If you stretch a rubber band when it’s cold, it won’t stretch beyond a certain point and it breaks, same applies to muscles. So way to stretch is to warm-up first, then do the stretching exercise followed by your workout or you can do post- workout stretching. The best thing about post-workout stretching is that your muscles are already warmed-up and trained so need not bother about improper warm-up.
One of the biggest misconception about stretching is it’s mistook for warm-up. Now warm-up and stretching are two different things, Stretching is not warming up! It is, however, a very important part of warming up. Warming up is elevating the body temperature to a specific degree say about 1.5 to 3 degrees Fahrenheit. Stretching is beneficial in avoiding injury to joints, muscles, and tendons, reduce muscular soreness and muscular tension. Helps develop kinesthetic senses, enhances physical fitness. If you stretch too aggressively, it reduces flexibility and can cause injury, thus the way to stretch correctly is to avoid the pain threshold. Help yourself in a position where the target muscle feels tight but still comfortable and hold this position for 10-20seconds, and then release the stretch. Once you’re done with earlier discussed way of stretching then move further to bit intensify the stretching technique. Stretch the same muscle group again for say around 20 to 30seconds but focus on greater relaxation; it helps loosen up the muscles. 2-3 circuits of this system of stretching are enough to warm-up and cool down your body. Some of the body parts you can stretch before starting any weight training would be: Achilles tendon, Hamstrings, Adductors, Hip flexors, Lateral torso. We’ll try implementing these techniques in your daily quest for fitness and trust me will notice a difference.

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