Stretching properly is a little more technical than just swinging your leg over a park bench or trying to touch your toes. We don’t want to be wasting our time or hurting ourselves so there are things we can do maximize benefits and minimise the chances or hurting ourselves.
Which Muscles Should I Stretch?
Well as the saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! If a muscle isn’t tight and it’s not causing you any problems, then generally you don’t need to stretch it.
As you start to notice which muscles are tight and which muscles aren’t, aim to create a balance of flexibility between the front of your body and the back of your body, and the left side of your body and the right side of your body. For example, if you notice that your right hamstring muscles are tighter than your left hamstrings muscles, work on the right hamstring muscles until you have even flexibility in both.
Daily life for most people these days is spent bent over a PC or tapping out a text on your smart phone. This rounded posterior shortens our chest muscles so stretching your pecs is a good idea. If you are desk bound for most of the day you might get tight hamstrings and hip flexors so stretching those muscles is good idea if that’s you.
When to Stretch?
In the gym, you’d expect to stretch before and after a workout your workout. However, it’s also a good idea to stretch periodically throughout the entire day. It is a great way to stay loose and to help ease the stress of everyday life. During the ad break of your favourite show is also a good time to stretch. Rather than flicking through the channels get up of the settee and do some gentle marching or practice deep ass to grass squats.
Try and do some form of stretching every day. It doesn’t have to be a full on 2-hour yoga session, start basic to 5 or 10 minute sessions. See what you can fit around your daily life. Remember, something is always better than nothing so don’t stress if you don’t have much spare time.
Variety is the spice of life!
Including a variety of stretching exercises in your training program is very important for avoiding muscle imbalances. While an athlete may go to the gym every day, no intelligent athlete would do the same set of exercises every day, day after day. The same approach applies to flexibility training. It is okay to do some stretching every day, but it’s not a good idea to do the same stretches all the time.
So there you have it. My thoughts today on stretching. Ooo, my hamstrings feel a bit tight now. Might just go and give them a little stretch!?