What is stretching?
You have probably heard that stretching is an important part of an exercise session. Well it is true. Stretching is essentially pulling or stretching the muscles we worked back to their usual length. During exercise our muscle length shortens. Stretching pulls the muscle back to it’s original size. The benefits of stretching include that it helps prevent stiffness of muscle, reduce delayed onset muscle fatigue, maintains and/or increases flexibility and maintains/increases range of motion of the joint and related muscle groups.
How will it help my recovery and performance?
So you have finished a workout. Let’s say it was a run that involved stair work and some up and down hill work. If you cool down at the end of your run you assist in the movement of lactic acid from the blood stream. if you then stretch you pull out the muscles to bring them back to size and undo knots. If you don’t cool down your body works harder to remover the wast products from your blood stream. If you get in the car and drive home without stretching you will most likely groan as your legs have stiffened up from the drive and you havent stretched them first. There is little benefit from stretching them now because they have cooled down and seized a little. GO for a walk then take a stretch tomorrow.
What types of stretching are there?
Static, Ballistic and PNF stretching. Static stretching is stationary stretching. This is the type you do on your own. ballistic stretching is stretching that involves bouncing through the stretch. This can be dangerous unless done properly. PNF stretching stands for propriocepter neuromuscular facilitation stretching and is done with a partner.
When is the best time to stretch?
After warm up or exercise. Never stretch cold.