We all heard about stretching, but not too many of us actually use it to optimize the efforts we put at the gym.
There are so many benefits to stretching regularly. Here just some of the main ones: strengthening of connective tissue, improved range-of-motion , joint alignment and increased blood flow during exercise.
Holding stretches right before weight lifting, according to numerous researches, has shown that it can actually hurt them before they're warmed up. When muscles are "cold", the fibers aren't prepared and may be damaged. When you exercise first, you'll get blood flow to the area, and that makes the tissue more amenable to change.
When is the best time for static stretching?
What your muscle tissue need before you start #workingout is to warm up. Prior to exercising, do some type of warm up (#movementprep or #dynamicstetching are good examples ) that relates to the type of training you will be doing. A jog, some jumping jacks, or something to simply get your muscles warm and blood pumping. Stretching should come right after your workout to relax your tight muscles and let go of some tension.
You want to reap the full benefits of stretching, so it's important you do it correctly. When you stretch, you feel some resistance. Breathe your way through it. Slowly, your muscles will feel more loose. Adjust or modify your stretches to suit your needs and look for ways to make the stretching positions more comfortable for yourself. Though it might feel a little bit painful at first, over time you’ll get used to it and your body will thank you.
How long do you need to hold the stretch for?
Maintain the stretch for 30 seconds. Anytime over 30seconds can potentially increase the chance of tearing muscle, holding it for less than 20seconds won't make a significant difference in lengthening muscle fibers.