Ok, when it comes to our health, fitness, and results, there will ALWAYS be many different aspects and variables that we have to take into account to consistently make progress.
Drinking enough water, eating enough calories, and allowing for enough rest and recovery. These play a role in staying hydrated, fueled, and rebuilding what we have broken down with training.
I think we all can admit that the rest and recovery side is a thing we might not be hitting on all cylinders with. Adequately giving our bodies enough attention and making sure we are staying mobile and flexible(as much as we can) while moving up in weights or intensity with training sessions.
As we continue to strengthen our bodies and put our muscles under tension with strength training, they often begin to stay "tighter" and muscular knots can become a regular thing.
Overtime, these tight areas or knots can impinge tendons near a joint or cause an imbalance in a particular exercise. These imbalances can eventually lead to an overdeveloped muscle, underdeveloped muscle, or just increase your overall risk for injury! And we ain't got time for that!!
I get it. Stretching can be uncomfortable, takes time, may seem boring, or we think "stretching and mobilization doesn't make us gains.." (I've thought this so much when I first started working out LOL).
Just starting with a "quick" stretching and mobilization daily routine will help improve flexibility and mobility. This will help with improving muscle function, increase power, improve performance, help prevent injury and is key in overall health.
One of the biggest reasons I have seen people fall out of a routine of consistency is from taking on too much at once. Either trying to do too much or attempting too much time right out the gate. It can be overwhelming.
Like I mentioned earlier, consistency is KEY. Instead of biting off more than you can chew for time or movements, try keeping it shorter and simple. Instead of aiming for 30 min to and hour of stretching, how about try 10 min every day(preferably post workout).
I know 10 min may not seem like much BUT is more than NOTHING at all. If you think of 10 minutes in the macro, that 10 min a day can add up for over and hours worth of work in a week!
As you become more aware of your body and time, you should then attempt to increase your timing and stretching regimen.
There are different types of stretching that can be utilized into your training regimen-
Before starting a workout I would recommend starting with a Dynamic warm up. This would include going through the movement(s) you are about to train within your session. For example the best way to warm up for a squat, is to squat(bodyweight)!
Other things a dynamic warm up can involve is activating your core. A great exercise for this is a- "Bird Dog". If a Bird Dog becomes very easy, you can progress to a High plank- Superman.
Active stretching is moving into a stretched position for 3-5 seconds at a time for about 5-10 times. It’s usually best to do before exercise or cardio such as running, because it loosens up tight muscles and helps with proper body mechanics.
Post workout(while your body and muscles are still warm) Static stretching is a good way to loosen up! Typically used more for lengthening tight muscles. This is typically done by holding a stretch for 20-30 seconds on an average, 60 to 120 seconds if needed, and doing so 3-5 times.
When stretching, ease into it. Remember, it takes a little time for various tissues to lengthen safely. So work into the stretch safely and avoid bouncing or quick/jerky movements.
If you need help or have questions about what stretches would be great to perform to help you out, please reach out and I can help recommend what may help loosen some of those stubborn muscles!
This Article was written by:
Certified Personal Trainer- NCCPT