Sunday, February 3, 2013
"Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape"
Warm up before you stretch for improved flexibility
Stretching is perhaps the most important thing you can do to improve your flexibility. However, stretching a muscle without first warming it up will not result in significant long-term improvements in flexibility - and it could lead to damage. If you really want to increase you flexibility, you'll need to stretch when your muscles are warm and elastic. And, if you want to target specific areas for improvement in flexibility, you will need to develop a flexibility-training program.
In fact, to improve your overall flexibility, the ideal time to stretch a muscle is after you've exercised and raised your body's temperature. When you're weight training, for example, this would be right after you've performed your strength-training set for that particular muscles group. Your muscles are warm and primed. Some people prefer to save their stretching for their final cool down after they're finished with their entire exercise program, which works well if you're short of time.
Work stretching into your workout
Try stretching throughout a workout after each muscle group has been challenged. At the end of your complete program, take about 10-15 additional minutes for a full-body stretch. This is a great time to simply relax, tune in to your body, and reap the rewards of your gym efforts. Whichever way you prefer, the bottom line is that stretching is good for you and should be incorporated into your workout.