Muscle Stretches - Are You Doing Them Correctly?
You've probably done some stretching before. But are you sure you did your muscle stretches properly?
Like other exercises, stretching will give you benefits only if you use the correct techniques.
So, here are a few things you should know when you do your muscle stretches.
Five Techniques Of Proper Stretching
- Hold each stretch for 20 to 30 seconds to give your muscles a chance to relax.
- Stretch to the point where you feel mild tension and
stop there. If you feel pain, you're stretching too far. Don't feel
tempted to compete with others on how far you can go. Just go where you
feel slight tension, no more than that.
- Don't bounce while you're holding the stretch. This
can cause more harm than good. So hold still. And always go into and
come out of the stretches slowly and in control. Don't rush.
- It's a good idea to stretch the tightest muscle first.
For example, many people have tight hip flexor muscles. Hip flexors
have to contract continuously while we sit, walk or run. So, they're
often the tightest muscles in our body.
- If particular parts of your body feel tighter than the
rest, stretch that area longer or more often. Over time if you stretch
that area regularly, it will improve your flexibility and balance things
What's the fuss about stretching? What does it do for you?
- Stretching regularly will improve your flexibility.
- It increases your range of motion. So, you'll be able
to do exercise movements you may not have been able to do before. For
example, you might find that you can't squat properly because of tight
calf muscles. By stretching your calves regularly, you'll be able to
improve your flexibility in that area and gradually be able to do full
- Stretching reduces any muscle stiffness you might have after a hard workout.
Should You Stretch Before Exercise?
If you have some particularly tight muscles which restrict
your movements during your workout, it's beneficial to stretch them
immediately after your
general warm up.
In that case, do the stretching after you have broken a mild sweat, while your body is warm.
But, whether you do muscle stretches before the workout or not,
make sure you do it when you finish your workout as part of a cool down.
Here are the stretches for the main muscles in your body. Click on each stretch to see demonstration videos and instructions.
Back Of The Thigh (Hamstring) Stretches
Buttocks (Glute) Stretches
Front Thigh (Quad) Stretches
Hip Flexor Stretches
Inner Thigh Stretches
Lower Back Stretches
Stretches For Upper Back
Upper Arm Stretches
Of course, you're not limited to the stretches listed above. There are
stretches you can do for any part of your body. Also there are many
different positions you can hold for each stretch. Try different
variations of each positions to stretch different areas of the muscles
you might have missed.
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