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

  1. Hold each stretch for 20 to 30 seconds to give your muscles a chance to relax.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 out.

What's the fuss about stretching? What does it do for you?

  1. Stretching regularly will improve your flexibility.
  2. 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 squats.
  3. 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.

Ab Stretches

Back Of The Thigh (Hamstring) Stretches

Back Stretches

Buttocks (Glute) Stretches

Calf Stretches

Chest Stretches

Forearm Stretches

Front Thigh (Quad) Stretches

Hip Flexor Stretches

Inner Thigh Stretches

Lower Back Stretches

Oblique Stretches

Shoulder 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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