The benefits of stretching are often overlooked. Many times when we think of training, we think of running every day, lifting weights, or possibly even doing cross fit. What we frequently neglect though, is that stretching is and should be a part of that training.
Muscles have the ability to do three things: contract or shorten, stretch or lengthen, and to be knotted. For optimal performance of the muscles, and ultimately you, these muscles need to be able to shorten and stretch freely. When they can’t stretch as they should, force production is lost. This means you can’t run as fast, jump quite as high, or lift quite as much. This is where the benefits of stretching come in.
By helping the muscles to stretch, natural power is regained.
Static stretching: holding a stretch for a period of time.
Dynamic stretching: stretching muscles through purposeful movement
Static stretching, or holding a stretch for a period of time before a workout, has been shown to decrease the productivity of the muscles. The latest research has shown that doing a dynamic type stretch, or warm-up, such a high knees, butt-kicks, leg swings, walking lunges, bounding, skips and other movement concentrating on stretching before a workout is more effective.
Research also shows that doing static stretching after completing your workout has a much greater benefit. At this point, it can help to relax the muscles, help move lactic acid out of the tissues, and it is the greatest time to help get the natural length back in those muscles as well.
By spending some time both before and after workouts doing some muscle stretching, dynamic before and static after, can save you from spending too much time on the sidelines.
Contact us for assistance in setting up your stretching program. Professional athletes and weekend warriors can all benefit from the creation of an individual stretching program for your sport.