Why Do We Stretch Our Muscles ?

You must always include stretching in your workout regularly as part of your running routine, let alone your marathon training program. How we stretch, why we stretch, and when we stretch are the keys to making stretching work for you. I will be talking about 2 types to stretching (dynamic and static stretching)

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Stretching Before the Run
The biggest misconceptions about exercise and running is that one must do static stretching before you run. In fact, the opposite is the case. You should jog for 5 or 10 minutes before you start stretching to warm those muscles up and to get blood flowing.

Make Stretching After the Run as Part of the Run
A workout isn’t over until you stretch thoroughly as part of your cool down immediately after the run. Your legs will be most receptive to the benefits of stretching immediately after you run. If you wait for 30 to 40 minutes later after your fatigued and tight muscles have cooled down, especially after long or fast-paced workouts, this will increase the chance of injury. So have a gentle stretch while your muscles are still warm.
Stretching offers many benefits

  • Relaxation
  • Decreases the possibility of causing a muscular injury
  • Helps prevents muscular aches, pains, and cramping
  • Reduces the possibility of muscular soreness or fatigue over the next few days
  • Increases the muscles efficiency such as your overall speed, stamina, and form. Your muscles are being enhance to contract more powerful. Strides are also slightly lengthen.

So what kind of stretching do we need to do? And When?

Dynamic Stretching

E.g. of some dynamic stretching, stretches such as arms circles, hips circles, high knees, walking lunges, and butt kicks to activate the muscle groups used in running. During dynamic stretching, you’re constantly moving, so it provides a cardio warm-up.

Not only will you reduce your risk of injury, dynamic stretching can help improve athletic performance. It enhances muscle performance, power output, strength, endurance, agility, and anaerobic capacity, whereas static stretching before a workout will do the opposite.

Few reasons that dynamic stretching should be basics warm-up routine

  • It improves your range of motion.
  • It activates muscles you will use during your workout. E.g. a lunge is a dynamic stretching exercise that engages your hips and legs. Whether you are doing weighted lunges in the gym or lunging for a run, the muscles involved have already been engaged during your warm-up.
  • Warming up in motion enhances muscular performance and power. Studies show that this kind of stretching before a workout can help you lift more weight and increase overall athletic performance compared to no stretching or static stretching. If you are trying to get stronger, build more muscle, or simply run faster, a dynamic warm-up routine should be your first choice before your workout.
  • It improves your body awareness. If you don’t warm-up and hop into a run, it may take a while for your body to perform optimally.

Here are some Dynamic Stretching method.

 

Static Stretchingstretching-814227_1920

Traditionally we used to do static stretches before a workout, which are held for around 30 seconds in the same position.

 

Static stretches like these focus more on relaxing the muscle and promoting flexibility, and should be done at the end of your runs. Static stretching before your workout may lead to decreased athletic performance and have negative effects on strength, power, and explosive performance and should be avoided altogether.

 

Static stretch basics:

  • Hold and control the stretch for around 30 seconds.
  • Stretch the muscle to the point of its greatest range of motion, but do not overextend. You should feel very minimal tightness or discomfort but not pain.
  • If you stretch one leg, make sure to stretch the other leg as well.
  • Stretch all the major leg muscle groups such as calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, groin, hip flexors.
  • Don’t overstretch an injured area as this may cause additional damage.
  • Never bounce when stretching. This increases your chance of injury. If you bounce on your stretch then it would become another type of stretching called ballistic stretching.

Here are some Static Stretching method.

 

SUMMARY

Include a dynamic stretches before a workout, which can prepare your muscles and even improve athletic performance. Lastly include static stretches after your workout.

 

If you have any comments or question, do drop me a comment below.

 

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