Stretching is critical to any fitness routine. It is important in order to increase flexibility, which is really the mobility of your joints. Increased flexibility increases your range of motion by elongating your muscle fibers. Simply put, during this elongation the fibers stop overlapping, causing the body to counteract this lack of overlap by synthesizing more proteins and producing more sarcomere.
Consequently, the overlap is being recreated by the body. Increased overlap equates to increased force. And force, as we know, is the driving component behind weight training. So, the more flexible you become, the more force potential you have, the more muscle you can build.
Now the question becomes, how do we stretch to increase flexibility?
Static Active Stretching – Come slowly into the stretch to where your range of motion stops, and hold the stretch for at least 20 seconds.
Static Passive Stretching – Your personal trainer stretches you to the end of your range of motion, and holds you in the stretch for at least 20 seconds.
Please note, do not bounce or suddenly move your body when stretching. You may injure yourself.
Stretching with movement in a controlled manner within your range of motion. An example of dynamic stretching would be arm circles. Movements should be rhythmic.
Your personal trainer will provide resistance in your stretch. You contract your muscle before stretching it, and in doing so, the stretch reflex is inhibited. This type of stretching causes the muscles being stretched to become stronger within their maximum ranges of motion.
Stretching should be performed before and after every workout. Some clients even say that's the best part of the workout - it just feels great to stretch after a long, hard workout. Email me for some tips on stretching, and other fitness information