When you are performing a Stretching Exercise there is a right
way and a wrong way to do it. If you think about it, stretching is
really quite simple. I think a lot of people have difficulties when they
try to develop their own techniques.
Hey…keep it simple! Follow the tips below when you begin a stretching
routine. By doing this, you will not only be performing the stretches
properly and effectively – but you will also prevent any unnecessary
injuries. In addition to this, you will notice an increased amount of
flexibility and looseness of the muscles.
Before I get to the stretching tips, here are two common mistakes to avoid! These two improper techniques are the main reasons why people get injured during stretching routines.
- Do not bounce up and down while stretching!
- Do not stretch to the point of pain!
Stretching Exercise Tips
The Easy Stretch
- At the beginning of your stretching exercise spend 10-30 seconds in an easy stretch.
- Get to the point where you feel mild tension, relax and hold the stretch.
- This tension will subside as you continue to hold the stretch.
- If the tension doesn’t subside, ease up slightly to a more comfortable level of tension.
- This stretch reduces muscle tightness and prepares the tissues for the developmental stretch.
- DO NOT BOUNCE!
The Developmental Stretch
- Now move slightly further until you feel a mild tension once again.
- Hold the stretch there for 10-30 seconds.
- Again, the tension should diminish – if not ease back slightly.
- This stretch fine-tunes the muscles and helps increase flexibility.
- Remember, be in control of your body and no bouncing.
- Your breathing should be slow and under control.
- Exhale as you bend forward.
- Breathe slowly as you hold the stretch.
- Always breathe naturally. If you are unable to do this – then ease up on the stretch a bit.
- DO NOT HOLD YOUR BREATHE!
- To start, count the 10-30 seconds silently.
- After a while – you will perform your stretches by the way your muscles feel. You will know when it’s been 30 seconds.
The Stretch Reflex
- The stretch reflex protects your muscles during a stretching exercise.
- If the muscles are stretched too far – a nerve reflex sends a signal to the muscle telling it to contract or tighten.
- This reflex/contraction prevents the muscle from getting injured.
- Overstretching and bouncing activates the stretch reflex. This then tightens the muscle.
- So…avoid these negative movements as they are actually tightening the muscles you are trying to stretch and loosen.
- Avoid the no pain, no gain mentality.