When it comes to your training program, are you quick to do cardio first, or do you go straight for the weights? Whichever you do first, there’s a good chance you’re missing something: stretching. Many lifters just don’t take the time to stretch. Maybe they don’t see how it helps, or maybe they just want to get to their routine. Either way, if you don’t stretch, you’re missing some big benefits. The truth is stretching can help you experience better results. With that in mind, the question is, do you stretch? Here’s 4 reasons why you should be!
Two Types Of Stretching
For starters, you should understand the two main types of stretches:
- Static Stretching - This is stretching without moving the body. You’d stretch, hold, and release.
- Dynamic Stretching - This is a kind of stretching you may not be as familiar with. It's a series of “functional” movements that prime your body for your upcoming workout.
More and more, dynamic stretching is suggested over static stretching as the best way to start a warmup. That's because research suggests that holding intense static stretches for longer than 60 seconds and going right into weight lifting might limit power and strength. (1)
Therefore, try dynamic stretching first and then use static stretching. Also, you should be stretching as part of your cool-down and recovery period.
Top 4 Reasons Why You Should Stretch
Reason # 1 - Stretching Helps Increase Your Range Of Motion
When you stretch, you're improving your overall range of motion. That means you will get more out of any exercise you do. If you are tight when you begin your workout, you might not be able to move through the complete range of motion of your exercise. That means your results are not what they could be. Yet, if you warm up first and include stretching, you can perform a complete rep and experience the full benefits of the exercise.
Reason # 2 - Stretching Can Make You More Aware Of Your Body
Stretching also improves body awareness. That’s because when you stretch, you have to focus on the specific area you are stretching. This also has a huge side benefit. It helps your ability to achieve a mind-muscle connection, which is critically important to an effective workout.
Reason # 3 - Stretching Eases DOMS
You know about delayed onset muscle soreness. DOMS hits you the next day or so, and it can be painful. There’s some good news - stretching can help ease the pain and stiffness of DOMS. That means you can hit the gym a little sooner.
Reason # 4 - Stretching Helps Prevent Injuries
Finally, stretching helps prevent injuries. Lack of flexibility due to lack of stretching can lead to muscle strains or tears. That can leave you sitting on the sidelines for weeks or even months.
What About Dynamic Stretching?
As mentioned, dynamic stretching relies on functional movements. They activate your nervous system, increase body temperature and improve your range of motion. Plus, they prepare your joints and muscles for your workout.
When you warm up, you begin with movements such as jump rope or jumping jacks. You would then perform a movement for each part of the body.
For example, here’s how a dynamic warm-up might look:
- Knee Hugs
- Knee Pulls
- Kneeling Hip Circles
- Bodyweight Squats
- Shoulder Back & Front Raise
- Forearm & Grip Stretch
- Wrist Stretch
Follow with specific static stretches for the muscle groups you plan to work.
Dynamic warm-ups set you up for a great workout. Stretching to stay limber helps you get more from your exercises and helps keep you injury free. While you’re getting ready for your next workout, don‘t forget your 5% Nutrition supplements! Go with 5150 and Full As F*ck for your pre-workout. No doubt you began your day with All Day You May - did you stick a serving in the freezer to enjoy as an intra-workout? Don’t forget your post-workout shake. Maybe Real Carbs and Egg White Crystals! Remember to drink your shake immediately after your last set. Stretching, dynamic warm-ups, and the innovation of 5% Nutrition - what a great combination!
- McHugh MP, Cosgrave CH. To stretch or not to stretch: the role of stretching in injury prevention and performance. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2010 Apr;20(2):169–81. PubMed #20030776 ❐