Stretching Exercises


Stretching Before Exercising

Stretching Before Exercising

Stretching Before Exercising

Physical fitness is the new trend with everyone, whether young or old, is getting more and more conscious about their health and physical appearance. Therefore, it has become greatly important to be aware about the right exercises that suits you best to ensure physical fitness. It's doesn't follow the "one-size fits all" rule. People are trying out different exercises and workout routines to see what fits them best. Some people have their preferences inclined towards yoga and meditation while other prefer muscle building exercises. Pilates and muscle training are also very much liked by people of different age groups.

No matter what your normal workout routine looks like, it must not have any sort of adverse effects on your health. You should make sure that you are not compromising with your long term health for the short term fitness. The training regime should be well researched and free of any doubts.

But before starting the workout, it's necessary to warm up the muscles so that they loosen up a bit. In fact, it is the general practice among fitness enthusiasts to stretch before exercising. Therefore you must do it too. It will make sure that no undue pressure is put on your muscles. It ensures that you don't pull a muscle or put too much strain on them. It also reduces chances of ligament tear or sprain. Hence, it's a general tendency of various fitness gurus to advice their followers to do stretching before indulging in exercises. But stretching must never be done when the muscles are cold as it will do more harm to them than good. It should only be done when the muscles are warm. Doing so will increase the blood flow and oxygen supply.

Stretching before exercising have several benefits. It will not only increase your flexibility but it is also a common belief that it reduces the chance of injury. Even though there are no concrete evidence of that statement being true, it is still more beneficial to stretch before exercising than not. As a matter of fact, even if you don't have a proper workout session planned for youself, you can try out certain stretches to gain some flexibility and eliminate rigidity after long work hours. They will undoubtedly help with the sore muscles, elevate the tension and give you some relief.

So here we are with some of the stretching techniques you can adopt in your fitness routine. You can try and choose the best suited ones for yourself.

  1. Dynamic Stretching

It is a common stretching technique recommended to be performed before a workout session. It involves doing controlled movements and then gradually bringing the muscle to their maximum motion range. Some of the dynamic stretches include:

    • Lunge with a Twist.
    • Knee to Chest.
    • High Kicks.
    • Hip Stretch With A Twist.
    • T-Push-Ups.
    • Jump Squats
    • Jump Lunges
  1. Static Stretching

Static stretching is one of the basic types of stretching that people generally know about and do on quite regular basis. In this, the muscles or group of muscles are stretched to their limits and then the stretch is held for a period of time. It is adviced to people to keep the static stretches to less than 60 seconds. Few examples of static stretching can be as follows:

    • Overhead triceps stretch
    • Biceps stretch
    • Cobra Pose
    • Seated butterfly stretch
    • Head-to-knee forward bend
  1. Active Stretching

Active stretching technique is somewhat similar to static stretching. It involves using the strength of an agonist muscle to hold the body in such a position that stretches the antagonist muscle. You can maintain the position for some time. Active stretches include the following:

    • Active Pigeon
    • Plié Reach
    • Low Lunge
    • Take a Bow
    • Wrap Around
    • Down-Dog Extension
  1. Passive Stretching

Passive stretching also relates a bit to static stretching but there are a few key differences between the two. It is also known as relaxed stretching as it aims at relaxing the muscles. In this type of stretching, a part of your body, prop or a partner helps you in maintaining or holding the stretching position. It helps in loosening up the muscle and increasing the flexibility of the individual. Examples of passive stretching are:

    • Doorway stretch
    • Standing quadriceps stretch
    • Supine single leg stretch
    • Quadriceps stretch
  1. Ballistic Stretching

In ballistic stretching, the momentum of a body is used by an individual to force a part of body beyond it's normal range of motion or expansion. You can do it by bouncing in and out of positions. It includes the following stretches:

    • Hamstrings stretches
    • Lower back/hamstrings stretches
    • Chest stretches
  1. Isometric Stretching

Often said to be more effective and therefore prefered by several health enthusiasts in comparison to active and passive stretching, isometric stretching is the first choice of many people. It involves using the resistance of different muscle groups and isometric muscle contraction of the involved muscles. It's example can be:

    • Plank
    • Side bridge
    • Wall sit
    • Chair pose
    • Tree pose
  1. PNF Stretching

PNF means Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation. It isn't a type of stretching in itself. But it uses a combination of isometric and passive stretching which results in maximum static flexibility of the muscles. These are generally performed by the professional because it is quite complex and needs the help of a partner to provide resistance and help in maintaining the stretch for a period of time. It includes the following stretches:

    • Core Strengthening Turtle Pose.
    • Core Strengthening Single Knee to Chest.
    • 2 Leg Squats.
    • Muscle stretch.

By including 5 to 10 minutes of stretching into your daily workout, you can improve your posture, increase the range of your motion and ease your mind. You can always benefit from a regular stretching routine.

Are there any other stretching exercises that you feel should be included in the routine?

Let us know in the comments!