Stretching is very useful for the harmonious development of the body, it should not be neglected in training. Stretching helps to get rid of stiffness and wooden muscles. Stretching makes the joints more mobile, and the whole body becomes more flexible and mobile.
12 Benefits of Stretching for the Body
- Reduces muscle tension;
- Extends the range of mobility in the joints;
- Helps to avoid injuries;
- Increases muscle strength;
- Improves coordination of movements;
- Accelerates blood circulation in various parts of the body;
- Improves the body’s energy production processes;
- Increases muscle fatigue threshold and endurance;
- Increases efficiency in daily activities, as well as in sports and other types of physical activity;
- Corrects posture;
- Provides mental relaxation;
- Finally, brings pleasure and a feeling of lightness throughout the body.
Differences between static and dynamic stretching
Static stretching (performed after training) is carried out without movement by smooth muscle stretching, while dynamic stretching (before training) involves exercises. In this article, you will learn more about the differences between the two types of stretching.
Things to remember
Dynamic stretching is a practical exercise that mimics your workout. However, if you experience pain during brief moments of muscle strain, you should immediately stop the workout and consult a doctor.
A 5-10 minute warm-up is necessary before starting any workout. A proper warm-up helps prepare the body for any physical activity. It prepares your muscles for increased workload during exercise. A warm-up may include static or dynamic stretching exercises or a combination of both. However, many people do not know the difference between static and dynamic exercises, and, as a rule, use them as synonyms, which is fundamentally wrong.
The technique of performing stretching
- Static stretching is essentially a static exercise. It is aimed only at muscle strain without the participation of movement. In simple words, this form of stretching does not involve any sudden movements;
- Dynamic stretching is a combination of stretching with movement; we are talking about exercises and a slow increase in the amplitude and speed of movement to stretch the muscles. Dynamic movements are aimed at using the full amplitude of muscle movement without exceeding the normal anatomical limit.
Time and duration
- Static stretching is usually performed after exercise, immediately after training. Static stretching postures must be held for about 30 seconds, with an emphasis on muscle stretching;
- Dynamic stretching is performed before starting a workout. Dynamic stretching is essentially a motor workout with little emphasis on muscle stretching. Thus, the stretching lasts approximately 1-2 seconds.
- Static stretching exercises after a workout can really be useful, as they allow your muscles to relax, and, in addition, help improve their flexibility. Muscles tend to contract during exercise. Static stretching allows your muscles to recover to their original length, and also relieves muscle pain and cramping, which are common after a workout;
- Dynamic stretching simulates the movements that you will perform. It improves blood flow in the muscles, making you more adapted to the workout of your choice. Warm-up in combination with dynamic stretching includes not only warming up the muscles but also working out those muscles that you pay special attention to. For example, a warm-up for running includes leg raises, brisk walking, jogging, and jumping. All this helps to improve the results of your workout.
One usually experiences muscle tension before starting any regular workout. However, this condition can be alleviated with the help of preliminary exercises for dynamic stretching and warm-up, as this helps to relax tense muscles. In short, this form of warm-up prepares the muscles for stress and tension from training.
- Performing static stretching exercises as the only activity can have a negative impact on your athletic performance. Studies have also shown that warming up, which consists of only static stretching, can reduce maximum muscle performance. Muscle fibers tend to tear slightly when static stretching is performed before training. This can weaken muscles and adversely affect results. So, a static stretch before training can increase the chances of getting injured during training;
- During dynamic stretching, the speed and intensity of movements to achieve full range of motion increases gradually, so there is absolutely no risk of injury. In fact, dynamic stretching protects your body from damage during exercise. In general, dynamic stretching is considered perfect for warming up muscles. Thus, instead of focusing only on static stretching, you should include dynamic in your workout to get the most out of it.
Major mistakes during stretching
- Waiting for too fast results. Some people are flexible enough by nature, while most require quite a long time to develop muscle elasticity. For example, girls want to learn how to sit on the twine. They are often in a hurry and allow sudden movements, which leads to injury. When working on flexibility, be patient. It is important to carefully approach stretching so as not to harm yourself. It is advisable to perform exercises under the supervision of a trainer;
- Stretching too often or too rarely. Muscles need time to recover, so stretching too often does not make sense and is simply traumatic. Stretching from time to time is also useless. The systematic nature of the activity is important;
- The load on the ligaments and joints. It happens that you stretch other tissues along with the muscles, which can lead to disastrous consequences. To prevent this, bend your knees slightly when stretching the muscles of the legs – this way you will reduce the load on the ligaments and joints. When working on transverse twine, twist the socks up so as not to overload the ankle;
- Asymmetric work. To maintain body balance, it is necessary to stretch the opposite muscles. That is, by pulling the left leg, do not forget about the right one. As we have already mentioned, stretching not only stretches the muscles, but also helps relieve fatigue, pain and nervous tension. Stretching exercises are very helpful for office workers. A long stay in the same position leads to unpleasant sensations in the muscles due to stagnation of blood.
Important stretching tips
- Always warm up before stretching. But do not stretch your cold muscles! Stretching without a preliminary warm-up increases the risk of injury. Think of your muscles as if they were made of rubber. Heated rubber is easily stretched, and cold rubber can break during stretching. The best time for stretching is after a warm-up or at the end of a workout. Do not block your joints in the extreme position while stretching, keep your legs slightly bent at the knees, this will avoid undue stress in them.
- Do not hold your breath while exercising. Try to breathe normally, through your mouth or nose. This will help to make the stretching process relaxing.
- Do not rush. Long, shallow stretching reduces unwanted muscle stiffness and tension.
- Do not compare yourself with others. Each person has his own degree of flexibility. When stretching like a gymnast, you run the risk of overworking and getting hurt.
- Watch the intensity, exercise, avoid strong and sharp movements. Strong influences do not allow your muscles to relax and adapt to a new position. On the contrary, the muscles begin to contract, and the painful sensations multiply. Do not stretch until you feel pain. If you feel pain, you need to stop right there.