What’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard an “athlete” say? I know mine & can still relive the moment clear as day! I was at a friend’s football (or soccer if prefer) tournament and when I asked him if he was gonna go stretch with his team he said: “I never stretch.” You can bet your ass five minutes later I was stretching him out. Why? Because the genius pulled his quad! This could honestly be the whole post, just stretch it’s important!
I don’t know where the mentality that stretching isn’t cool came from. Maybe that kid from your high school who said learning wasn’t cool and now workers at your local Mackers came up with that!
Stretching is the most important part of any workout, there’s a reason you start with it!
Why is stretching so important? Because it prepares your body for the tasks ahead, it prepares you to be your best. You wouldn’t go to space without a spacesuit, would you? Then don’t go to the gym without stretching. This is one of the reasons why people who do yoga tend to be in amazing physical shape, they have a strong core and limber muscles.
Here’s a great fact to throw in the face of anyone who makes fun of you for stretching! Stretching increases muscle growth! You probably think I’m lying eh? Test me on that one! Think of it like this: When you workout you create micro-tears which aid growth, when you stretch you create tears too, in the Fascia. You may or may not be scratching your pulled quad thinking what is a Fascia? Think of it like this. Your muscle is like a sausage (I promise this will make sense!)
Your muscle makes up the meat & the Fascia makes up the casing. The meat of sausage can only increase if you continue to increase the size of the casing. Grow your sausage arms by growing that Fascia!
So it’s settled you’ll actually stretch for today’s workout, so what kind of stretch are you gonna do?
There are four types of stretching. Let’s go through them together:
1. Static stretching
This is stretching in a place like when you reach for your toes & feel that deep pull in your hamstrings, this is #1 on this list because it’s the best one to get you warmed up.
2. Active stretching
This is when you do small movements, typically cardio movements like some jumping jacks to get the blood flowing before you try to pick up the heaviest bar in the room!
3. Staircase stretching
No, we aren’t stretching on the stairs! This is when you warm up by actively increasing the weight for your exercise until you get to your working weight. These warm-up sets would typically be 25% of your one-rep max. So if your working bench press weight is one plate (on each side) then warm up with the bar & work your way up. This is also a great time to use bands, I’ll usually warm up for delt flyes by starting with booty band delt flyes (these are awesome, thank me later!)
4. Cooldown stretch
Yes, we’re ending with another stretch, especially a core stretch (assuming you are doing core every workout because you want better gains.) If you don’t stretch at the end I promise you’ll be extra sore the next day!
5.Bonus! Yay more stretching!
Make sure you never try to stretch away pain, if something really hurts take the time to rest, recover & rehab. You won’t succeed in stretching it away; you’ll only make things worse.