Stretching is a basic requirement for your workout routine. Whether you go to gyms in Chino, CA, or work out at home, it is often forgotten. It has so many benefits, not only for your muscles and joints but also for your mind.
Stretching relieves stress after a long day at work or school, and it helps to relax your muscles after being contracted all day. Good blood flow can also be linked to better brain function.
At MPower Fitness Coaching, we teach our clients that stretching also helps with balance, coordination, and posture. It can help prevent injuries during your workout or any other physical activity because it loosens your muscles before you use them, making daily activities more effortless. Another added benefit is that it will make exercising more comfortable, especially if you are starting.
Stretching after your workout is crucial because it allows your muscles to cool down more slowly, causing them to relax and also prevents injury.
But how do you stretch properly? Follow these steps for good quality stretches:
- Be sure not to bounce. Bouncing can cause tiny tears in the muscle and possibly even bigger ones.
- Stretch until you feel tension but not so far as to create pain. If it hurts, you are stretching too much!
- Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds; this is enough time for your muscles to relax and allow you to get a more effective stretch.
- If you do not feel a stretch after 30 seconds, move your body a bit further into the stretch until you start to feel a pull. This will help target the muscles even better and will help to increase blood flow which can also prevent injuries.
- Breathe! Holding your breath during stretches restricts blood flow while breathing evenly allows your muscles to relax more.
- Each stretch should be done on both sides of the body for effective stretching.
Remember that everyone is different, but these six steps will help you get better quality stretches without injuring yourself or wasting your time. Soon you will notice that your muscles are getting more flexible, and you're probably setting personal bests in every workout.
MPower Fitness Coaching also advises that you follow this sequence of stretches:
1. Calf stretch
Stand with your right foot behind your left leg, hold this position for 20 seconds. Repeat on the other side. Stretch your calves by standing on the lowest step of a stair and bending forward.
2. Quadriceps stretch
Put your right ankle in your right hand and pull it towards your behind; hold this posture for 20 seconds on each side. Try pushing both hands against your upper knee and arching the quadriceps backward as you try to maintain contact with the ground with your foot.
3. Hamstring stretch
Stand on your left leg and slowly bend forward to touch your feet; hold this position for 20 seconds. Repeat on the other side. Stretch your hamstring by bending slightly forward and to the right side as far as possible and place both hands on the knee.
4. Buttocks stretch
Sit down on the ground with your right knee towards your chest; hold this position for 20 seconds. Repeat on the other side. This stretch is suitable for all runners because it stretches hip flexors and quads used when running.
5. Inner thigh stretch
Sit on the floor with your right leg bent forward and your left leg behind you. Place both hands on the floor next to your right buttock; bend forward until you feel a stretch in the inner thigh of the rear leg. Hold this position for 20 seconds. Repeat on the other side. Stretch your inner thighs by sitting upright with a long spine and bringing one ankle over the knee.
6. Side bends
Lift your arms and bend to the right; hold this position for 20 seconds. Repeat on the left side. Hold a broomstick in front of you with both hands, then bend sideways from your waist while keeping your hips facing forward.
7. Hip stretch
Lie down on the floor and bring one leg over the body and place this foot on the floor above your opposite leg; hold this position for 20 seconds. Repeat on the other side. Stretch your hip by lying down with one leg bent and bringing it towards you with both hands placed under the knee.
8. Neck stretch
Tilt your head to look upwards, and then slowly tilt it to look back until you feel a stretch in your neck; hold this position for 20 seconds. Stretch your neck by bringing both hands behind your head and gently push them towards the ground.
9. Shoulder stretch
Take one arm over the head while keeping it still, try to touch your free arm with the working arm's elbow, hold this position for 20 seconds. Repeat on the other side. Stretch your shoulders by pulling one arm behind the back in a staircase position, then gently pressing it downwards towards the floor.
10. Chest stretch
Take both arms above your head and push them backwards as much as possible; hold this position for 20 seconds. Repeat on the other side. Stretch your chest muscles by standing upright with your hands above your head and try to bring them closer while breathing out.
11. Wrist stretch
Place one hand on top of the other, forming a letter "O" shape, gently move this hand upwards until you feel a stretch in your wrist, hold this position for 20 seconds. Repeat on the other side. Stretch your wrists by turning both palms away from your body and twist your wrists in a side-to-side motion.
12. Triceps stretch
Take your right arm and try to touch the shoulder with it, then gently push outwards till you feel a good stretch; hold this position for 20 seconds. Repeat on the other side. Stretch your triceps by standing upright, place one hand behind your head with elbows bent upwards, and try to bring them as close as possible.
13. Biceps stretch
Take both hands above your head and try to touch the opposite shoulder with each hand without bending down; hold this position for 20 seconds. Repeat on the other side. Stretch your biceps by standing upright with your shoulders straight, then bend upwards towards the ceiling with one arm at a time.
14. Ankle stretch
Place your right foot on top of the left below-knee, then try to push down till you feel a good stretch; hold this position for 20 seconds. Repeat on the other side. Stretch your ankles by standing upright and placing both hands on the wall behind you, push your body backward and try to bring it closer.
15. Groin stretch
Lift one leg up, hold the foot with both hands, push it down towards the ground till you feel a stretch in your groin, hold this position for 20 seconds, and repeat on the other side. Stretch your groin muscles by lifting one leg backward and sit on the ground by bending forward till you feel a good stretch in your inner thighs.
It's important not to skip this step and stretch before you workout at MPower Fitness, one of the best gyms in Chino, CA. This is the best way to avoid injury and helps improve your performance in various ways. If you know about these stretches and do them regularly, we can help get rid of any muscle tightness or soreness that might hold back your progress.
Let us know if there are specific areas where you feel pain when stretching after exercise; our team would love to offer advice on how to fix it up for good. What other types of exercises should people do?