Before you dive straight into crushing your workout, stretching should be number one on your to-do list.
Stretching is just as – if not more – important than the actual workout. Forgetting to stretch before your workout can lead to both minor and severe injuries. Incorporating proper stretching into your routine can improve your flexibility, posture, and coordination.
However, stretching for a minute before going into your workout probably isn’t enough to experience those benefits. Just like you wouldn’t want to practice bad form while lifting weights, you don’t want to create bad habits. So here are a few tips to give warming up the proper time and focus – as well how to improve your stretching routine:
Take your time
There’s no need to rush through your stretches. Each stretch should be held for at least 30-60 seconds. Anything less may not properly stretch the tissues enough so they’re ready to guide you through a workout. The whole routine should take around 10-20 minutes. Focus on regular breathing and be sure to hit each muscle group.
Stretch before and after
The main benefit of stretching after a workout is increasing the your circulation. The result? You’re much less sore. Doing stretches after a workout reduces muscle fatigue and decreases recovery time, so you’re ready to get back to the gym as soon as possible.
Don’t bounce while stretching
Many people fall victim to getting antsy while stretching – and end up bouncing. Bouncing while stretching can cause muscular microtears, that end up forming scar tissue. This scar tissue tightens your muscle and makes you less flexible. To avoid this, try incorporating more static movements or by placing your hands or feet on a pair of Stretch Wedges.
Although it’s hard to accomplish, you can cause harm to your muscles by overstretching. A good indicator whether you’ve pushed your limits is if you’re in pain. If you’re in pain after stretching something for too long, it’s best you take it easy or give your workout a rain check. Practice both dynamic and static stretches to prevent overstretching.
Dynamic vs. static stretching
Like we mentioned before, learning both dynamic and static stretch routines will improve your athleticism and flexibility in the long run. Dynamic stretching consists of an active warm-up, while static stretches consist of standing/lying/sitting still while manually pulling your muscles. It’s recommended that you save the static stretches for after your workout and prioritize dynamic stretches as an active warm-up.
Warm-up before stretching
Yes, you should technically ‘stretch’ before you stretch. Static stretches while your muscles are cold can increase the risk of injury. Warm-up with lower intensity-versions of your main workout to get circulation to the main muscle groups you’ll be working. However, you should still deliberately stretch outside groups, as most exercises utilize muscles from your entire body.
Utilizing props like the Stretch Wedge can maximize muscle stretch and activation in nearly every stretch and exercise you perform. Challenging your muscles and shocking them with new angles can make your routine more effective, as the science has shown. This can decrease the risk of injury all while creating an exciting spin to your routine.
Stretching is an invaluable part of any fitness regimen. Making sure that you’re stretching correctly and properly can save you from injury, so you can meet your goals faster. To make stretching even easier, the Stretch Wedge and Workout Wedges were created to give you the deepest stretch as well to improve form and muscle engagement. With their physio-engineered non-slip grip, you can stretch out any muscle without the worry of slipping or tipping. Next time you head off to your workout, grab a pair of Stretch Wedges or Workout Wedges and remember to stretch properly – or for guidance, check out over 100 Ways to Wedge.