Stretching has gotten a bad rep over the years as of late. It has almost turned into a dirty word in the strength world. In the past even I avoided stretching at all costs. It was the worse mistake I ever made. The benefits of stretching are truly amazing, having the ability to move freely is a gift we have lost over years through periods of inactivity and sitting. Many myths have been developed about stretching that mainly derive from research shared about static stretching decreasing force production in athletics. In this article I hope to shed light on stretching and why it's not such a dirty word
There is no arguing the numerous studies that have shown that static stretching before athletic activity decreases your force production. We all know that isn't a good thing. However what these studies fail to present is that there are different forms of stretching, some of which are more appropriate for certain periods of time. Static stretching shouldn't be your main form of warm up for athletic activity. Dynamic stretching has actually been shown to actually increase force production prior to athletics! Previous studies shouldn't shed a bad light on stretching, they just show what forms of stretching do not work well prior to athletic activity.
Unfortunately when one study shows something doesn't work, it quickly spreads into that something not working at all. This shouldn't be the case with stretching. Stretching has numerous benefits that can enhance your performance on the field, in the weight room, and in your everyday life.
Benefits of stretching include
- Greatly reduce risk of injury
- Eliminate back pain
- Enhance ability to learn and practice skilled movements
- Development of body awareness
- Enhance overall physical fitness
- Reduce muscular soreness
- Reduce muscular tension
- Increase balance and body symmetry
- Improve posture
- Improve mental relaxation
- Release endorphins (feel good chemicals)
If this list isn't enough to get you amped up about stretching I'm not sure what will! In my experience it has been an enormous relief for me. I was in a place where I couldn't even squat without horrible back pain, my hips were so locked up I couldn't put my socks on. Just a few consistent bouts of hip stretches a day, everyday, and I was instantly reversing the negative effects I was feeling. Stretching does work!
Stretching can help reverse the negative effects of your inactivity. It doesn't happen overnight, you spent a long time developing your tightness, you can't expect it to change overnight. Keep stretching consistently and you won't believe the effects! There are different forms of stretching which I will get into depth on in another article but they are all used with a purpose. It is just like training, you need to program the correct stretches and style of stretching at the correct times. They all work but they all have their place
If you're looking for a place to start, check out an article I did on the core 4 stretches in the Stretch To Win® program here http://www.bigbenchas.com/blog/2016/4/1/stretch-to-win-core-4-stretches
If you want to take your stretching routine further and really experience some lasting changes, please email me at email@example.com. Everyone in our online coaching program will be created a stretching routine designed to reverse your specific tightnesses and trigger points
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