We all know what stretching is and how important it is, but most of the time we do not stretch our body properly. I will be absolutely honest with you, I did not stretch properly even before or even after training or like I did but now, I can't say that it was really stretching. :) We are most of the time in a rush or too excited about our training that the time we spend with stretching is very low.
Thanks to the current situation in the world, we all slowed down, the world slowed down and we all have plenty of time to do what we normally don't do and that is my case with stretching. I was never really flexible and of course I never really did proper stretching myself. While lockdown I can't lift heavy weight like I would love to. So, I found pilates and yoga-like the best alternative and also time for a change of my training routine for a while. I fell in love with this because pilates and yoga are just amazing but also very challenging and that is even better.
You Can Include 3 Different Types of Stretching:
- you move into a position of the targeted muscle, stretch and hold for 15-60 sec, and breathe as you hold each stretch
- you move in and out of the position through a joint's full range of motion slowly or quickly but consistently with breathing
ACTIVE ISOLATED STRETCHING
- AIS is a specific stretching program developed by Aaron Matters, this type of exercise works by actively contracting the muscle opposite the targeted muscle, allowing it to relax before the stretch
- this type of stretching has a lot of benefits and is used by athletes, physiotherapist, fitness trainers, or massage therapists, but let's have a look at overall benefits in the following paragraph
BENEFITS OF STRETCHING
Helps reduce and manage stress - when you are experiencing stress, usually, your muscles are tense due to response to physical and emotional stress, stretching helps to release that tension and get more relaxed which may help to your better sleep as well
Prepares the body for exercise - stretching prior to physical activities has been shown to help prepare your muscles for the activity and also help improve your performance in an exercise
Helps maintain body posture - stretching of lower back muscles, shoulders and chest helps you keep your body in better alignment and improves your posture
Relieves pain - as well as prevent before the injury, stretching also helps to heal aches and pains
Helps blood circulation - increases blood supply to your muscles and joints, which also allows for greater nutrient transportation
Improves body flexibility - improves range of motion and better efficiency of movements
30 DAY STRETCHING CHALLENGE
GOAL? Split! Thanks to lockdown I had to find another way to do some type of activities when the gym is closed. Apart from pilates and yoga, I started to do a proper stretching routine. I was never too flexible person - I never really did a stretching routine and I was convinced that I am just UNFLEXIBLE. 🤔😄🙈
We all know those absolutely insanely flexible people from TV or social media, it is just fascinating. So I decided to work on my middle split, you would be (I was too) what progress I made in two weeks! Only splits have so many benefits (opening hips, strengthening glutes and inner thighs, conditioning core), and does not matter what sport or type of training you do - you can move more efficiently and effectively. Therefore, I create a small template for you to join me with a 30-day stretching challenge and work on your split with me!
Your task is pretty clear. Make 15-20 minutes for yourself each day (morning/evening or after a workout) and work on your split. Choose at least 5-6 exercises, perform the stretch on each side (if it is a single leg) for 30-50 seconds. See a cheat sheet below for exercises.
How To Perform Exercises Right
Relax while stretching - the more relaxed you are, the better range of movement you will be able to achieve
Stretch gently - carefully move your body into the stretch position, hold when you feel the slight tension in the muscle, hold for 30-50 seconds, and breathe into it
Keep breathing while stretching - breathe with ease, it will relax and reduce your muscular tension
Hold the stretch - as I mentioned before, hold each position for about 30-50 seconds
Focus on proper technique - while holding position, focus on maintaining correct posture, find the position where the tension occurs
Avoid pain - stretching should invoke a mild feeling of tension but not pain, never stretch beyond 'a comfortable tightness
Stay consistent - stretching is not time-consuming, you can easily include it into your routine at least 3 times a week
Have a goal - to make in fun and challenging, find a position that you are not able to do yet (for example, in my challenge we are focusing on split)
stretch before your warm-up or workout - don't stretch cold muscles
hold your breath
hold and stretch for just a few seconds
focus on just lower body stretches or upper-body stretches - stretch all body
bounce or hold painful positions
Stretching is amazing not just to prevent injuries, but you can achieve better flexibility, mobility, better performance, and also feel great and improve your well-being. Try my challenge and let me know how you feel!