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Why stretching before and after training is important

With ever decreasing time available each day, it can be easily forgotten or not even considered. This may be fine for most, but I am of the firm belief that muscles and tendons should be looked after before and after training.

Why before training?

Your muscles won’t respond well to sudden over exertion. This will result in injury and a good amount of time off work no doubt. No one wants that.

A good way of preventing injury and preparing yourself for training is to do some stretching.

The type of stretching I always encourage with clients is dynamic stretching. This is where you are not holding a stretch but stretching with movement. A good example of this would be the type of stretches you see footballers do before a game. The added bonus of this type of stretching is that you are also warming you muscles as you stretch them. This makes them more likely to respond better to exertion while also warming the joints and tendons attached to them. This will also help to reduce the risk of injury.

Why stretch after training?

There has been some evidence that stretching after training not only elongates the muscles, improves flexibility and mobility but can also help prevent injury the next time you train. I always use static stretching after training as the muscles will be very warm and very pliable.

So what is static stretching? It is where you stretch a muscle to the point of tension, and hold it there for around 10 – 30 seconds. If the muscle is tight, calf and hamstrings are always favourites, you can slightly increase the stretch after around 10 seconds to further loosen it. You can repeat this process once or twice for maximum effect.

Static stretching works very well for postural issues, muscle weakness, muscle stiffness, muscle imbalances and also help eliminate muscle pain such as back pain. Stretching after a workout is also very relaxing and a great way to finish your training, I do it every time, without fail!

Another great way of loosening tight muscles after a workout is to roll them using a foam roller. This has a similar effect to massaging them, without the oil!

For any tips or advice leave a comment or mail me direct and I’ll see what I can do for you.

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