Stretching is often seen as a more of a dancer’s, a gymnast’s or a high performance athlete’s domain. Its not uncommon to hear tell of people not doing ANY stretching at all. I love having these conversations, because there is so much opportunity for those such people to have almost OVERNIGHT drastic improvements in their training. Yes, stretching is very often though of as being a way to recover after a session, and yes it absolutely does that – but it also helps your other training attributes like strength, power, speed and endurance. Seriously – let me explain.
How it works
Here’s the really quick summary on why it’s going to help your training. The more flexibility you have through a joint – and by joint I mean all the elements like tendons, ligaments, muscles – the greater the range of motion you run that joint through. But not just that – it means that you can exert force through a greater range. More force, for more time = higher jumps, heavier squats, more efficiency in action.
Now lets apply that same principle with some cardio. As we perform endurance work (say anything towards 20 min and longer) – we start to feel the muscles tighten up with the by-products of our activity (lactic acid etc). This causes our muscles to contract, it gets harder to continue the full range of motion. The longer your muscles are, and the more efficient they are at moving through the required range – the longer you have, in greater ranges of motion. I.e, they start shortening but because they were longer to begin with, you still have a great range of motion and can maintain speed.
And yes – stretching is absolutely going to help get rid of that next day soreness. Maybe not entirely, but its going to be a hell of a lot better than it was if you hadn’t. Particularly after those big session where you’ve pushed some limits or gone for some new PB lifts.
What should you do?
It doesn’t have to be much either. 2 mins on each leg, 2 mins through the shoulders and torso and then wherever else feels fatigued. That’s 6 mins total – which is super easy to achieve, and yet most people can’t be bothered.
Try this out for size.
Triceps & Rotators
Basic Stretches – Big Results.
Give them a go after your next session – and if nothing else, feel amazing and ready for more afterwards. You won’t regret it.