Arguably one of the most important aspects of training, with among 80% of gym users is the one thing they don’t include in a programme. Whether it’s dynamic stretching before you work out or static afterwards, stretching is a key element you must not ignore.
One of the key elements of a warm up is stretching, the benefits are endless but the main reason is to avoid injury, you warm up your body which manipulates blood flow around the body thus making your muscle more elasticated and easily manipulated. This is then the key time is to stretch the muscles and prepare them for the workout. This should be done dynamically, this means to stretch while moving, for example:
- Push kicks
- High kicks
- Heel kicks
- Knee raises
- Shoulder rotation
- Pelvic twists
- Back claps
The reason you would perform this type of stretching is that it best replicates the range of movement used when you begin to exercise. Stretching after a workout can be used as just a tool to prevent aching muscles or actually to help your body improve its overall flexibility. This is done by using static stretches, for example:
- Standing shoulder and tricep stretch
- Standing calf stretch
- Standing quad pull
- Standing hamstring stretch
This should be done at the end of a workout as studies show static stretching before a work out decrease muscle strength by 10%.
These can be used as part of a stretching routine pre training or post training as they best represent the effects and feel of a deep tissue massage within the gym environment.
The foam roller works in the same way massage does by manipulating blood flow around your selected target area giving a much deeper stretch than from static or dynamic, it provides a controlled deep muscular stretch. The most common use for these is muscular fatigue to to move on muscle stores of hydrogen and lactic acid. It can also be used in injury prevention and injury rehabilitation by easing strain on tight areas.
Foam Roller routine
- Calf stretch 8 rolls
- IT band stretch 8 rolls
- Quad stretch 8 rolls
Mark Barnard, Fitness Professional – Rainham