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Friday, October 26, 2012


Have you, an advance resistance training athlete, realized that your body has become tighter as you sum up more years of training and get older? Well even you beginners to intermediate weightlifters, do you stretch before, during or after your workouts? Does anyone know the importance of stretching?

First of all what is the difference between Flexibility and stretching? Well flexibility is the distance that a joint can extend for example, if you touch your feet or the floor with the palm of your hands, the muscles of your hip joint is flexible, but if you have to make an effort to touch your toes and feel all the muscles behind your legs when you do it, you are stretching. Stretching is the method in which you gain Flexibility.

So what type of stretching is best for resistance training? There are two types of stretching that you see used for resistance training. Static stretching is how much a joint and its surrounding muscles can be moved during a movement such as reaching both arms above your head when you wake up. And dynamic stretching is the stretching done while in movement, such as those done by runners before a marathon, such as the swinging of legs. So which one is the best? Generally dynamic stretching should be done by people who know what they are doing. The problem with dynamic stretching is that if you don’t know what you are doing you might go beyond your own limits and strain the muscle you are stretching, because most of the stretching that is done is the active stretching (while in movement) or ballistic stretching (consists of bouncing). And if you haven’t gone beyond your limits before you hit the weights, and while doing your program you use the full Range of Motion (ROM) you can seriously injure yourself when doing an exercise. So the indicated type of stretching for resistance training is the Static stretching, and depending on the person even the active (not using an outside resistance) would be more appropriate, especially if you are recovering from an injury or have some debilitating condition that doesn’t permit the full extension or movement of a joint. Static passive, stretching, is probably the most appropriate for beginners, intermediates or advance weightlifters for resistance training.

When should it be done? When setting up your resistance training program, time for stretching should be done according to the goals you aim for. Stretching before strength training is not indicated because according to a study published in 2007 by the Sports Medicine Journal (The Effects of Stretching on Strength Performance) there is reduced sensibility of the muscle, tendon and joint receptors before strength training, and neuromotor responses are delayed immediately following stretching exercises which means for strength training it reduces your strength, then it is best done after. But if your goal is a healthy lifestyle, weight loss, or hypertrophy, there is no reason why you shouldn’t stretch before, during and/or after training. Studies have not come to a conclusion whether stretching before or after sports training is better, and for hypertrophy or just for every day weight training, stretching in between sets increases hypertrophy, and after a workout maintains or increases flexibility.
So those of you who are bouncing around, moving arms and legs while in movement, or not even doing any stretches at all, it might be time for you to think of taking an extra 10 minutes, and start, because it also might be one of the reasons why you haven’t seen results and are becoming stiffs by the day. And remember if you think just because you have big muscles you don’t have to be flexible, well you’re stereo typical musclehead!!!!

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