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Stretching exercises

Are there best stretching exercises for the gym? Do you want to find out how to stretch properly in order to ensure there is no damage to your muscles during working out?

There's continuous press coverage of the subject of stretching exercises - but they all agree that to prevent injuries to muscles from not warming up properly, you need to know how to stretch!

Flexibility is one of the three keys areas of fitness (the others being strength and cardio fitness), so it's important to get it right. For years trainers have been telling us that the best time to stretch is before a workout, but recent research has proven that this is actually the worst option! Your muscles are not warmed up, and trying to increase your flexibility prior to exercise can actually reduce your performance.

It turns out that the best times to stretch are either at the end of your workout, as a part of your cool down, or else later in the day, when you are warmed up simply from moving around.

Increasing your flexibility has many benefits including:

  • Improved performance - the increased range of motion increases your ability to perform any given motion
  • Reduced risk of injury
  • Enhanced recovery from hard workouts
Early in the morning, your entire system is adjusting to the change from lying down inactive to being upright and moving around. People are usually quite stiff in the morning, so any flexibility work needs to be done carefully - you won't have the range of motion that you'll experience later in the day.

Morning sessions should therefore be limited to gentle movements designed to work out the kinks and get you moving more comfortable.

Developmental flexibility work, i.e. that designed to increase your range of motion, should be reserved for post workout, or in the afternoon/evening.



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