Static stretching exercises are as important as your training sessions, and is only performed post-workout (optimally on rest days). For pre-workout ‘stretching’, you should follow the dynamic warmup exercises routine.
Do at least 2 stretching sessions per week (on rest days).
Benefits of Stretching
- Increased strength and performance
- Decreased risk of injury
- Joint mobility, flexibility and increased range of motion
- Longevity and youthfulfulness (no stretching = joint degeneration)
- Improved posture
How to Stretch
- Set a specific time window for your session
- Be guided by the feel of the stretch
- Relax & easy into the tension
- Breathe easily – breathing is key to relax the mind and nervous system
- Never bounce in and out of tension repeatedly
The Stretching Routine (10 Muscles)
Massage your muscles in the end
Massage your stretched muscles and take a nice warm shower in the end of your muscle stretching session.
How Long Should You Stretch
A few minutes per muscle.
I use the GymBoss interval training stop-timer, so I can focus on the stretch rather than the watch.
You can rotate throughout muscles stretches, instead of waiting for a muscle to relax.
Put more emphasize on painful, inflexible areas.
Work Your Weak-Spots
Ever since I was a kid, I had trouble with flexibility. I was performing well in sports, but the stretching sessions were killing me. I decided that I’m not a flexible person, so I avoided investing my time in stretching exercises for most of my life.
When I got started with strength training, I was having a lower back pain while squatting and the reason was that I was rounding my back when descending.
I tried focusing on keeping the arch in my back, but just couldn’t do it, even with an empty bar. The trainer in my gym explained that my hamstrings are too contracted and inflexible, and told me to quit squatting for 2 weeks and work every day on my hamstring stretch.
Lo and behold within 2 weeks, my hamstring stretch range of motion doubled, my lower back pain was eliminated, and I was able to easily keep a fully arched back throughout the entire squat movement.
Since then, I do at least 2 stretching sessions per week. (30 minutes each) and probably will do so for the rest of my life.e.
I’ve realized that stretching could be just as important, if not more important than strength training itself.
Because with short, contracted muscles you have poor range of motion, poor technique, and you’re just making yourself prone to injuries.
Find your weak spots, and put more emphasize on those areas. But of course stretch all muscles.
Remember: everyone can become and should be flexible.
Bonus – Joint Mobility Routine
Joints are also important for maximal range of motion, flexibility and injury risk minimization.
Here is a quick 10-minute joint mobility routine you can do before the main stretching routine.
The Joint Mobility Routine
- Shoulder circles. Exhale on way forward, switch directions every 10-15 reps
- Elbow circles – with maximally straightening hand. (outwards inwards)
- Wrist rotations – Interlace fingers and put wrists through all possible motions
- Ankle circles – place toe on ground and try drawing circle with your ankles with maximal range of motion.
- Knee circles – place hands above knee (not on kneecaps), and draw small circles inside and out. (10-15 reps each direction) – don’t go for maximal range of motion as knees were designed for minimal range of motion. Forcing it beyond is asking for trouble.
- Hulla Hoop – slow paced circle drawing with hips is great for lower back
- Upwards dog and downwards facing dog
See you on the inside,