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Getting Started with Stretching

By November 14, 2018Adult Fitness

Looking to take advantage of stretching in your daily routine?

Not sure how to get started or what the best practices are?

We’ve got your back 🙂

Just follow the easy steps below, and you’ll be on your way to attaining all the benefits of stretching in no time.

#1 – Determine Your Tight Muscle Groups

Tight muscle groups need to be lengthened (whereas opposing muscle groups need to be strengthened.)

Now, figuring out exactly *what* is tight can be tricky, but anyone working at a desk 40 hours a week will generally have the following needing some stretches:

– Chest
– Lats
– Hip flexors
– Calf & Achilles tendon (due to good ol’ shoes)
– Upper back / thoracic spine

Plenty of people will want to stretch their low backs because “it feels tight”, but very rarely does anyone need to stretch their backs. Think about it – when you’re sitting down all day, your low back is stretched in the rounded position. Why stretch it more?

If you’re still unsure about which muscle groups you need to work on, look into getting an FMS screening done by a certified professional. (If you’re a member at GameChanger, then you can have one of our FMS certified coaches screen you!)

#2 – Stretch for 2 Minutes

A gentle, quick stretch sure feels nice, but it doesn’t necessarily change the length of your muscles & tendons.

A real deep stretch can feel pretty intense & uncomfortable, but if you think about it, it makes sense as to why it’d be necessary.

Your muscle- & connective-tissue can take quiet the beating. Simply going about your day requires a lot of these bodily tissues. If a gentle stretch was enough to lengthen them, we’d be falling apart & getting injured over very non-strenuous & simple things.

So you really need to hold a deep stretch long enough – two minutes would be good – to be able to really get those muscles to lengthen.

#3 – Test & Repeat!

See how much your movement improves and decide whether or not to continue the stretch the next day.

For example, if you’re looking to improve the depth of your squat, and you decided you needed to stretch your calves to accomplish that, then you would want to try the following:

– Perform a few reps of squats.
– Stretch both calves for two minutes each.
– Retest the squats and see if you’ve improved your depth.
– Perform everything again the next day if you want to see more improvement.

If you’ve achieved the kind of flexibility you want, then great! You probably don’t need to continue stretching that particular muscle group so religiously. But if you’re not where you want to be yet, then keep up the stretching.

And that’s all there’s to it!

If you want to broaden your knowledge about stretching and see how you can better take advantage of it in your daily routine, join us November 20th at 7:15pm for our free Stretching Workshop here at our facility in Springfield.

To learn more and to sign up, click here!

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