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When should I stretch?

Whether we are a professional athlete, a school athlete working out at Sports Reality, or armchair athlete, when many of us wake up we do a quick, natural stretch. Nothing strenuous. Does not take more than a few seconds. This is our body’s way of getting ready to get the day going and to wake the muscles up. But to do a more extensive stretching routine it is important to make sure our muscles are ready to be stretched in the first place. If we stretch before our muscles are warmed-up we risk over-stretching and injury! It is important to keep in mind that our muscles and tendons need to be ready to be stretched before reaching down to our toes.

Once your body is warmed up and you are ready to stretch, a non-strenuous static stretching routine is best to do before you move on to more-intense training. But what is Static stretching? Static stretching is when you hold a stretching position between 10 and 20 seconds. This is easy and is the most-familiar type of stretching for many of us. We probably did this before PE class back when we were in school. It is best to stretch each muscle group a few times until we feel like we are ready to go. A tight muscle is a good way to injure yourself. This is why when we have new athletes come to Sports Reality we have them warm up to engage all the muscles and muscle groups needed for their free evaluation!
Once you completed your strenuous (or non-strenuous) activity for which you stretched to begin with, are you done? No.
Stretching after a workout is a great way to improve your flexibility even more. Because your muscles are as warm as they’ll be after a workout, they are the most-pliable they’re going to get as they are. So if you can take a few minutes to stretch after your workout this can really improve your flexibility because you are now stretching warm muscles beyond where they have been stretched so far—it’s like doing extra credit after you’ve aced a test. Here at Sports Reality we understand this and incorporate a stretching session into the final few minutes of our heavy workouts.

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