In the fitness industry, we talk a lot about how to achieve the results you are looking for with a good balance of cardiovascular training and strength training but sometimes we forget about the importance of mobility or stretching on a regular basis.
I will be the first to admit that this is part of being fit that I don’t practice often but have had it as a goal in my mind to try to incorporate it on a regular basis.
So what is normal exactly?
Haha – that is a very loaded question, but for the purposes of incorporating stretching practices into your daily life – it is completing 2-3 sessions a week for anywhere between 15-60 seconds each stretch. You will want to complete each stretch 2-3 times per stretch to really see the changes in your range of motion.
Seems simple right?
This is a common practice that gets overlooked or pushed to the side too often which results in decreased range of motion, injuries (ex: plantar fasciitis), bad posture and bad circulation.
When I complete consultations with members and we talk about the importance of mobility practice on a consistent basis most admit that they can tend to push that to the side. So I suggest all of our amazing classes that we offer such as yoga, pilates, BODYFLOW™, and our stretch/mobility class to help hold you more accountable. If your gym facility doesn’t offer any of these classes there are great resources on YouTube or you could simply purchase a foam roller to help with your range of motion to use either at home while watching t.v. or at the gym.
Regular stretching or mobility practice is very important for EVERYONE.
All runners, lifters whether you are a beginner or advanced, bikers, golfers, pickle ballers, young, old and in between should be incorporating this practice on a consistent basis to increase your posture, increase your range of motion, decrease your stiffness as we age, decrease our muscle tension which can lead to stress or tension headaches and help us to be the best version of ourselves. If you are dealing with an injury, delayed onset muscle soreness or you can’t hit the proper depth on a back squat the culprit is most likely that you don’t stretch enough.
Okay so now that I have harped on you enough about why it is important, how the heck can you start to put it into action?
If you need more accountability then please consider taking a class to hold you more accountable. Even professional athletes do a yoga class on a regular basis and it is amazing for your body/mind. If you are going to incorporate this on your own please make sure that you are stretching a warm muscle ALWAYS. Never stretch right after you come into the gym as a “warm-up” as this will just increase the prevalence of injury.
If you like to stretch before a heavy lifting day just make sure that you warm up your muscles first with a 5 mins walk, jog, run so that you can increase the blood flow before you stretch them out. This way your muscles are more malleable and won’t injure yourself. When you stretch make sure that you stretch only to the point of a slight pull with no bouncing. If you push it too far or you bounce during the stretch then you could cause microtears in your muscles and increase your chance of injury.
– Stretch 2-3 times per week
– Hold each stretch 2-3 times for 15-60 seconds
– Always warm up before stretching and stretch after a workout
– No bouncing
Want to learn more? Head over to our Performance Therapies blog and read our advanced article on Static Stretching. You’ll learn the difference between Static and Dynamic Stretches and get specific examples and tutorials for which stretches we recommend.