Importance of stretching | Image:Unsplash
Most people ignore simple stretching before working out, but that is a rookie mistake. Adding stretching exercises into your pre-workout routine is a vital step to optimise your performance, prevent injuries, and enhance flexibility. Stretching prepares your muscles, joints, and connective tissues for the upcoming physical activity, promoting a safer and more effective workout experience.
Dynamic stretching involves controlled, active movements that mimic the motions you’ll perform during your workout. Examples include leg swings, arm circles, and high knees. The stretching helps increase blood flow, warm up your muscles, and improve joint flexibility.
Joint mobility exercises
Pay attention to joint mobility exercises to enhance the range of motion in your joints. Include movements like shoulder circles, hip circles, and ankle rolls. Improved joint mobility contributes to better overall movement during your workout.
Targeted muscle stretching
Focus on stretching specific muscle groups relevant to your workout. For example, if you’re about to engage in lower-body exercises, perform stretches that target your quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. Hold each stretch for about 15 to 30 seconds, ensuring a gentle and controlled stretch without bouncing.
Neck and shoulder stretches
Perform calf stretches to improve ankle flexibility and reduce the risk of injuries. Use a wall or a step to lean into a calf stretch, holding for an adequate duration on each leg. These stretching exercises are especially effective when you have leg day at the gym.
Warm-up aerobic activity
Include a brief aerobic warm-up, such as light jogging or jumping jacks, to gradually increase your heart rate and warm up your entire body. This helps prepare your cardiovascular system for the demands of your workout.
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