Stretching is not a waste of time! When strengthening and toning your muscles, it’s just as important to complement your weights session with a series of stretches to maximise your results and help prevent injuries.
As stretching loosens muscles and connective tissue, you can help to lower your risk of injury when weightlifting with a few minutes of pre, during and post workout stretching. In the fitness sphere, many professionals believe that the more prepared your muscles and joints are for an activity, the more protected you will be against injury.
You will improve your flexibility
Stretch between your weightlifting sets for optimum flexibility. During the time you would normally rest between each set is a great time to stretch the specific muscle that you were working – your muscle is warmed up and will assist in increasing your range of movement.
You can improve your technique
Stretching during and after your workout prevents your muscles and joints from seizing up, improving your elasticity. This allows for better posture and technique during your weights sessions, ensuring you can undertake exercises with correct form.
You will alleviate any tight muscles
When putting in a hard weights session, you will likely feel the effects of tight, sore muscles for at least two days afterwards. Stretching when doing weights will help to alleviate any tight muscles and improve your range of movement, preventing you from hobbling around the gym or avoiding it like the plague until you’re not sore anymore.
You will optimise your recovery
Stretching can help to optimise your recovery by increasing blood flow to your muscles. This increased blood flow will help to bring nourishment to your muscles and gets rid of waste by-products in the muscle tissue. In stretching out your muscles and increasing the blood flow, you can help shorten your recovery time, especially if you have had injuries.
You will attenuate stretch reflex
Holding a stretch for a prolonged period of time habituates your stretch reflex so it reduces its signal. This helps muscles to have a fuller range of motion and is useful in bodybuilding since a proper range of motion increases the effectiveness of your workout.
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