Posts Tagged ‘stretch’

A significant amount of Flexibility is important even to non-athletes.

A significant amount of Flexibility is important even to non-athletes.

In a previous post, I stated the benefits of stretching and a couple of different kinds of stretching. A helpful video was also included.

But do you know that like any part of your training, Stretching or Flexibility training should also follow the FITT principle?

Frequency – Ideally, stretching should be done everyday to maximize the benefits and improve overall flexibility. However, this does not always happen especially for busy individuals like you and me. At least include a sensible stretching routine after every workout that you do.

Intensity – A good stretch should feel good. Joints should never be stretched beyond their Range of Motion (ROM) that it becomes painful. The focus of the stretch should be to bring the joint just to a point of slight tension.

Time – As a standard for static stretching, holding a stretch for 30 seconds produces beneficial results. If you are doing a passive stretch (assisted by your personal trainer or someone else) this would be easy to do. You might need more motivation to hold the stretch for every joint for at least 30 seconds if you are stretching on your own. Stretching is usually the part of the workout that gets cut short when time is running out. A good workout design would ensure that this essential part of the training would not be left out.

Type – Mainly, you can do either Dynamic or Static stretching in your workouts. There are other kinds of ‘advanced’ stretches that you can do depending on your need, like the PNF (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation) Stretch, AIS (Active Isometric Stretch), etc. Stretching can also be done using other equipment such as elastic bands, yoga straps, foam roller, and even your towel.


Here are some tips on how to stretch properly:

  • Work within your limits. Do not try to overstretch your joints and muscles. If you are in a group exercise class such as yoga or pilates, don’t be intimidated by those who can touch their nose to their knees (it sometimes looks weird anyway). Remember that the stretch should feel good.
  • Incorporate breathing to your stretching routine. This works well especially when you’re doing the static stretching as cool down. Do long breaths, exhaling upon relaxation and then slowly inch your way to a greater ROM.
  • Do static stretching only after your muscles are warm. Muscles lengthen more easily when they are warmed up.
  • Try other kinds of stretching activities such as Pilates, yoga, and breathing classes to make your stretching more fun and interesting.

Most of us may find it relaxing yet some think it’s the boring part of their workout, but we all know that Stretching is a very important component of our training and exercise routine.

What are the benefits of Stretching or Flexibility Training?

  • Stretching or Flexibility training reduces the stress and tension in the exercising muscles.
  • Stretching can help improve posture by balancing the tensions placed on joints.
  • There are studies that prove that improved flexibility reduces the risk of injury during exercise and daily activities because the muscles are more pliable.
  • Stretching improves performance not just in sports and exercise, but most importantly in everyday activities.


Do you know that it also matters what kind of stretching you do and when?

To get the most out of your stretching routine, do Dynamic Stretching before your workout, that is, moving your limbs and joints to its full range of motion (like doing arm/hip circles, etc, or sometimes mimicking the movement of your activity or sport for a few repetitions before doing the actual movement of your activity. Dynamic Stretching will properly warm up the muscles and joints that you will be using.

Do Static Stretching after your workout — that is, holding specific stretches for each muscle group for 20-30 seconds to let your muscles regenerate. Static Stretching may be the more familiar type of stretching, but it has to be done with precaution. New studies have shown that doing static stretching before training or a competition may be detrimental to performance and can even result to injury. However, it is most beneficial when done after a strenuous activity. Hold static stretches for 20 to 30 seconds per body part for maximum results.

Stretching regularly improves flexibility and minimizes risk for injury.
Watch the video below for more information about Stretching: