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Stretching – lengthen your muscles

Posted on February 10, 2021 by Michael Boettcher

Stretching exercises maintain the flexibility of muscles and the mobility of joints, which is a prerequisite for a healthy musculoskeletal system. Stretching can also improve training performance, relieve tension and reduce stress.

An indispensable part of professional sports

That’s why stretching exercises are a must in professional sports. If the sport requires particularly explosive movements or flexibility, stretching afterwards is indispensable. It increases flexibility, reduces muscle shortening and has a positive effect on performance. Stretching should be done for at least five minutes after each fitness session to promote recovery. One-sided movement patterns and incorrect posture can also be corrected through stretching exercises.

Effects on the musculoskeletal system

In the long term, stretching primarily improves the mobility of joints and surrounding structures. Tendons and ligaments are strengthened, and muscular imbalances are corrected in the short term by lengthening shortened muscles, thus reducing tension in the muscle. Additionally, it can reduce stress and restore circulation.

In the field of physical therapy, stretching is used to reduce muscular imbalances and correct problems caused by muscle shortening, as well as speed recovery from injuries.

Stretching correctly

However, to avoid injury, some important rules should be followed when stretching:

  • Stretch dynamically before the fitness session, as the muscles are not yet warmed up and thus injuries can easily occur.
  • The movements should be performed slowly and in a controlled manner
  • It is better to do static stretches after the training session.
  • Do not forget to breathe
  • The pain should be sustainable at all times
  • Always stretch on a non-slip surface

Static and dynamic stretching

Static stretching involves trying to pull the muscle to be stretched as far as possible and holding this position for 20-30 seconds. Static stretching should never be done before a workout, as it can reduce performance and lead to injury. Static stretching exercises are also not recommended if muscle soreness is noticeable.

Dynamic stretching exercises, on the other hand, consist of gentle movements that could also be described as springy. The muscle is stretched for a few seconds, but can always contract again. This form of stretching promotes blood circulation and thus also the oxygen supply to the muscle and is therefore particularly suitable as a warm-up before the fitness session.

If you want to improve mobility and promote health through regular stretching, you should be patient in your approach. The muscles need a few attempts to stretch properly, so it’s better not to rush things.

Your Michael Boettcher