Athletes all know the benefits of stretching. Stretching is an excellent way to promote comfort while exercising, ensure a full range of motion, athletic performance, and keep us safe while working out. Those who don’t stretch may have an increased risk of injury while exercising.
The science surrounding what stretches are best for various activities has evolved in recent years. Keeping up with the latest is important to your overall health and well-being.
Time To Stretch
One of the most important aspects of stretching is when you do it. Should you stretch before your workout? After your workout? What about after an injury?
Let’s take a closer look at the top stretches.
For Recovery from Injury
When recovering from an injury, stretching can be an effective method of recovery. It’s an excellent tool for physical therapy. In some cases, static stretching is required for injuries due to a lack of ability to move and decreased flexibility. In others, dynamic stretching may be acceptable.
Sportsmen know not to wait too long after an injury to start stretching to promote recovery. Stretching helps reduce the scar tissue that’s formed around the injury, which will help encourage muscle fibers to grow on their own.
Your medical professional gives you specific directions. Athletes generally follow the guidelines that recovery stretches can begin after the inflammation and swelling around the injury have subsided.
For Recovery from Soreness
Stretching is also an effective tool when recovering from athletic soreness and muscle soreness. Those who are conditioning, weight training, or experience soreness from the gym use stretching to promote recovery.
Stretching helps the body rebuild its major muscle groups, tendons, and ligaments after your workout. This is essential for recovery and for maximizing time spent in exercise and fitness. Stretching for maximum recovery should be done before working out, after working out, and on a rest day.
Stretching is also great to fight off soreness. One of the most common pain-related complaints is in the lower back. Stretching is all interconnected: Lower-back pain isn’t only solved by stretching the lower back. Doing calf stretches to soothe and strengthen the hamstrings leads to decreased lower-back pain.
For Better Performance Results
The most vital time to stretch for results in athletic performance and working out is before and after you exercise. Stretching before exercise helps reduce the number of tears the muscle fibers experience while working out. It’s no secret that this leads to better results during workouts and faster recovery.
Athletes know that stretching is not the same as warming up. Warming up is important as this turns cool muscles into warm muscles that are less likely to get injured. Warm-up by getting the blood flowing before a stretch session and before you workout.
Top Stretches for Sportsmen
No matter when you stretch, stretching correctly is vital to maximizing results and recovery. According to professional trainers and other sports professionals, dynamic stretches have proven to be more effective and better for warming up than static stretches.
Dynamic muscle contraction helps improve athletic performance and even increase strength while exercising. Injured athletes often use static stretches to promote recovery.
Here are some of the best dynamic stretches to try for the ultimate payoff:
The active hang stretch requires a pull-up bar or access to a rig with a pole you can reach. This stretch is not dynamic, but it is effective for recovery and results as it helps stretch the entire body.
Simply grab a pull-up bar and hang onto it. With your palms facing forward, lift your feet up off the ground. As you hang, your arms and shoulders relax and rise up. YHang in this position or pull yourself up so that your shoulders move downward. Relax again and repeat this movement.
Athletic men know that it’s normal to experience some shoulder-related aches and pains after exercise, especially if it's been a while between sessions. The shoulder is involved in all sorts of lifting and bodyweight exercises, so it’s no wonder it can get sore after a while.
To stretch out your shoulder, follow these steps:
Stand straight up and hold your left arm across your chest. Your right arm should press your left arm into your chest to deepen the stretch through your upper body.
Hold this stretch for ten seconds. Switch arms so your right arm is across your chest and your left arm is pressing it into your body.
Hold this position for ten seconds and repeat.
If you’re sitting on a mat, execute this loved shoulder stretch:
While sitting on a mat, lean back so that your body is resting on your arms.
Push the trunk of your body forward and extend your arms out behind you to feel a deep stretch in your shoulders.
Hold for ten to 15 seconds.
Perform these stretches before your workouts for maximum results and recovery from tension and soreness.
Stretching your pectoral muscles helps lengthen the chest muscles. This promotes comfort and strength, which also shortens recovery and creates muscle definition.
Here are steps to stretching your chest muscles:
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and bring your arms out to your side.
Lift your arms into a T-pose. Strengthen your core for balance and bend your knees in this position.
Swing your arms as far backward as you can and then swing them in front of you so that they crisscross. See how far you can swing them toward the other side of your body.
Repeat these movements for about 30 seconds.
We all know bicycle kicks are a top core workout to strengthen the abdominal muscles and to stretch a sore back.
The perfect bicycle kick:
Lay down on your back using a yoga mat for your surface or a carpeted floor.
Lift your knees into the air so that your legs are bent at a 90-degree angle. Next, extend the left leg so that it’s in a straight line and keep the right leg bent in the air.
Tighten the abdominal muscles in your stomach and bend the pelvis up slightly.
Hold this position for about five seconds and move your body so that the other leg is extended.
Hold this position for five seconds. Repeat a few times on each leg.
You can also do this stretch standing up. Simply bring your right knee to your chest and hold, and then bring the left knee up to your chest and hold. This variation also helps stretch your back muscles.
Do these stretches before your workout, after your workout, and on your rest days for a great workout regimen.
A dynamic technique is ideal for stretching a large variety of muscle groups effectively.
Grab that water bottle by your side and take a swig. Staying hydrated is essential to helping your body function the way it’s supposed to. Athletic men know that sipping throughout the day is key to improving personal bests.
It’s also important to make sure the clothing you wear while exercising, moving, and stretching is able to stretch with you. Whether you like to wear joggers, shorts, or hoodies while working out, Olivers is here to support you.
Stretching is a vital component to protect and power your workouts.