Whether you are about to start an exercise program or you are already heavily involved in one then you need to have a well structured pre and post stretching routine. The key to optimizing your level of fitness is being flexible. By being more flexible you are less likely to sustain an injury during a workout, you can improve your range of motion, and help muscles to recover faster from the workout you just put them through.
Pre-Workout Stretch: Before participating in proper stretching and warm up routines there are some things to consider before you get started. First of all, if you are about to begin a workout it is much more beneficial for you to engage in a warm up routine that involves a type of stretching known as dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretching is a movement based type of stretching. The purpose of this is to trigger your body’s neuromuscular system into reacting and firing prior to an intense bout of exercise. By doing this you are getting your body into “workout mode” before you start, thereby reducing the risks of any possible injuries such as pulled and torn muscles. Learn an effective dynamic routine and get used to implementing it before every workout.
Post-Workout Stretch: For your post-workout stretch you are better off engaging in what is called a static or holding stretch. You are probably more familiar with this type of stretch. This is where you hold the stretching position (without moving) allowing the muscle to lengthen much like a rubber band. This type of stretching is much more effective after you workout because muscles are naturally more limber and full of blood therefore making it easier for you to get the most out of stretching the muscle. This is what will help you to more rapidly recover after a workout and reduce the amount of stiffness you would normally experience after an intense workout. Train hard, but don’t forget to stretch!
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