There are many great stretches we can do before a workout. And although there are no specific stretches that we need to do all the time, some people like to have a routine that hits the whole body.
Someone will typically pick 5-6 stretches that work their lower body all the way up to their upper. However, it is important to note that we can become so accustomed to these routines that we may not even realize the stretches are no longer effectively serving their purpose.
I believe that no matter what sport or activity you are doing, you should focus on all aspects of your body to get prepared for it. Whether it’s running, sprinting, weightlifting, CrossFit, or kick boxing, you should make sure that you are fully stretched and warmed-up.
For example, sports such as running and sprinting are more focused on the lower body. For these activities it is important to incorporate lower body dynamic and active stretching along with some upper body stretches
For weightlifting, CrossFit, kick boxing, or any other sport where you are using your entire body throughout the duration of the exercise, you need to properly stretch both your upper and lower body; especially if the activity is vigorous and intense.
With products like TRUE Stretch, there are specific muscle groups illustrated in a handy placard which helps when you may not be sure what you need to stretch, you need a little guidance, or just don’t have time to think up something on your own.
True Stretch illustrates stretches for:
Based on personal experience, I like to stretch in a particular way. I namely participate in weightlifting and CrossFit, so before my workout, I will do some type of active-dynamic stretching. Active-dynamic stretching is when you run your muscles through their full range of motion without stopping and holding. After dynamic stretching comes active-static stretching.
With active-static stretching, you hold the stretch for a period of time, typically between 10-30 seconds. In these types of stretches, it is important to relax your body and really let yourself get into the stretch to feel your muscles pulling.
It’s especially important to make sure that your muscles are warmed up to perform stretches. Think of your muscles as a rubber band. The more you play with a rubber band and move it around, the easier and further it will stretch. If you instantly start stretching a cold rubber band, it’s harder to pull and more likely to break. That’s not saying that your muscles are going to snap if you are stretching cold – warming up before stretching is just to prevent any type of possible injuries such as muscle pulls and tears.
A few warm-ups to get your muscles ready for stretching include:
It’s great to stretch our entire bodies to feel warmed up before exercise or to cool down afterwards. But before exercising, we want to make sure that we are also focusing on what areas we are working on that day.
It’s good to spend time on your stretches; 15-20 minutes is plenty to get in a good stretch. If we are working our upper body, it’s a must to make sure our entire upper body is stretched and ready to go. Our chest, shoulders, and back are all part of any upper body movement we do because they all work with or against each other depending on what you’re doing. The same goes for our lower body.
TRUE Stretch is great to incorporate into any workout regimen. It doesn’t take up a lot of space and is easily accessible for all body types and ages. Another great thing about TRUE Stretch is that it has a photo-illustrated placard with 30 different stretches organized by muscle groups ranging from lower to upper body with all three planes of motion.
The stretches displayed are all based off real-life stretches that we typically do on the floor or in other uncomfortable positions. The True Stretch helps make it easier for us and our bodies to get in an awesome, effective full-body stretch.
Remember to take your time with your stretching. It’s a great way to relax your body, mind, and get ready for your day ahead. Make it fun and enjoyable; stretching should never be a chore. Properly stretching prevents injury and increases performance, blood flow, and mind/body connection. Find stretches that work for your body, and always keep trying new ones.