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How to Stretch Before and After a Workout

Stretching can be an important element to your workout routines. Keeping the muscles from being so tight can have huge benefits, and even add to your strength. More than that, it can add to your range of motion, and overall muscle health. Find out how and when to add stretching to your workout routines.

The old school belief about stretching was that before you did any movement, we should stretch our muscles. But, have you ever taken a cold rubber band and pulled on it, or stretched it? What happens? The rubber band cracks and splits. Therefore, we don’t want to stretch cold muscles. It’s best to spend at least 5 minutes walking before your workout to get the blood moving into all parts of the body, and then stretch.

When stretching, it should usually feel pretty good. It shouldn’t feel like extreme pain. If there is some slight discomfort, that is okay. I like to stretch the calves, the shoulders, the triceps, the hamstrings and the quadraceps. From a standing position with your legs about shoulder width apart, lift the arms above the head and take a deep breath in. As you exhale, drop your whole body down and release your arms to the floor. Make sure your weight is in your toes as you reach for the ground. Try to press your lower back down and keep it flat. You will get a much better stretch through your glutes and your hamstrings.

Walk your hands to your right foot and hold this for at least thirty seconds. Then, walk your hands over to your left foot. Bend your knees and place your hands on your knees. Roll yourself up slowly, one vertebrae at a time until you are standing. Repeat this stretch several times.

To stretch the arms, bring one arm across your body and grab a hold of it with your other hand. Pull your arm towards your body with your other arm. Then, grab a hold of your elbow and press your elbow up into the air. This should stretch your triceps. Do this with both arms and shake your arms out. Roll your shoulders back in a circle, then, roll them forward several times.

You are ready to start your core workout routine! After you are done working out, you should repeat some more stretching. Stretch for at least twenty minutes. At the end of your workout is the best time to gain flexibility!