Does stretching make you stronger? The simple answer is yes, but you want to know why, don’t you!
The are a couple of reasons why regular stretching helps you get stronger:
1. Stretching lengthens muscle tissue and increases flexibility, both of which allow you to perform strength building moves with greater range of movement, making the exercise more effective.
2. When you are building muscle, you are creating tiny tears in the muscles and lactic acid builds up. Stretching post-workout helps the body circulate fresh blood, feeding nutrients to these hungry muscles.
3. Post-workout stretching helps to remove the buildup of lactic acid which goes a long way in reducing post-workout soreness and delayed onset muscle soreness (so you can get back to the gym sooner!).
4. This study shows that stretching can increase your one-repetition maximum (the amount of weight you can lift one time), increase your endurance, and enhance performance.
5. Stretching helps to prevent injuries. If you’re suffering from a rotator cuff injury, for example, you won’t be able to continue your regular upper body strength training until the injury heals. It is important to take steps to reduce your risk of injury before they happen.
The most effective way to stretch pre-workout is called dynamic stretching. This kind of stretching is safer than static stretching when your muscles are still cold. It prepares the muscles for your workout by mimicking the exercises you are about to perform. An example would be doing a set of bodyweight squats before adding weight. The most effective way to stretch post-workout is static stretching because at this point your body is thoroughly warmed up and you can safely hold a stretch for 30 seconds. Just don’t go past your “edge.”
Pre- and post-workout stretching can be done in 5 minutes, so you really have no excuse. And if you’ve got more than five minutes, why not drop in to one of our weekly Yoga classes for a full-body stretch and more.