Sometimes stretching can feel a little uncomfortable (especially if you are less flexible), but you shouldn’t really be in pain while stretching. Pain is a sign that a stretch is not good for you or is too intense, but there are also specific stretching or stretching habits that you should always avoid, whether they cause pain or not. Keep reading below for the do’s and don’ts from two certified trainers and fitness experts.
Do’s and Don’ts
Don’t: Stretch cold muscles
“Stretching helps you prevent injuries, increase range of motion, reduce muscle stiffness and reduce tension throughout the body,” said ShaNay Norvell, certified trainer and author of Stretch Your Stress Away at ShaNay. However, timing is important because stretching “cold” muscles, or muscles that have not been properly warmed up, is not a good idea.
When it comes to stretching, cold muscles are considered risky because “you can tense, pull, or tear a muscle if you stretch it without getting a warm-up,” Norvell says. She likes to compare cold muscle stretching to a frozen rubber band. “That rubber band, if pulled or pulled immediately, can break or break. However, if a rubber band is hot, it can be pulled or pulled and moved more easily. The rubber band would still have boundaries, but it would be a longer range movement warm, ”she explains.
“In any case, I would recommend that clients walk for 7 to 10 minutes on a treadmill, elliptical or stationary bike,” before stretching, says Norvell.
Do: try dynamic stretching exercises
Norvell recommends dynamic stretches, or stretches that you do on the move, at the beginning of your workout (after warm-up, of course). “These stretches are usually designed to prepare you for your movements during your workout,” says Norvell.
One of the benefits of dynamic stretches is that they are more controlled movements that “don’t force the body out of its range of motion through springy movements,” says Heather Marr, licensed trainer. Examples of dynamic stretches include arm circles, walking lunges and leg swings, Marr said.
Don’t: Do ballistic stretches
Ballistic stretches are a form of stretching that “uses rapid, jerky repetitive movements to produce a rapid, high degree of tension in the muscle,” says Marr. She doesn’t recommend ballistic stretches to most people because they can be powerful and push you beyond your own range of motion, leading to muscle or tendon injuries.
“Examples of some common ballistic stretches include bobbing up and down to touch your toes, the ballistic butterfly stretch, and the [ballistic] trunk lifter. I don’t recommend these stretches for the average person, “says Marr. How to do these stretches is essential, as both the butterfly and torso lifts can be safely done as a static motion rather than a ballistic motion.
Do: static stretches after your workout
Static stretches are stretches that you hold for a while while the muscle is stretched, Marr says. Examples of static stretches include an overhead triceps stretch, a wall biceps stretch, and a stacked-leg glute stretch.
“I would recommend [holding the stretches for] 20 to 30 seconds, “says Norvell. You should do static stretches when your body is warmed up, ideally at the end of your workout.” The end of the workout is a good time to stretch because your muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments throughout your body are warmed up and ready to move safely, ”she says.
3 stretches to avoid
While everyone is different, the stretches shown below are examples of movements that trainers advise most people to avoid due to potential pain or injury risks.
Split stretch: Even if you’ve been able to do a split in the past, Norvell doesn’t suggest jumping back in. “There are many people who have fond memories of being flexible and doing the splits easily,” she says. But just because you had that flexibility and range of motion all at once doesn’t mean you necessarily kept or will keep it. “Some people will try to get into a split to see where their flexibility is. This is still dangerous without heating up thoroughly,” Norvell says.
Straddle stretch: The same logic as for a split stretch applies to the straddle stretch. “This stretch puts the groin, hip flexors and all inner thigh muscles in position to protect themselves when your body isn’t ready. This can leave you in a worse position than when you started,” says Norvell.
Hurdler stretch: Norvell says the hurdler’s trajectory should be saved for people who are actually preparing for a hurdler race. Beyond that, she says the play could be dangerous. “I’ve seen gym members over the years or people preparing to run in the park in the hurdler position. This is usually one leg forward and one leg bent back. This is dangerous if your knee and hips are misaligned and cause severe muscle tension, ”she explains.
Norvell’s recommended stretching exercises to do in place of the above:
The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to be health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care practitioner if you have any questions about a medical condition or health goals.