Stretching an important part of routine
Have you been guilty of skipping your cool down or your after-workout regime of stretching? Let’s talk.
Stretching is probably the most boring thing to do. Personally, I’d rather redo the entire workout than stretch for 15 minutes.
What happens when you don’t stretch though? Nothing much at all initially.
That is until you get stronger, leaner and tighter. You notice touching your toes is becoming a harder task, even scratching your back seems difficult.
That isn’t stiffness from your workout. Your new muscles, although leaner and stronger, are in fact tighter. So many problems can occur now.
For example, your hamstrings. Every day is leg day, right? Well, your hamstrings get tighter. So tight that one day you feel a pull on your lower back. You say the weights were too heavy or the dead lifts were supposed to work your back. You ignore it, continue to be a beast, but refuse to stretch before and after each session.
Boom! Your back pulls. What happened? Well, your new, strong, tight hamstrings pulled your once neutral pelvis towards them, putting strain on your back. Now you’re out of commission. Not cool.
That could have been avoided by simply stretching before and after working out. Stretching simply improves your range of motion (deeper squats in your future), and makes for a stronger, leaner more mobile individual.
What’s the point of squatting a truck yet not being able to pick up that pen you dropped?
Dynamic stretches such as leg swings (forward and side swings), walking toe touches, butt kicks and even inch worms are great dynamic stretches. These are movements from static action (ie moving whilst stretching) to warm muscles up, readying them for the session ahead.
Static stretches such as pigeon, seated toe touch, wide-legged toe touch and hurdle stretch are very good stretches to begin with.
Relax, and allow the tension to leave your body. Maybe try a yoga class — that’s less boring — but commit to caring for your body.
•Dre Hinds is a retired track and field athlete who is now a personal trainer, aerobic and yoga instructor and fitness “addict” with more than 20 years’ experience. She specialises in nutrition, weight and sprint training, operating out of HindsSight Fitness and Wellness at the Berkeley Cultural Centre. Contact her on: firstname.lastname@example.org or 599-0412. Find her on both Facebook and Instagram under @Absbydre