Flexibility Training Uncovered

Stretching should form part of any good training routine. It is important to warm up correctly not only to avoid injury but to allow your muscles to perform at maximum efficiency. A flexible muscle is a stronger muscle! Here are a few tips to help you create your own warm up and flexibility training routine.

To improve your flexibility and to avoid injury it is important to stretch before and after a workout. Most people realise the importance of stretching before your workout and the link to preventing injury. However few people take advantage of stretching after their workout when the muscles are warm. This is an ideal time to increase flexibility.

You should hold a stretch for longer when working on increasing your flexibility. While 20 seconds is usually fine for warming a muscle up, 40 – 90 seconds is needed for the muscle to benefit from a stretch. Hold for less and the muscle returns to its starting length.

Avoid bouncing when stretching. Slowly move your muscle into a stretched position, hold it there for the required amount of time and then slowly return it to a relaxed position. Forcing a muscle to stretch or bouncing it into position is likely to cause a strain or other damage to the muscle or joint.

Take your time, your flexibility will increase but it will take time. Increase your stretching slowly to allow your body sufficient time to adjust.

Remember to warm up and stretch all muscle groups. A lot of people focus only on the muscles that are being exercised. This can lead to injury as other muscles are often used indirectly and unexpectedly.

Try to stretch regularly, not just when you visit the gym. Your muscles will thank you for it. Irregular stretching allows the muscle to become lazy and return to its less efficient state. Make sure you keep on top of it.

Listen to your body and don’t train when you don’t feel up to it. It is not worth it as the likely outcome is injury rather than improvement. Stay close to your limits. I am not going to tell you to stay within your limits as training is all about pushing them. Just don’t push them too far!

Take enough rest after training a muscle group. I don’t recommend training the same muscle group on two consecutive days. You don’t improve when you are in the gym; it is the rest in between that allows the muscle to develop.

Aerobic training is essential to strengthen your heart. A lot of people train every other muscle in their body but forget to train this one! Try exercises like running, skipping or swimming.

Aerobic training is essential to strengthen your heart. A lot of people train every other muscle in their body but forget to train this one! Try exercises like running, skipping or swimming.

Let’s be honest, stretching is boring so take some music with you to pass the time. You can grab a low cost MP3 player with headphones to avoid disturbing the other people around you. While we are discussing music it is worth mentioning that an MP3 player can also do wonders for increasing your training intensity. I train harder when listening to music.

Try these tips out for yourself. Flexibility training is often overlooked but I promise quicker results with a little bit of time spent stretching. It should be included in your flat stomach exercises and performed regularly.

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