Ways To Increasing Flexibility
Flexibility is one of the most important factors in a safe workout. Proper flexibility will give you the opportunity to push your body to its farthest limits throughout your workout while also decreasing your chances of injury. As guys, we like to walk into the gym, throw down our bag and start hitting the weights, but it turns out my friends that the universe may just be feminine.
Take the time to listen to your body, be patient, get prepared physically and mentally for that workout. Here’re 5 very important things to keep in mind that will help you on your road to avoiding injuries and increasing flexibility.
Warm-Up: No Static
Move over Bruce Jenner and Bruce Lee – the days of grabbing your toes and holding it for a ten count are coming to a scientific close. There has been much supporting evidence that shows this type of static stretching isn’t a bad idea at the end of a workout but can actually make your more prone to injury if performed before exercising. So, go the route of dynamic stretching with full body movements like jumping jacks, squats, and push-ups. We recommend two sets with 15-20 reps of each.
Massage Those Muscles
You’ve no doubt seen the foam rollers in the stretching rooms around your gym, and for good reason, this is a great way during pre-workout to get a good dose of weight on those troubling knots and tight tissue and get you nice and loosened up before heading into your workout.
Most guys know to keep the water flowing before, during and after a good session at the gym but did you also know how much hydration plays in flexibility? When muscles are under constant stress and don’t have the proper hydration they won’t respond at their most efficient levels and can put you in a risky position for injury. Make sure to stay properly hydrated!
Full Motion Range
Whether performing pull-ups, curls, dips, squats or butterflies – there is a lot of benefits to really stretching and contracting those muscles. Focus on working through a full range of motion to bring the most flexibility to each muscle group.
We understand they are times when a short range of motion is beneficial for strength training or to isolate a particular muscle – no need to throw the short range exercises out the window – but just keep in mind the added benefits of full range exercises and incorporate into your routine where appropriate. Hey, it’s all about mixing it up and shocking the muscles in new ways.
Now that your workout is complete, this is a good time to do some of those traditional static stretches. Sit down, straighten those legs, grab those toes and count to ten. Rest for a few seconds and then repeat.
Work through a full range of stretching positions for your legs, back and arms and make sure to get a few in for your neck as well. We’ll plan on doing some future posts on recommended stretch routines.