Having flexible joints and being able to move through a full range of motion can help you make bigger gains at the gym and, more importantly, reduce strain or the risk of injury. It’s important not to push your body harder than is comfortable, so if you’re looking to improve and strengthen, flexibility training should be a part of that. Here are some tips.
Dynamic Stretches First, Static Stretches After
Dynamic stretches are a great way to warm up and some say that they are better for flexibility than held stretches. They will work your muscles more naturally and will move you through the range of motion of a given muscle in one go. On the other hand, after you’ve finished working out and are all warmed up, that’s a good time to hold some static stretches when you can stretch farther than before.
If your muscles are tight, one short-term help to make them more flexible is to massage them with a foam roller, your hands, or another implement. This can help loosen you up to do a workout more effectively. But remember to stretch too for long-term gains.
Listen to Your Joints
It’s tempting to stretch as far as you possibly can just to see how far you can get or to think that pushing your limits will be helpful. But in fact, pushing too hard too soon can lead to injury and strain. Some stretches also put stress on your joints, which is NOT safe. Be sure you’re only taking the stretch as far as you feel it in your muscles, but not in your joints.