Both flexibility training and strength training are necessary to achieve overall fitness. As a matter of fact, one of the best times to stretch is right after a resistance exercise. Static stretching of pre-fatigued muscles, done immediately after the movement that created the fatigue, increases the effectiveness of the stretch. A fatigued muscle is inhibited from contracting as hard, and thus limiting the stretch reflex. This allows an even further elongation of the muscle and surrounding tissue than would have been possible without the muscle being in a state of pre-fatigue. Immediately stretching a muscle after intense exercise also promotes muscular growth and reduces post workout soreness. Stretching hastens the delivery oxygen and other nutrients, and while speeding up the removal of lactic acid, and other waste products.
- The flexibility segment of your program should be done when the body is warm, preferably at the end of your workout.
- Once the body is warmed up, stretching exercises can be intermixed with strength moves to save time.
- Stretches should be held from 15 to 30 seconds. A sum total of at least 30 seconds is recommended to achieve any kind of permanent stretch, regardless of the number of sets performed.
- Breathe out when going into the stretch, and inhale when coming out of it. Use the breath as a way to relax, and go further into the movement.
- NEVER stretch to a point of feeling pain, only slight discomfort.
- Unlike aerobic and strength training, stretching can be repeated every day.