Stretching Basics

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 12,117
    Fitness expert John Basedow demonstrates the basic stretches to incorporate into your next workout.

    John Basedow: Stretching is a key component of any exercise program, it not only increases flexibility and range of motion, but it also greatly reduces your chance of injury. There are two types of stretches, dynamic and static. Dynamic stretching uses controlled leg movements to improve range of motion, loosen up muscles and increase heart rate. Static stretching holds the muscle in an elongated fixed position for 30 seconds or more. So, when should you be stretching? Dynamic stretching is best before enduring your workout; it will benefit your performance and set you up for the current routine. Try leg kicks, lunges or jump squats to get the blood flowing and warm up your body. If you are strength training, incorporate dynamic stretches in between sets. After you are done with your workout, focus on static stretches, your hamstring, calves, shoulders and back are the most common areas of stretch. Plan a stretch routine based on the muscles used in your workout. If you just completed a long run, don't neglect your calves or if you just finished an arm day, focus on those muscles. You should hold each stretch for about 60 seconds and keep it gentle. No bouncing. If you feel pain, you have gone too far, just adjust your position and continue to hold. Study show that stretching the muscles that are constantly shorted through your work posture or daily routine can ease and prevent chronic pain. So remember, it's important to stretch before, during and after exercise, to make the most of your fitness routine.