So, you have finally decided to hit the ground the running. All those days of procrastination left by the wayside. Weight training is on your mind and there is little that can stop you from achieving your goal. But wait; in all the gusto you are missing out on an essential component of exercising ‘stretching’. And, we are here to share with you tiny but important details about stretching that’ll make your exercising that bit better.
Why The Need To stretch?
Pertinent question indeed. With the raging hormones and a desire to get a body like a super athlete, you’d want to get started with the real thing right away. Though the body doesn’t work that way. It takes some time to warm up to the task. This is where stretching plays a crucial role.
Stretching not only loosens up the muscles in the body. It makes the body more tensile and resistant to the rigors of the workout. Due to increased blood flow, the body is in a better position to lift more and it is a well known fact that the more you lift the more calories you burn. What’s more a good stretch after a workout can relieve muscle soreness tremendously.
Light Intensity Stretches For Starters
Light intensity stretches are extremely useful to banish the lethargicness that has set in. Some basic stretches that should be done first thing are as follows:
- Side Stretch: In this stretch you need to raise both your hands and hold them, spreading your feet a little bend to one side and hold for 5 or so seconds. While you bend to one side the other side gets stretched. This stretch works on the obliques and the lateral muscles.
- Neck Stretch: Stand straight, keeping your hands on your hips and slowly move your neck to one side and then the other. Another motion that can be accomplished here from front to back. Bend your neck in such a way that your chin touches the collar bone. Bring the neck back to the start position and take it backwards. Repeat this motion at least 5 times for each side.
- Arm Stretch: For a forearm stretch, raise your hand enough so that it’s parallel to the ground. Bend the hand inwards and lock the wrist by placing the free hand over the bent hand. Hold for a couple of seconds. Do the same for the other hand.
- Now, for a bicep stretch, bend the hand in the opposite direction to the direction mentioned above. Again place your free hands at the end to hold the tension for a bit and release.
- For triceps stretch, raise your hand up straight; bend it at the elbow so the fingers touch the back. Once this is done, place your hand on the elbow and press it downwards slowly to feel the stretch.
- Legs & Lower Back: Stand straight and lift your hands straight up. Take a deep breath and slowly bending forward and trying to touch your feet without bending the legs. Hold the pose for 10 seconds and return to standing position. Alternatively, you can bend backwards by placing both hands near the butt region for support.
- Quad Stretch: To stretch this set of muscles, stand straight and slowly bend your leg to bring it in touching distance of your butt. Hold it with your hand for 5-10 seconds for maximum impact. If you are unable to balance yourself on one leg, try resting the other hand on the wall.
- Hamstring Stretch: This probably the one area which is most likely to give you more than just a scare. To start with a hamstring stretch, lie down on the floor on your back. Bend your leg & lift it back towards your abdomen. Clasp both hands over the shin area to hold the pose. Keep it that way for 10 seconds.
All these stretches if done properly before and after the workout can greatly impact the state of the muscles. So, do away with laziness and start your regime with a hearty stretch.