Stretching is when a muscle is deliberately elongated or lengthened. Done properly, it can reduce tension, create greater muscle control, increase flexibility and blood circulation and generate a greater range of motion. This can also be done to help reduce sore muscles after a workout with us! Just like working out, if done improperly, stretching can be dangerous. We never want to injure tendons or ligaments. Proper alignment, correct breathing and not pushing to the point of intense pain will generate the most benefit. That’s why we put this video together, so the foundation of proper stretching can be practiced!
There are different types of stretching: ballistic, dynamic, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation and static stretching. Ballistic stretching refers to a faster bouncing motion that forces the muscle to its maximum. This is one we do not recommend or show in the video- it’s very dangerous and cause injury or tearing. Dynamic stretching is used more in preparation for cardiovascular training like running or sport specific movements like golf (see our past video in the archive for golf specific stretches). PNF stretching is usually done with a partner who can apply resistance to the antagonist muscle first and then the appropriate muscle is relaxed in order to gain more range by using the body’s natural golgi tendon reflex as an advantage. Static stretching refers to holding a particular position for a period of time in order to deepen the stretch and gain more flexibility in the isolated muscles. The video we created below is a blend of static stretching with some flowing aspects and multi joint movements.
It’s not advantageous to stretch to a point of intense pain. Just like in our workouts at BQ, there is a “good pain” you want to achieve! One thing to point out ahead of time is these stretches should NOT be performed before a workout at BQ, or any kind of heavy lifting. Stretched muscles are substantially weaker, less powerful (power being a measure of the muscles ability to produce force during a contraction) and more prone to injury, which is bad before lifting weights! Stretching does what it’s supposed to do; it loosens muscles and tendons and makes them less able to store energy and spring (or lift!) into action.
One study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, concluded that if you stretch before you lift weights, you might find yourself feeling weaker and wobblier than you expect during your workout. A similar conclusion was reached by the authors of the other study, in which young, fit people performed standard squats with barbells after either first stretching or not. The volunteers could manage 8.3 percent less weight after the static stretching. But even more interesting, they also reported that they felt less stable and more unbalanced after the stretching than when they didn’t stretch.
One misconception I want to touch upon is the idea that weight lifting decreases flexibility. This is untrue. Weight lifting does shorten the muscle during the contraction, but given we do full ranges of motion, the opposing muscle always gets a full range stretch. What does cause a decrease of range of motion over time is sitting for extended periods without getting up and being sedentary in general. The way we train at BQ will not only strengthen the body, but also add to its flexibility and longevity!
Now with all of that said, it’s time to properly stretch with us! This can be done upon waking up in the morning, after a workout, or even before bed.