Why should we stretch? The simple answer is that we should stretch to avoid injury. By staying lithe throughout the day, you can avoid pulling your back out, lifting a box, or breaking your shoulder while pushing anything above your head. Am I writing this because I feel like a dinosaur that just had a newborn baby for Christmas? Yes, but I digress. Stretching is a form of physical exercise in which a specific muscle or tendon is intentionally bent or stretched to improve the muscle’s felt elasticity and achieve comfortable muscle tone. The result is a feeling of increased muscle control, flexibility, and freedom of movement. Stretching is not only important for flexibility but also for increasing muscles.
Stretching to make muscles bigger
Did you know that stretching plays a vital role in building muscles? When you think about gaining muscle, stretching is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. I will explain why fasciae support muscle growth.
Every muscle in your body is enclosed in a bag of tough connective tissue known as a fascia – a thin sheath of fibrous tissue that encloses a muscle and also organs. Fasciae are important in keeping your muscles in place in your body. But your fascia can also stunt your muscle growth. Think about your muscles for a moment. You train them and feed them properly. They want to grow and will grow, but something is holding them back. You have no room for 2021 gains in a tight, unstretched fascia.
Because the fascia is so hard, the muscle space cannot expand. If I gave you a large pillow and asked you to cram it into a very small pillowcase, it would be quite difficult. Somehow I think about fascia. When you cram the large pillow into the small sleeve, the only way the (almost blown out) small pillowcase will grow is to stretch it. The lower leg is littered with fascia because of its enormous resilience in the body. Because of this fascia, many trainers have great difficulty developing their calves. The size of the muscle doesn’t change no matter how hard you exercise or how well you eat because the connective tissue around your muscles narrows the muscles inside.
The solution is simple. Stretch!
Stretching elongates muscle tissue and increases flexibility. Both of these allow you to perform strength-building movements with greater freedom of movement, making the exercise more effective. As you build muscle, you create tiny tears in the muscles and lactic acid builds up. Proper stretching can greatly improve muscle growth.
Gain strength and endurance
A stretching study by Arnold Nelson, an associate professor of kinesiology at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, found that stretching can lead to strength, endurance, and jump gains. 38 mostly sedentary people took part in the study and were divided into two groups. One group did not do any stretching for 10 weeks, while the other group participated in a program that required the legs to be stretched for 40 minutes a few times a week. The series of 15 static stretches in the program was aimed at exercising all the major muscles in the legs, including the hamstrings and quadriceps. For example, some stretches required sitting on the floor with your legs stretched out and then lowering your chest toward your legs. Participants held each stretch for 15 seconds and then repeated it three times. None of the groups of people participated in any other type of regular exercise routine.
In addition, the stretching group saw smaller gains in other areas. Her vertical jump distance increased by 7 percent and her standing long jump distance increased by 2 percent. The results of the control group showed no improvement in any of these areas, as the results showed.
Dynamic vs. static stretching
There are a lot of controversial articles about dynamic stretching versus static stretching and this is better. I do both, depending. I could put my toes on my bum to stretch my quad, but on the other hand, I’ll also crouch in the air to warm up before the squats. There’s an example of dynamic and static stretches that I do while stretching together. As long as you’re stretching, preventing injury, and promoting muscle growth, I don’t care what type of stretch you do.
Dynamic stretches are controlled movements that prepare your muscles, ligaments and other soft tissues for performance and safety. Static stretches are those where you stand, sit, or lie down and hold a single position for up to 45 seconds.
Stretching keeps muscles flexible, strong, and healthy, and we need that flexibility to maintain a range of motion in the joints. Without it, the muscles shorten and become tense. Then when you ask the muscles to be active, they are weak and unable to fully expand, resulting in pain, pulls, sprains and discomfort. Hours of life that I go through lead to articles that will help others in their fitness journey. Help others.