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The importance of stretching!

Who what where & why? Everything you need to know about stretching.

If you’re reading this you probably already join our classes or have done so in the past. Therefore you will know (or may not realise…) that we always start our sessions with a warm up which includes some dynamic stretches, and conclude each session with a cool down combined with static stretching. This is VERY important, for many reasons... Warm up:

This should ONLY include dynamic stretching such as skipping, squatting, bottom kicks etc.

- Physically warms the muscle by increasing blood flow & causing joints to move more freely - Increase blood flow may help to relieve tension in certain stiff areas allowing better performance - Static stretching in this stage could lead to injury due to the muscle not being adequately warmed & has been shown to weaken the muscle prior to exercise leaving it more vulnerable in certain sports. Cool down: This is when static stretching takes its stance! - Relieves tension from the muscle by stretching out the worked muscle fibres - This squeezes waste products (think lactic acid) out of the muscle bellies! - Improves blood flow once training has ended by squeezing blood up through the veins (this prevents blood pooling)

- Helps to prevent muscle in-balances - Prevents further tightness and DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) - Generally feels great after a workout! Although static stretching is advised again before exercise, it doesn’t mean you cannot perform it at any other time. Doing static stretches in between your sessions is great for flexibility, mobility, reducing risk or injury and muscle pains! It’s just very important to be warm before stretching, so either complete some dynamic stretches first (a moving stretch like lunges, deep squats, and shoulder rotations or take a long hot bath). Stretches should be help for around 30 seconds or up to 60 if your goal is to improve the flexibility at the joint. Benefits of stretching include: - Improve recovery - Improve flexibility - Increase range of movement - Improve exercise performance - Improved strength - Reduce risk of injury - Reduce risk of DOMS - Reduce muscle tightness - Improve blood flow - Potential to increase muscle mass Here are some key points to remember when stretching: - Strive for symmetry – if one side is tight then focus on this area to improve muscle balance - Focus on large muscle groups such as the quads, hamstrings, glutes. These muscle groups are used all day to help us stand, walk, exercise etc. Any issues with these can lead to pain in the lower back, knees & even shoulders. - Keep all stretches controlled. Performing them fast and sharp can cause injury. Focus on slow deep breaths & movements. - Hold your stretch for 30-60 seconds to get the benefits! - Expect to feel tension in the muscle but not pain. Sometimes we hold a stretch without really feeling it so try to adjust yourself accordingly. It’s often the case that you can add some resistance with your own body to deepen the stretch e.g. with the quad stretch, try to straighten your leg against the resistance of your hand. - Keep on top of your stretching! If you’re stretching once a day & it’s helping ease pain, don’t start to neglect the stretches as muscles will often go back to the position they were once in (due to posture, work etc)

ABS, CORE & FLEX was an idea of mine due to being so stiff & tight from training & work and really neglecting that area of my health. It offers the perfect solution to having a weak core & over active / under active tight hips. (As well as other muscle groups). Now we know the importance of this on our health, our goal is to help you understand it yourself! That’s why we do what we do J Hopefully these articles alongside our sessions provide you with easy to understand knowledge!

See you soon,


Big J

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