Shari Duncan

Tag: muscle soreness

Weightlifting and Joint Pain?
Shari

by on Feb.04, 2012, under Fitness, Natural Bodybuilding, Strength and Agility Training, Supplementation

Working out with weights will not cause joint pain.

Improper technique, insufficient rest, or poor nutrition might be contributing to your grief.

Joint pain is one of the most common problems among strength athletes.  It’s something younger lifters rarely think about when lifting and too many seasoned lifters wish they had when they are forced to stop lifting due to years of stress on joints.  Joints require mobility, stability, and motor control.  Proper weight training has been found to  improve joint health, return functionality and decrease pain. Regular exercise of the joints replenishes joint lubricants and builds cartilage.  Stronger muscles from weightlifting exercises offer more support to the joints.

Joint pain can be a slow progression over a long period of time. Repeated injuries can lead to chronic joint pain.  If you are experiencing pain from your weight lifting routine, you are probably doing something wrong.  Chances are one or more of these factors can be attributed for your pain:

  • ü  Insufficient warm-up prior to lifting.

    What's the cause of your joint pain?

  • ü  Over training. They train too long and/or too often
  • ü  Using overly heavy weights/low reps more often than they should
  • ü  Insufficient rest/recovery time to allow joints, tendons, muscles to recuperate from intense work.
  • ü  Poor form and less than perfect technique during heavy lifts
  • ü  Inadequate vitamins and  nutrients.
  • ü  All of the Above.

So let’s say that you are not guilty of the above 7 mistakes but still experience joint pain.  It could be bursitis, tendinitis, arthritis or the like causing aching joints.

Briefly:

ARTHRITIS: Osteoarthritis, by far the most common to bodybuilders and athletes is caused by wear and tera on the joints.  It is characterized by a deterioration of the cartilage at the ends of the bones. The once smooth cartilage becomes rough and causes more and more friction and pain.

BURSITIS: Joints contain small fluid filled sacks called bursae. The bursae assist in muscle and joint movement by cushioning  the joints/bones against friction. Inflammation from various causes (See above 7 mistakes!) results in a chronic pain called bursitis.

TENDINITIS: Tendonitis occurs when tendons around a joint become severely inflamed from overuse, micro-injury, etc.  It is probably the most common cause of pain to bodybuilders and other athletes and also the easiest to treat.  But if left untreated, as when people just try to “work through the pain”, it can lead to much more serious problems.

Many medications like non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, or treatments like cortical steroidal injections, address only symptoms and not the cause of the problem.  In fact, research has shown just the opposite; by merely masking symptoms, they may do more harm than good in the long run .

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/01/phys-ed-does-ibuprofen-help-or-hurt-during-exercise/

And the ever popular “stay off of it “ advice just does not fly with highly active  people.  The good news is that natural compounds and other dietary supplements may be helpful in supporting joints before, during and after lifting sessions.  If you are a lifter, joints require optimal nutrition to help you perform and recover.

Supplements to Consider:

GELATIN: A growing number of studies  now show that just 10 rams of hydrolyzed gelatin a day is effective in greatly reducing pain, improving mobility and overall bone/cartilage health.  Knox (the Jello people) have a product out called  NutraJoint.  It contains hydrolyze gelatin, calcium and vitamin C.

  • Diets rich in Vitamin C, D, and Calcium are important for optimizing joint health.

FLAX OIL: (Omega 3 Fats.) One of flax oils many, many benefits are those to improve overall joint health.  Flax oil is high in essential Omega 3 fatty acids.   Omega-3 fatty acids, from fish, flax, etc., have been shown in scientific/medical literature to reduce chronic  inflammation of any kind.  The recommended dose is 1-3 tablespoons/day.  Boost your intake with fatty fish (tuna,salmon,etc. ) walnuts, and flax.  If you can’t get it through food, supplement with 1-3 g of EPA/DHA per day from fish oil.

WATER: Drink more water.  Water helps to lubricate the joints.  Aim for ½ – 1 oz per pound of body weight per day. Or at least aim to drink 5-6 20 oz bottles of water per day.

FIBER: Focus on high fiber foods, and whole grains with at least 3g of fiber per serving.  Fiber controls blood glucose and therefore helps to control inflammation.

GLUCOSAMINE/CHONDROITIN SULFATE: Researchers  have found both effective for promoting joint health . Found in the body naturally, glucosamine is a form of amino sugar believed to play a role in cartilage formation and repair. Chondroitin sulfate, on the other hand, is a large protein molecule or proteoglycan that gives cartilage elasticity. Numerous studies have shown that regular use of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate offers pain relief similar to that offered by anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen or aspirin, but minus the gastrointestinal upset that may accompany long-term use of these medications. A daily dose of 1,200 mg has been shown to reduce joint pain.

It is never too early to take good care of your joints so that you are able to work out longer and more importantly remain pain free. Always begin your workout with range-of-motion exercises or an aerobic warm-up .  Lift with perfect form.  Ice your joints following exercise to reduce pain and swelling.

Joint pain should not go untreated. Don’t try to self diagnose.  Be sure to get an opinion from a trusted sports doctor first to determine exactly what your problem is.

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Considering Glutamine?…. It’s that Important !
Shari

by on Sep.22, 2010, under General HEALTH, General Nutrition, Supplementation

There are no side effects. No health risks. It doesn’t make you bigger or stronger or give you energy or burn fat, yet it could be one of the most useful supplements around.

What is Glutamine?

Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in our body – and highly concentrated in muscle cells. Glutamine has recently been re-classified as a conditionally essential amino acid. This means that while the body can make glutamine, there are times when the body’s need for glutamine is greater than its ability to produce glutamine.

Although the body produces glutamine, under times of stress, glutamine reserves are depleted and need to be replenished with supplementation.  Glutamine depletion caused by stress

Supplement with Glutamine if your body is under stress, which  includes stress from exercise.

Supplement with Glutamine if your body is under stress, which includes stress from exercise.

can be activated by something as minor as a common cold and the level of depletion increases with the severity of the disease. Patients undergoing surgery, burn victims, those suffering acute trauma, as well as HIV and cancer patients will all find their glutamine levels severely depleted by their condition.

Stress related glutamine depletion does not only occur with illness but also occurs due to stress caused by exercise. But the need for glutamine for many critical functions such as the immune system takes precedence over the building of muscles. Without any glutamine in the muscles we cannot build muscle mass and in fact the muscles can start to breakdown.  And the more stress the body is under, the more glutamine that is pulled away from the muscles.  And working out puts a lot of stress on the muscles.  If we supplement our body with glutamine we allow our body to keep a high supply of glutamine in the muscles and stop the muscle catabolism. This means the body can use the glutamine in the muscles to synthesize protein and build muscle mass. Because there is now enough glutamine for the whole body – the other critical functions such as the immune system have enough glutamine to perform their necessary functions as well.

Studies have shown that glutamine supplementation can do the following:

  • Increase Protein synthesis (which leads to increased muscle mass)
  • Increase nitrogen retention
  • Decrease muscle breakdown
  • Decrease recovery time needed after a workout
  • Enhance immune functions

How much glutamine is needed?

The typical American diet provides 3.5 to 7 grams of glutamine daily found in animal and plant proteins. Many people choose to supplement daily due to the long growing list of benefits.

Research shows levels of supplementation from 2 to 40 grams daily. Two to three grams has been found to help symptoms of queasiness.  This two to three gram dosage used post workout builds protein, repairs and builds muscle and can induce levels of growth hormone found in the body.

High levels of glutamine supplementation have been used in hospital settings with doses of 20 grams per day to treat colitis, Crohn’s disease and diarrhea. 40 grams per day of glutamine are used with HIV, cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and burn victims.

If you work out regularly or intensely,  or simply want to boost your immune system, you should consider supplementing with glutamine. In addition, if you are going through any type of stressful event or just trying to fight off the cold or flu – glutamine can be very beneficial.

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Shoulders in a Slump? Perk up your Posture !
Shari

by on May.16, 2010, under Fitness, General HEALTH, Stretching / Flexibility

Physical therapists call it upper-cross syndrome. I call it a pain in the neck, literally.

The older I get, the more rounded my shoulders appear. Poor posture is neither attractive or healthy.   So today I decided was the day to start doing something about it.  And naturally, I am sharing some tips and exercises that can reverse the effects of  slumping shoulders and improve posture.

Rounded shoulders can be caused by sitting at a desk or leaning forward for long periods of time. Anyone who sits extensively with their arms out in front of them, are prone to hunched shoulders.  (think hours on the computer, at your desk, or driving) If you have a forward head and rounded shoulders, you also probably have tight chest muscles and loose upper back muscles.  When the shoulders begin to slump, the muscles of the chest begin to shorten, the small muscles between the shoulder blades begin to weaken and the muscles of the back begin to lengthen, increasing the tendency to slump. Slumping collapses the chest and can also restrict breathing capacity.

Have your picture taken side view to determine postural concerns

Have your picture taken side view to determine postural concerns

Go ahead and give yourself a good once over in the mirror to check your alignment or have someone take your picture from the side.  Check to see if the middle of your ear is in line with the middle of your shoulder, hip, and ankle. If you can’t draw a straight line through these points, then you’ve just been diagnosed .  Proper posture involves aligning the body so that the pull of gravity is evenly distributed. What an eye opener this turned out to be for me. After studying my photographs, I recognized that I was in need of ALOT of corrective work.

Good posture includes:

  • A straight line from your ears, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles
  • Head is centered
  • Shoulders, hips and knees are of equal height

Another self test to see if you are crossed up:

Place two fingers at the top of your right shoulder and feel for a bony notch that protrudes from it. That’s your acromion. Now grab a ruler and lie on your back on the floor, your right arm resting alongside your body. With your left hand, measure the distance from your right acromion to the floor, being careful not to raise or lower your right shoulder as you do so. If the distance is more than 1 in ch, you have upper-cross syndrome.

Improve your posture by strengthening the weak upper back muscles, while stretching tight muscles in the chest, shoulders, lats and hips. As the upper back becomes stronger and the chest becomes more flexible, the shoulders naturally pull back—a sign of improved posture

These  stretches are sometimes used in rehab programs.

  1. While standing with feet shoulder width and knees moderately bent, bend the arms and raise the elbows as if they were wings. I use light hand weights to reinforce the workout, but do what works for you. Make fists and touch the thumb side of the fists to the chest. Next, while keeping the elbows level and at shoulder level, push the elbows horizontally back as far as possible. Do not jerk the elbows; just push them back smoothly and evenly. Hold them back as far as possible for a count of five, and then slowly bring the elbows back to the starting position.
  2. Standing with feet shoulder width and knees moderately bent, straighten the arms, horizontally and level with the floor, out to the sides and level with the shoulders. Turn the arms so that the palms are faced to the rear and push the arms back as far as possible and hold for a count of five. To increase the difficulty, find a wall and, standing as above, lean back against the wall and then push yourself forward. You can also use hand weights and bend and straighten the legs to increase the difficulty. Start with five or so repetitions and work up slowly.

To offset this muscle imbalance, it is necessary to work to strengthen the muscles of the back with pulling exercises like lateral rowing, shoulder rotation exercises, and lat pull downs.

Some other corrective exercises that work to stretch the chest area and also tighten the upper back muscles are the reverse fly and the back extension. There are many acceptable variations for each of these exercises.  They can easily be performed at home or worked into your training sessions at the gym on circuit machines, resistance bands or with light free weights.

Stand or Sit; with or without weight, this stretch will help correct rounded shoulders

Stand or Sit; with or without weight, this stretch will help correct rounded shoulders

–       – – – – – – – – – – – – – –    –

Rotator cuff exercise:


Will reduce the appearance of rounded shoulders and help pull them back and up. Stand tall with your arms bent at 45 degrees in front of you and elbows tucked slightly in to the waist. You can use light dumbbells for this exercise if you wish, but they aren’t necessary.

EXECUTION: Rotate the arms outward until they are each facing toward opposite walls, away from your body. Keeping the arms bent, press your hands toward the rear, as if you’re trying to touch something just behind you. This is a small move–a couple of inches at most. Perform this backward move between 10 and 15 times, keeping the shoulder blades pressed downward. You should feel the back muscles and the muscles between the shoulder blades compressing together. This exercise is also a great tension reliever!

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Strong CORE = Stronger YOU.
Shari

by on Mar.13, 2010, under Fitness, Stretching / Flexibility

Core strength refers to the muscles of your abdominals and back and their ability to support your spine and keep your body stable and balanced.

The “core” consists of many different muscles that stabilize the spine, pelvis and hip flexors and run the entire length of the torso. These muscles provide a solid foundation for movement in the extremities.  Think of your core where your center of gravity is located. It is the bridge between the upper torso, and the legs. It is the source of stability during daily activities and during exercise. It protects the internal organs in addition to stabilizing the spine.
A weak core can make you susceptible to poor posture, lower back pain and muscle injuries. Strong core muscles provide the brace of support needed to help prevent such pain and injury.

Core exercises work back and abdominal muscles in unison

Core exercises work back and abdominal muscles in unison

Abdominal muscles only make up one part of the core.

In addition to the abdominals, the core consists of muscles in your back, pelvic floor and hips. Many of the core muscles can’t be seen because they’re buried underneath other muscles.  This is precisely why many times they are overlooked when we exercise. One of the many “hidden” core muscles is the transverse abdominals, which are located behind the rectus abdominals (six pack, if you have one).  The transverse abdominis works deep inside keeping your posture upright and protects many of your internal organs.  The erector spinae, is another vital but hidden core muscle. –  – – It’s behind you, supporting your back. Strong core muscles keep your back healthy. They hold your body upright, improve your balance and enable you to have power, control and balance in your arm and leg movements. If the core muscles are weak, your body doesn’t work as effectively, and other muscles have to pick up the slack.

A weak Core = Recipe for back pain and/or injury

A weak Core = Recipe for back pain and/or injury

The most common site of injury related to lack of core strength is the lower back .

Strengthening the core will aide in reducing back pain. Weak core muscles result in a loss of the appropriate lumbar curve and a swayback posture. Stronger, balanced core muscles help maintain appropriate posture and reduce strain on the spine.  If you have weak muscles, poor posture and/or excess weight, your back will be one of the first places you feel the strain.

Learn how to strengthen your core, reduce back pain and get strong abs.

Any exercise that requires contraction of the muscles of the mid-section will work to strengthen the core. Most core exercises can be done anywhere and with minimal or no equipment other than your own body. Core strength training differs from many traditional weight training routines by working both the lower back and abdominals in unison.

Stability Balls for Core Workouts.  Versatile, Inexpensive and Portable.

Stability Balls for Core Workouts. Versatile, Inexpensive and Portable.

I recommend everyone invest in a stability ball for his or her home.  A  stability ball is inexpensive and portable and very easy to use for core exercises.  Try to focus on your breathe during each exercise, inhaling & exhaling deeply. Concentrate on tightening your deepest abdominal muscle — (the transversus abdominis) — during each exercise. This is the muscle you feel contracting when you cough.

Strengthening the core will reap tremendous benefits to anyone regardless of training experience. Workouts do not take long, and most importantly the  rewards are realized very quickly. Keep in mind that strengthening workouts — even core conditioning — are just one part of a complete fitness program. Include aerobic exercise and flexibility training to compliment your routine.

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Hurts so Good?… Post Workout Muscle Soreness
Shari

by on Feb.27, 2010, under Fitness, Natural Bodybuilding, Strength and Agility Training

Muscle soreness is an unavoidable side effect of strength and endurance training.

After a hard workout, most people begin to experience soreness in the body parts trained within 24-48 hours. This type of pain is called “delayed onset muscle soreness” or DOMS and can last several days to a week. The primary cause of DOMS, according to most exercise physiologists, is from tiny tears that occur in the muscle as a result of high intensity exercise – especially resistance training.  DOMS is a normal and expected outcome of physical exercise.  The only way to eliminate DOMS is to avoid exercise.

When you work out you literally “tear down” muscle tissue fibers.  (These are microscopic tears -& very different from the medical definition of a torn muscle). During the days after the workout, the muscle begins to rebuild itself. However, the muscles must be given enough time to recover and as well as adequate nutrition. This rebuilding process creates a “new” muscle that is bigger and stronger than before. This is how the cycle of building lean muscle occurs.

It is important to differentiate between the burn felt during/after the workout from the pain of an injury. Soreness should not become debilitating or prevent you from participating in sports or performing daily tasks.  This type of “good sore” is a sign that the muscles were worked – & that muscle tissue was broken down during your training session. As a result, you will begin to become stronger and your muscles will grow.

DOMS is greatest, but not exclusive, to beginners new to exercising. Over time, the body will adapt to the workload imposed on it and the less sore you will feel.   If you continue to repeat the same workout over and over again, it will eventually cease to make you sore. AND you will cease to make any progressThis is why it is important, no

Dramatic changes to workout routine & intensity will bring on DOMS!

Dramatic changes to workload & intensity will bring on DOMS!

matter how long you have been training to change up your workout routines often.  Progressive overload is key getting stronger and building muscle.

Each time you “shock your body” with a new workout program, new exercises, new techniques you’ve never used before or in a long time, expect the soreness to return. Sometimes the amount of soreness from a change in your routine can be severe. So remember to go easy the first day on a new program and build intensity gradually or you may push over that line from “good sore” to “bad sore”.  Severe muscle soreness probably means you overdid it, which will happen from time to time.  In most cases is not reason for alarm.

Reducing the Effects of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

If you train intently, you will be sore post work-out.

The goal is to reduce the DOMS effects and keep to your workout schedule.

WARM-UP/ STRETCH – The benefits of warm up before and post workout stretch are numerous and should never be overlooked or their value underestimated.  Warm up and cool down properly and build your workout program gradually to minimize DOMS.

REST:  Remember, a little soreness is expected; it is a sign of a good workout and eventually the soreness will go away.  Rest and allow the muscle groups worked to recover for a couple of days before working them again.

MASSAGE/ Hot Bath / Heat / (heating pad) will sooth sore aching muscle and reduce inflammation and pain.

WATER:  Drinking extra water helps to flush toxins and other byproducts of muscle breakdown that occur during heavy exercise.

VITAMIN C /E – antioxidants are proven helpful in dealing with muscle soreness and recovery. Your muscles produce more free radicals during exercise. Supplementation with antioxidants C & E will slow down the oxidation process, which in turn reduces fatigue and soreness.  A healthy supply of these nutrients help to minimize pain the day after a workout and will speed the healing process.

SUPPLEMENTATION:  Glutamine and BCAA’s (Branched-chain Amino Acids) are known to assist in muscle recovery and repair.

ANTI-INFLAMMATORIES: – (Ibuprofin) – like Motrin will alleviate symptoms for sure. I usually try to use these as a last option to the ones mentioned above.

PROPER NUTRITION: The fuel we give our bodies have a significant impact not only on performance but also in the muscle building and recovery process.  While proper nutrients will not prevent or give instant relief from muscle soreness, it is essential for the muscle repairing process. By consuming the right balance of nutrients before, during, and immediately following workouts, you can minimize the amount of muscle protein breakdown incurred during workouts and maximize the rate of post-exercise muscle protein repair and rebuilding. This principle is known as nutrient timing and is topic that will be discussed more in depth in future blogs.

**If soreness persists many days, or you suspect an injury, see a doctor. Otherwise for mild to moderate exercise related soreness, some combination of rest, anti-inflammatory, hot water/heat, massage, and drinking plenty of water will handle it.

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Facts about OVERTrAINING….
Shari

by on Feb.14, 2010, under Fitness, Natural Bodybuilding

Over-training occurs when we strive to improve performance and train beyond the body’s ability to recover.

Many athletes train too hard and too long. Over training takes place when muscles are not given the necessary recovery time. Unfortunately the desire to improve often results in over training. Many spend way too much time in the gym. When their efforts fail to give them results, they increase their workout time. And when that doesn’t work, they increase it more and eventually become frustrated, deciding that they just can’t build muscle no matter what they do. But, what is so difficult for many of us to grasp is that muscles will not grow or become stronger without sufficient recovery time.  —In fact, quite the opposite takes place. Performance suffers, and often injuries occur.

training log

Keep a training and nutrition log to monitor gains and progress

Athletes strive to push to maximum ability in order to improve. However, when training exists without allowing  for recovery time,  muscles stay in a stressed condition. It is normal for muscles to be sore when worked hard but be aware that there can be a fine line when balancing training intensity and overtraining.

In order to maximize and obtain desired results, it is vital to plan rest cycles into your training plan. This will help prevent overtraining. During the rest period:

  • eat carbohydrates
  • get a full night’s sleep
  • drink plenty of fluids
  • eat carbohydrates

Adequate rest cycles helps the body fully recover glycogen storage in muscles and liver, and enzyme systems within the muscle cells. During the rest period these systems overcompensate for the workout, which (if you have sufficient rest) causes your muscles to increase strength. The recovery period is very important to avoid overtraining muscles.

The Dangers of Overtraining

Simply stated, overtraining is when the body becomes overwhelmed by the demands being placed on it and is often referred to as “burn out”.

Muscles must be given time to heal. Recovery time varies by individual and the intensity of the workout. If your muscles seem to stay sore, take a break from training.

When the body incurs more damage than it has the opportunity to repair and rebuild, we become in danger of overtraining syndrome.  The goal of weight training is to initiate small tears in muscle tissue with the expectation that the body will then repair and rebuild that tissue to be stronger. These tears are necessary to stimulate muscle growth but they are, even if just temporarily, muscle damage.

If the body is not allowed the opportunity to adequately repair this damage,  overtraining ensues. OTS (overtraining Syndrome) is a progressive condition. If the training cycle continues beyond the body’s repair capabilities, OTS will continue to advance and further averting gains in the gym.

Symptoms of Overtraining:

Train Hard ...But Rest & Recovery is Vital for RESULTS!

Train Hard ...But Rest & Recovery are Vital for RESULTS!

Be receptive to the symptoms of muscle overtraining. Some of the signs are:

  • increased fatigue
  • physically tired
  • exercising often but not improving
  • chronic and persistent sore muscles
  • pain in tendons when moved
  • lower resistance to colds, sore throat
  • easily angered; depressed

How much rest does the body need?

The rate with which the body can properly repair and rebuild muscle tissue will vary by the individual.

Determining the correct training volume and intensity, eating the right foods, and getting the right amount of rest and recovery are all factors to be taken in to consideration.

To avoid OTS, give the body the opportunity to repair the damage

You must give the body adequate rest.

Supplementing with glutamine has also been shown to speed up recovery.

The intensity in which you train impacts how much recovery time you need. If the ultimate goal is to increase muscularity and gain mass,  then training must be done with maximum intensity. That said,  and done correctly —  a mass gain training session places great stress on the body.

To achieve maximum muscle gain, you must respect the value of adequate rest to the muscle building process. To work past a plateau, increased training can sometimes be effective but just as likely; backing off may be the answer to restarting muscle growth.

Proper nutrition is vital to recovery for strenuous workouts. Diet plays a huge role in any muscle building program. It helps regulate hormone levels, provides energy, and provides the raw building blocks used to create new tissue.  A couple of very important things to consider: Don’t skip breakfast. Skipping breakfast is very catabolic, and can promote muscle loss. Don’t allow too much time between meals – eat small, frequent meals. If you’re trying to build muscle mass, you have to constantly feed your body quality foods so that it never has the chance catabolize muscle tissue. Eat every 2-3 hours to ensure that your body remains in an anabolic state.

Rest and recovery is essential when it comes to avoiding over-training. Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep nightly, and try to keep to a consistent schedule. As for recovery time, incorporate days off between weight training workouts. Try to have one rest day between strength-training sessions, and do not train the same muscle groups on consecutive days.

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Don’t Forget to S T R E T C H !!
Shari

by on Jan.09, 2010, under Fitness, General HEALTH, Natural Bodybuilding

Stretching can be done anytime, anywhere.   Consider all of the benefits of stretching and why stretching really matters.

Flexibility for many is a goal in and of itself. Being able to take a joint through its full range of motion allows for more freedom of movement. Fitness activities like yoga and stretching concentrate on flexibility.  But so many of us overlook stretching as an integral part of our fitness programs or consider it a waste of time.  Experts agree however, if you want to achieve peak physical condition,  you need to stretch.  It is a powerful part of any exercise program. Most aerobic and strength training programs inherently cause muscles to contract and flex. Stretching after exercise promotes equal balance. Stretching also increases flexibility, improves range of motion of the joints and boosts circulation. Stretching can even promote better posture and relieve stress.

Benefits of a regular stretching program:      

Reduced muscle tension

Increased range of movement in the joints

Enhanced muscular coordination

Increased circulation of the blood to various parts of the body

Increased energy levels (resulting from increased circulation)

As stated before, Stretching improves flexibility. The most common forms of stretching exercises are static, sustained movements that are slow and controlled. Static stretches are thought to be safe for most people. They involve a slow, gentle stretch of the muscle that is held in a lengthened position for 10 to 60 seconds and repeated about three times.

Another type of stretching exercise is called dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretching involves gradual increases in your range of motion and speed of movement with a controlled swing (not bounce) that reach the limits of your range of motion in a controlled manner. You never force this type of stretch. Examples of dynamic stretching are slow, controlled leg swings, arm swings, or torso twists.

Dynamic stretching exercises improve flexibility required in most sports and are often performed after a warm up before aerobic exercise training. Dynamic stretching exercises include 10 to 12 repetitions of the movement.

Some people practice ballistic stretching exercises. Ballistic stretching uses momentum in an attempt to force a joint beyond its normal range of motion. Bouncing-type stretches are ballistic and very different from dynamic stretching because they try to force a greater range of motion. Be cautious, as there is an increased risk of injury (from overstretching the muscles, tendons or ligaments) with ballistic stretching

Stretching is important for people of all ages and fitness levels.  When range of motion increases, limbs and joints can move further before an injury occurs. Post-exercise stretching can also aid in workout recovery, decrease muscle soreness, and ensure that muscles and tendons are in good working order. The more conditioned muscles and tendons are, the better they can handle the rigors of sport and exercise, and the less likely that they’ll become injured.

Flexibility and Strength Training


If you lift weights, it’s even more important to stretch, and the best time to stretch is right after a workout. Stretching should not be done as a warm-up to an activity as you could injure your muscles if stretching them when they are cold. At least 3 to 5 minutes of cardiovascular training is recommended to warm up the muscles sufficiently. Stretching of fatigued muscles can increase flexibility and improve muscle building. Static stretching helps loosen muscles, removes lactic acid and prevents the muscle tissues from healing at a shorter length after a heavy workout.

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