Lifting weights can take a lot of toll on your body. If you’re not careful and you get overzealous, there is a risk that you’re going to end up injured. With that being said, you should go above and beyond to minimize your risk of getting injured.
The good news is that there are numerous things you can do to avoid this problem. For instance, you should think about stretching more often. Stretching offers a wealth of benefits especially for people who are going to be lifting weights. Within this guide, you’ll find out when it is appropriate to stretch before lifting weights and why you should.
How Much Should I Stretch Before A Workout?
Ultimately, you will find that it is nearly impossible to stretch too much. Nevertheless, you do not want to spend too much time stretching as doing so will take away from your lifting time. With that being said, you need to find the most appropriate duration. In general, it is a good idea to stretch five to ten minutes before lifting weights.
Make sure that you target the most important muscle groups or you could experience numerous problems. Also, try to remember that you should not hold your breath during the stretching process. If you’re not going to be lifting weights for the week, then you should you should aim to be stretching at least 30 minutes twice each week.
Stretching before and after exercise is best. This will ensure that you’re ready for the activity and that you cool down without getting into trouble. If you’re in a hurry, you should still find time to stretch. A minute or two or stretching is better than nothing.
Should I Stretch More on Heavy Lifting Days?
This is a question that many people have and are confused about, for good reason. The answer to this is yes, on heavy lifting days you should be stretching more than if you are just going to be doing some light running or lifting. Why you might ask? Well the reason for this is so that you do not end up getting injured when you are pressing heavy weights. Squatting for example can be an extremely taxing lift on your leg muscles and if your leg muscles have not been stretched out and are still tight, you are putting yourself at major risk for pulling a muscle. Trust me, I would know as I have pulled a muscle in my leg several times. Now, before I do any heavy squatting I always make sure that I have stretched my legs out as much as possible. I even ended up buying myself a leg stretcher machine to help me get the best stretch that I can because I do not want to pull another leg muscle. I was literally unable to walk for about a week. The stretchers I use have kept me from pulling any muscles in my legs and have allowed me to squat as heavy as I want without having to worry.
What Happens If You Don’t Stretch Before Lifting Weights?
At the end of the day, not stretching can be very risky. If you do not stretch, your body is not going to be properly prepared for the exercise ahead. Therefore, you will have a much greater risk of getting injured. This is something you’ll want to avoid at all costs.
With this in mind, it is best to stretch before lifting weights. Doing so will ensure that your body is warmed up and ready to go. In return, this will minimize the risk that you’re going to get injured.
You may be able to lift weights without stretching and without getting hurt. However, there is no denying the fact that this will greatly increase your risk of getting injured. It is not a good idea to take this risk. You should take steps to minimize the risks to ensure that you get the results you’re after.
Combine Traditional Stretching & Dynamic Stretching
When it comes down to it, you will find that there are numerous stretches to enjoy. However, you have to understand that not all of them are equal. With that being said, you need to make sure that you’re sticking with the best stretches for lifting weights.
This will ensure that you’re able to target the appropriate muscle groups so you can get the results you’re after. Dynamic stretching is key for this purpose. This type of stretching involves moving certain parts of your body. Along the way, you’ll need to increase your speed and reach. It is vital to understand that dynamic stretching is much different than ballistic stretching.
When you practice ballistic stretching, you will force your arm or leg beyond its natural range of motion. When you perform dynamic stretching, you will not. Dynamic stretching is far more effective for people who are going to be lifting weights immediately.
To get the best results, you should perform sets of 8 to 20 repetitions. However, it is a good idea to stop when you start feeling tired. This will decrease the likelihood that you’re going to experience issues. On top of that, you do not want to overwork the muscles. If you do, you will likely have a tough time lifting weights afterward.
Which Stretches Are Best For Weight Lifters?
Again, there are numerous stretches to use but some are going to be better than others. Joint rotations will prove to be very beneficial. You’ll want to start from a standing position while allowing your arms to hang freely by your side. Remember to work your finger, wrist, elbow, shoulder, neck, and knee joints. You’ll also want to work on your neck mobility. Perform neck extensions, rotations, and flexion will be very helpful. Other stretches that you’ll want to experiment with include shoulder circles, side bends, arm swings, and hip circles.
These stretches will help ensure that your body is ready to begin lifting heavy weights.
Can Stretching Help Build Muscle?
Many people are under the impression that stretching builds muscle. Unfortunately, that is not the case at all. However, stretching does help build muscle as it aids the muscle-building process. How does it do that? It does that by making the muscles more flexible, getting nutrients into the muscles, and flushing out toxins so that there is more room for them to grow. When you combine stretching and muscle-building exercises, you are protecting your muscles from injuries and speeding up the overall process.
In an article released by the American Council of Exercise, the authors claimed that stretching is a very important part of fitness. Whether you are building muscle or your cardiovascular system, stretching can help. Pre-workout stretches are extremely helpful because it encourages the muscles to grow, according to previous research.
Increases Blood Flow To The Muscles
You would be surprised to know the true importance of stretching. When it comes to pre-workout stretches, many people only think of the basic benefits. These benefits include an increase in flexibility and range of motion. The benefit that is often overlooked is an increase in blood flow to the muscles. Increasing blood flow to the muscles results in more oxygen and better overall immunity and appearance.
Bottom Line – Stretch Before & After Your Workouts
Stretching should be the first thing you do before starting your workout, it should also be the first thing you do after a workout. There are many benefits of stretching for the entire musculoskeletal system, which consists of joints, tendons, cartilage, bone, muscle, and ligaments. Stretching helps to increase flexibility, range of motion, and blood flow to the muscles, resulting in lean muscle growth.