Before doing any workout routine you should incorporate a warm-up, including proper stretches to prevent injury and enhance your body’s output potential. Along with warming up there are a number of precautionary measures you should be aware of before you begin any fitness regime. Listed below are eight of the more important ones.
- To increase your flexibility and prevent injuries, stretching should be included before and after any workout. It is fairly common knowledge that stretching prior to exercising prevents muscle tears and other bodily harm, however very few people know about or understand the importance of stretching after their workouts. Stretching after you finish training not only helps to heal your muscles but it is also a great method of increasing flexibility. This is because the muscles are still warm and are better able to accommodate more strenuous movements.
- To increase overall flexibility it is vital that you hold all positions for approximately 60 seconds. This does not include the warm-up where each stance should only be held for about 20 seconds instead.
- A common practice when working on flexibility is to go into the stretched position and then immediately return to the relaxed position repeatedly. This process is known as “bouncing” and should not be done as this can cause strain or damage to muscles or joints. Instead, slowly go into the stretch, hold for approximately 60 seconds and then return to a relaxed position. This procedure should be followed a couple of times.
- Know your limits. Do not start at the hardest stretch possible right off the bat. Instead, gradually and overtime increase the amount of stretching you do in each exercise.
- Stretch your entire body, do not pick and choose which areas to work on. By only concentrating on certain aspects or particular portions of your physique you will create major muscle imbalances in your body. This can have the adverse effect of causing you pain and will more often than not look plain silly.
- Have a routine and stick to it. If you don’t stretch regularly you won’t see results.
- Peer pressure can be a strong driving force, however it has no place in flexibility training or any other exercise program. It is important that you do not try movements outside of your capabilities or comfort zone just because other people are. Advance at your own pace and you will be surprised at how fast you are improving, within time you may even be able to do the intermediate or advanced exercises that you have seen.
- Learn to rest. This is one of the most important things to be aware of. If you don’t let your muscles rest and recuperate before you begin exercising again you will see very little gains, and may even do more damage than good. Not only do your muscles use this rest period to grow and adapt but your body may also need to revitalize.
If you want to continue working out and not risk injury, it is important that you take the time to properly stretch and warm-up before and after each training session.