Stretching is an important aspect in working out. It helps with flexibility, improves circulation, helps with better range of motion, and helps relieve stress.
I notice a lot of people stretching before an workout. Which may not be the best idea if your muscles are cold. Warm up a bit before you do any stretching, trying to stretch a muscle when it’s cold can tear muscle fibers. In that case you are doing more harm than good. I actually like to stretch after a workout and just warm up before.
There are different types of stretching; self-myofascial release, static, and dynamic.
Self-Myofascial release is where you use a foam roller and roll your tight muscles over the roller. Usually 20-30 seconds in a couple of different spots for each muscle is ideal. It’s very much like a deep tissue massage, the foam roller helps gets out any deep knots in your muscles. Doing this on a daily basis can really help increase your flexibility and helps relieve any pain.
Static stretching is where you get into a stretch position and hold it for 20-30 seconds, this is a typical stretch you see many people do. Make sure you don’t bounce as your stretching, this can lead to muscle tears as well.
Dynamic stretching is where you are incorporating movements into your stretches. Very good for warming up or cooling down. These stretches get your muscles moving in preparation for the type of exercises you are about to do. An example would be a lunge.
These stretches are listed in order of difficulty and should be done in order as you progress. It doesn’t take long to get a good stretch, 5-10 minutes a day is plenty.