STRETCH 2/5 How to Stay Injury Free and Feeling Strong
Muscle growth and endurance is founded on one key principal: stressors. Without stressors there could be no results. If you do not engage in resistance training, you cannot build more muscle. Same goes for endurance: if you do not train yourself to your limits, you will not create a higher endurance threshold. Everyone does well enough at working hard during the workout, but the recovery part is something of a different beast altogether. Recovery takes time and for some it seems a tedious task. If not done correctly, or at all, it can cause muscle imbalances, chronic headaches, and eventually could lead to injury. These simple steps will help speed up recovery and ultimately help to secure the results of the hard work many people are already doing.
I can’t tell you how many people I run into that do not stretch, ever. I always ask the same question; “Why!?” The answer is usually the same, “I don’t have time” or “I forget.” If I had a rolled up newspaper or a fish with me, I would smack you with it. When you engage in exercise the muscle fibers and the casing around the muscles, called the fascia, can get wrinkled which can create knots. If we prehab this by stretching before and after our workouts, only for 5-10 minutes, this does three huge things for your muscles:
1. It can greatly reduce the tension on the muscle, allowing for symmetrical muscle development resulting in less possibility for injury.
2. It allows for better blood flow, which carries nutrients to heal muscle tissue, to damaged muscle tissue.
3. Stretches the muscle fascia, allowing for more muscle growth, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Morale of the story: A long muscle is a happy muscle, so stretch more often.