You are hitting your goals. Hitting those PR’s. But are you making sure to stretch?
I know that we tend to forget to stretch because we are busy, but did you know that 66% of the injuries that happen are from not stretching properly? Stretching before and after you train is just as important as the work in-between.
Before You Workout:
Warming up before exercise prepares your cardiovascular system for your workout, by increasing blood flow to your muscles, and raising the temperature of your body. Correct stretching will loosen your muscles and tendons creating proper blood flow. This will increase flexibility and range of motion during your workout. It also helps prevent injury by warming up your muscles making them contract more forcefully and relax quicker. Basically, your muscles will perform faster and more efficiently meaning a better result during and after your workout.
You are not only preparing your body for the amazing workout you are about to do, but it also mentally prepares you. Your brain will become focused on your body and the physical activity which will carry over into your workout.
After You Workout:
Stretching at the end of your workout can help boost your flexibility, reduce your risk of injury, and decrease muscle tension in your body. It can even help improve your performance the next time you workout out. You know the soreness you feel going down stairs after a leg day? Stretching after your workout will help reduce soreness in your muscles.
Without stretching, the muscles shorten and become tight. Then, when you call on the muscles for activity, they are weak and unable to extend all the way. That puts you at risk of joint pain, strains, and muscle damage.
Did you know that common things we struggle with every day can be fixed by the way we are stretching? Stretching the muscles of the lower back, shoulders and chest helps you keep your back in better alignment, which improves your posture. You can help your lower back pain by increasing the flexibility in the hamstrings, hip flexors and muscles attached to the pelvis. It relieves stress on the lumbar spine, which in turn reduces your risk of low-back pain.
Types of Stretches:
Dynamic stretching is meant to get your body moving and your heart rate up. These stretches are a series of challenging motions that are repeated so that the stretch is felt further with each motion. They help boost blood flow, activate the central nervous system, increase range of motion, and increase muscle power. Ex: Jogging/ Sprints, Jumping Rope, Leg Swings, Walking Lunges
Static stretching is your slow, deep stretches. The focus of static stretching is on lengthening your muscles. You will generally focus on particular muscle groups, like your hamstrings. Static stretches are aimed to help with flexibility and help with preventing injuries as well. Ex: butterfly stretch, back stretch, cobra, quad pull, standing hamstring stretch
SP Favorite Ways to Stretch:
SP Resistance bands are a great addition to your normal stretches. It adds an extra resistance to challenge you and help you reach your goals. Make sure to hold each stretch for 15 to 30 seconds and do both sides.
Lying on the floor, loop the band around one of your feet. Grab the band that is closer to your foot to create tension. Straighten the right leg as much as you can while keeping the left leg bent on the ground. Gently pull your leg in the air towards you, stretching the back of the leg. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds and switch sides.
Lying Hip Stretch-
Lying on the ground, loop the band around your right foot. Grab the band with the opposite hand. Straighten the left leg out on the floor and gently lower the right leg across your body and to the left as low as you can. It should feel the stretch in your right hip and glute.
Kneeling Quad Stretch-
Sit on the ground with your right leg bent in front of you, left leg bent behind you. Loop the band around the top of the left foot. Lean to the right on the right forearm and use the band to gently pull the heel towards the glutes to stretch the front of the thigh. Squeeze the glutes for a deeper stretch.
Sit on the ground with your legs crossed or stand up. Hold one end of the resistance band in each hand behind your back. Beginning with your hands close together, begin to gently pull them away. You should feel the stretch across the front of your chest and shoulders. Try to keep your arms close to the ground.
No One Likes Being Sore
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Make sure to take time to take care of yourself before and after a workout. You are never too busy to stretch if it means it could prevent injuries and improve your performance. Sip on a sugar-free drink mix that is made for optimal recovery and hydration.