Learn how to stretch safely and properly.
If you are following our running training, there is probably need for some nice deep stretching. Stretching is an important part of training and recovery. It is ofter overlooked because for most people it’s just not comfortable. After the actual training is completed, stretching seems like a chore. With over 600 muscles, stretching is however, a very important piece of the pie, whether your running, horseback riding, playing baseball, or even in everyday life.
Many things in life are about developing the habit. Just like getting up for practice everyday, or starting anew training program. It is consistency that helps develop the habit, and makes it a lot easier to stick with.
The easiest way to stick with something is to have support. In list a friend to stretch with, especially if your training with them. This recommendation comes straight from Ryan, the guy who I created the running training for. He asked that I cover how important stretching is. Him and his buddy Adam, move similar because of their line of work. Ryan works with cars doing dent repair, while Adam is owner of of vehicle wrap shop in Denver. He does wraps a lot of large vehicle in vinyl. They both have to hold positions that make the body tight. Since they are training to run, and have careers that strain the body, stretching is an essential part of the program.
Stretching 101 –
Here are a few varieties of stretching.
Dynamic- These types of stretches take your body through a full range of motion, increasing blood flow. Great for pre exercise ti warm the body up.
Ballisitc- This type of stretching uses bouncing movements while you are in the stretch. This form of stretching is not recommended and can cause injury if not used for a specific reason.
Static– This type of stretching hold the stretch position in place for a period of time. The muscles have time to begin to relax as you hold your static stretch.
Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF)- We call this an active stretch. While in a a stretch position, the muscles go in between hold/contraction and relaxation. It triggers the muscles to relax and allows for a deeper stretch.
We suggest using a variety of stretching methods. Dynamic for warm up, and static and PNF for getting the muscles to relax and loosen. This biggest thing to emphasize during stretching is the breathe. It is important to breath and not hold the breath. Breathing cues the body to continue to relax. Holding the breath can trigger the body to think it is in distress mode.
The goal is to stretch everyday. As you are starting off, 3-4 times a week is a great start. Do a little stretch warm up prior to training and then deeper stretching (static) after training. On some days, even if you are not training, set aside 10-15 minutes to stretch, practicing the PNF technique and static hold.
Please remember to not over do it. Let you body get used to opening up. If your muscles are constantly used to being contracted, the concept of relaxing is new. If you push your body, it may react defensively and cause you to pull a muscle or over stretch.
Once you get used to stretching and your body gets used to it, the way you feel is awesome! Enjoy!