I have been doing resistance training since past four years and it has always been a bodybuilding type training i.e. training for muscle mass. Stretching exercises both before and after resistance training has been an important factor in improving my flexibility and increasing my joints’ range of motion. When you can flex, extend or circumduct your joints through full range of motion without any pain that is called flexibility. Many individuals often overemphasize flexibility training and not focus on improving the strength of the surrounding muscles which can lead to an injury. I have always ensured that I warm-up properly before any type of stretching. I always do an active warm-up like 10 minutes treadmill walk/elliptical/arc trainer, etc. As research has proved and I have also experienced that static stretching can temporarily lower the strength levels, I do dynamic stretching before beginning my resistance training. Dynamic stretching helps improve strength, flexibility and endurance, speed, neuromuscular activation and coordination. It is especially important if you use higher repetitions, sets and/or heavier weights.
The dynamic stretching exercises I perform include wrist rotations. As almost every exercise in the gym involves the wrist so properly warming up the wrist joint is absolutely necessary especially when the resistance training program include exercises such as bench dips, bench press, overhead shoulder press in which the there is a direct load on the wrist. When leg exercises are to be performed with greater loads like barbell squats, leg press, leg extension, leg curl, lunges etc., it is important to properly warm up the knee joint as well as spine by incorporating some bodyweight walking lunges, knees to ches...
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...se stretches should be done to the point of mild to moderate discomfort for increasing the range of motion but not every day as the muscles need time to heal. Best is to perform the static active stretches only for those muscles which you have just trained i.e. follow joint specificity. But if reduction of DOMS is the objective then the stretching exercises can be performed almost every day as you need to stretch just short of mild tension to speed up removal of wastes. All the types of stretching must be performed under the guidance of a qualified trainer or a registered physical therapist.
Hatfield, F. C. (2013). Fitness: The Complete Guide (8.6.6 ed.). Carpinteria: International Sports Science Association.
Kovacs, M. (2009). Dynamic Stretching: The Revolutionary New Warm-Up Method to Improve Power, Performance and Range of Motion. Ulysses Press.
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