Stretching: This is how to stretch correctly

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This is how to stretch correctly

Stretching: Women stretch their legs.

© fizkes / Adobe Stock

Proper stretching will keep your joints flexible and mobile. We explain all the benefits and the best exercises!

Should do some stretching before exercising Or rather after? Or is it really useless and can I do without it entirely? There are many different opinions on the subject of stretching. But what happens in the body and what are stretching exercises really for?

What is the use of stretching?

With the help of stretching (“stretching”, “stretching”) the Joint mobility improves and muscles become more flexible.. This facilitates, for example, smooth movement sequences when dancing or in martial arts. Studies show that regular stretching can increase performance. It is also said to relieve tension and stress and improve posture.

Contrary to what was often assumed in the past, However, stretching does not necessarily protect against injury, as a study by researchers at the University of Jena shows, for example. And sore muscles or strains can’t be prevented with stretching exercises. Because they occur when the muscles are overloaded, which in turn causes small tears in the muscle fibers.

How often is it useful to stretch?

For stretching to be as effective as possible, it’s best to integrate it three times per week in your training. Each stretching session should last between 10 and 15 minutes.

Static and dynamic stretching.

In general, a distinction is made between static and dynamic stretching. Both variants have their own advantages and disadvantages.

static stretching

Static stretching stretches the muscles by staying in one position. This in the long run Improved flexibility and therefore mobility. Static stretching should be done during a warm-up or as a cool-down. It is not suitable for the warm-up itself, as it increases the risk of injury and reduces muscle tension. As a result, performance during training could be affected.

dynamic stretch

Dynamic stretching is the opposite of static stretching: The muscles warm up and are then ready for training. For this, soft and elastic movements are made. Continuous alternation of tensing and relaxing the muscle improves blood circulation and the different muscle groups can interact more easily. However, you’d better be careful not to overdo it: dynamic stretching shouldn’t be too intense either, especially if you want to do maximum strength training afterwards, i.e. use heavy weights with low repetitions.

What happens to the body when it stretches?

How flexible we are depends mainly on the shape of our bones: for example, the shoulder joint can move much more freely than the hip. During movement, the ligaments and muscles that surround the joint ensure that the joint is properly stabilized. At the same time, all muscles have an insertion and an origin, which are also called muscle spindles. When stretched, these muscle ends force themselves apart, so the muscle is stretched.. This makes both the muscle structure and the connective tissue of the muscle, the so-called fascia, more flexible. Regular stretching ensures that the tissue gradually becomes more and more flexible.

Be careful not to stretch too much

We all know the so-called stretch pain during various stretching exercises, such as the deep lunge. And it’s actually a very sophisticated protective mechanism of our body. After if we stretch too often, we risk damaging the ligaments and joints and also increase the risk of injury. So pay close attention to your body’s signals: A slight stretch pain is okay. However, if you stay in one position for a long time, the pain should lessen over time as the muscle gradually relaxes. The general rule of thumb to hold the position is at least 30, better 45 seconds, although it can be a bit uncomfortable.

On the other hand, do you have the feeling that your Uncontrollably faster or shallower breathing you’re definitely overdoing the stretch and it’s best to take some pressure off with a smooth, flowing motion. The following also applies: If you already have sore muscles or are even injured, you should avoid your stretching program.

3 stretching exercises for better mobility

Come here three static stretching exercises, to help you improve your flexibility and range of motion.

1. For the back

  1. Lie on your back on the floor, arms straight at your sides, knees bent. Make sure your back stays on the ground.
  2. Now bend your knees to the left as far as they will go; ideally, your legs should touch the ground. At the same time, turn your head to the right.
  3. Hold the position for at least ten seconds, and then switch sides: knees go to the right, head to the left.

Each side is stretched five times in this way.

2. For legs and buttocks

  1. The deep lunge is suitable for the buttocks and legs. To do this, first push yourself into a high push-up with your arms extended and your hands under your shoulders.
  2. Take a step forward and place it between your hands at a right angle.
  3. Now lower your pelvis so that your body forms a straight line. You should feel a slight stretching pain in the front of your thigh.

Hold the position for at least 30 seconds, and then switch sides.

3. For shoulders and arms

  1. Stand at hip height, keeping your upper body straight and upright.
  2. Extend your right arm up, then fold your forearm behind your head.
  3. Raise your left arm and pull your right elbow a little more toward your head until you feel the stretch.

Hold the position for at least 30 seconds, and then switch sides.

Reading Tips: Want to try another flexibility workout? Then try Hatha Yoga or our belly, leg and buttocks workout!

Sources

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