Stretching seems to be a conundrum in today’s “fitness” community.
Many people advocate against stretching, saying that it is mostly useless, while others preach yoga and continuous stretching both before and after exercise.
Although, realistically the medium is the where most of the benefits lie.
Both having a proper stretching routine done frequently, but not too often, will lead to the maximum potential in flexibility, mobility, and mitigation of injury.
Why Should I Use A Strategic Stretching Routine?
Can you touch your toes? Can you bend over backward? Does it hurt to pick something off the ground? How about going from straight arm pike into a handstand?
Each of these resembles an important point of why a purposeful stretching routine is detrimentally important.
By creating time for a stretching routine, putting it into your calendar and continuously following through on it, you will ensure great results.
Coach Sommer of Gymnasticbodies is all for stretching, although he advocates once per week for middle splits, front splits and thoracic and not many past that.
While GMB likes to advocate stretching before and after exercise as well as a purposeful routine on both days.
And then there are a million different cookie cutter before and after workout stretches along with yoga routines.
Although, what’s the best stretching routine?
Your Perfect Stretching Routine
Starting with creating a schedule for stretching is a key.
Will you stretch before and after exercise? How about on days when you aren’t training?
I would prefer both of these, in fact, my exact schedule looks like this:
- Wake Up and do both a full body stretch, with joint mobilizations and warm-up with some movements
- A pre-workout warm up every day I train with stretching
- A post-workout cool-down with stretching every training day
- A 45-60 minute stretching routine on off days
- 5-15 minutes of foam rolling before bed
- 10-20 minutes of squatting a day
Which is a lot.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a bit obsessive with progressions and ensuring that I can be the best I can be, although you can do much less just by practicing persistence at your routine.
How You Should Craft Your Mobility and Stretching Routine
To figure out some stretching routine first, pick 3-5 areas that you want to make more mobile and flexible.
This can include:
- Squat Position
And much much more.
Figuring this out will let you know where to start.
Then after that, I would recommend practicing the mobility of that joint.
Move through your full range of motion a few times a day, with purposeful and mindful movement.
Flexing your foot passively is much different flexing your foot with the intention to make it more flexible.
After that, aim to work through all planes of motion with the part of your body.
Every routine will look different, and when starting you may not have much flexibility or mobility in certain areas, keep persisting and try to floss through the movement.
Add in some foam rolling to loosen up the area necessary, and gradually you will see continuous improvements.
To dive into this more, I will be releasing articles containing exact routines and movements to help improve mobility and flexibility in each of these areas (for now check out gmb.io.)
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