Learning How to Stretch : The Importance of Stretching
We’ve gone over proper form with the four basic bodyweight workouts, and it’s time I tell you how to stretch. Most people don’t stretch when doing bodyweight workouts, I actually just recently started doing it. The reason it gets overlooked with bodyweight exercises is because you don’t have as great of a chance of injuring yourself doing bodyweight workouts, as you do with weight-lifting. You’ve probably heard “Stretching prevents injury” at some point in your life, but it mainly gets its reputation with jogging and weight-lifting because you are more likely to notice the consequences of not stretching with those activities. While you can still injure yourself with bodyweight workouts, as long as you have proper form and aren’t pushing yourself too hard, you probably won’t notice the consequences.
What are the consequences I keep speaking of?
Your muscles won’t be as flexible, and since you built on the muscle over time, you’ll lose the flexibility slowly. Doing bodyweight workouts already promote flexibility, so if you’ve ever gotten into weight-lifting, you’ll notice how much more flexible you are with your new muscles compared to when you had been lifting weights. If you stretch before you do bodyweight workouts, you’ll be surprised at how much more flexible you’ll become.
I don’t like stretching though!
Most people don’t if they aren’t in the habit of it. That weird dull pain sucks, and if you already have a lot of muscle it’s even worse. Fear not, you get used to it pretty quickly, and then it goes away completely. At that point, you just stretch after workouts to keep your muscles flexible. It doesn’t take long and it gives you more time in the peaceful world of all the fun chemicals your body releases while working out.
How long do I have to stretch?
That’s really up to you. Even a little stretching is better than no stretching. I personally like to stretch before and after, some people only stretch before, some only after. It is BEST to stretch before and after, but if you are short on time, I’d suggest stretching after for bodyweight workouts. As I said above, the reason you stretch when lifting weights is to prevent injury. Since injury is less of a risk with bodyweight workouts, what I would deem the “most important” would be the post-workout stretch, which is when you stretch to spread out the lactic acids so it doesn’t build up in one place. That being said, if you plan to do a particularly intense workout, you should stretch before to help prevent against injury. You should relax though, if you are “short on time” just because you don’t really want to work out, then you probably won’t succeed in reaching your fitness goals. You should look at working out as time you set aside where you don’t need to worry about all the chaos in day to day life. It should be the time that you just let out your stresses and anxieties. If when starting out you don’t like the feeling of it, that’s normal, your body is actually stressing because it isn’t used to what you’re doing. Give your body time to get used to working out and you’ll enjoy it as long as you relax and let yourself enjoy it.