A lot of people who weight train don’t take the time to stretch. “It’s unnecessary,” they think or “a waste of time.” Young weightlifters, in particular, tend to make this mistake. “I won’t pull anything or get injured,” they say (and, in some cases, that may be true). They’re missing the fact that there are more benefits to stretching than injury prevention! Here’s our guide on why stretching before working out is vital to gaining muscle mass.
Stretching, in short, is good for you. It improves muscle flexibility, reduces your risk of injury, and, in some cases, it can enhances your overall athletic performance. Beyond that, stretching your muscles can actually make them stronger, according to the Journal of Applied Physiology.
Stretching can significantly increase your muscle’s range of motion and realigns tissue inside muscle fibers. The stretching action takes place deep within muscle tissue and at the points where muscles meet bones. There are a number of different types of stretching including:
- Ballistic Stretching
- Dynamic Stretching: Dynamic stretching is a kind of stretch where you gradually move different parts of your body faster and faster to loosen them up and prepare them for exercise.
- Active Stretching: An active stretch is a stretch where you get into a position and then hold it there with no assistance other than using the strength of your agonist muscles
- Passive (or relaxed) Stretching
- Static Stretching
- Isometric Stretching
- PNF Stretching
It’s important to point out that there’s a difference between dynamic stretching and ballistic stretching, although people oftentimes confuse the two. Dynamic stretching, on the one hand, involves doing things like controlled arm and leg swings. While ballistic stretching, on the other, includes things like trying to force a part of the body beyond its range of motion. There aren’t, or shouldn’t be, any kind of quick, jerky movements with dynamic stretching. Controlled arm and leg swings, as well as torso twists, are good examples of dynamic stretches.
What Stretches Help My Muscles Grow Quickest?
As far as muscle growth goes, you should focus only on doing dynamic and active stretching. Unlike static stretching, active stretching involves movements that repeatedly put muscles through paces via air squats, leg kicks, and more. Active stretching can significantly improve your muscle’s performance via, among other things, increasing blood flow to the muscles, it raising body temperature, and enhancing free range of movements.
You should do your dynamic and active stretching before any other type of exercise. You might also want to consider doing a few light, increasingly intensive sets of weighted exercise before moving into whatever weights you eventually intend on doing. For example, if you want to bench 3 sets of 225lbs, you might want to start with some dynamic/active stretching, and then move onto 1 set of 135 lbs for about 10 reps before you go all the way up to 225 lbs.
A Few Active Stretches To Try For Yourself:
There you have it, the reasons why you need to stretch before working out! And for those of you looking to make some serious gains check out our extensive catalog of SDI Labs today!