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Stretching Leg Muscles In 5 Easy Steps

February 16, 2012

The most important part of the work out is stretching. In order to get bigger muscles you need to lengthen them and the way to do that is to stretch. I’l be honest with you, I’m not a big fan of stretching but you gotta do it and I try to stretch at least twice a week. If your just starting out try to stretch at least once a week as its better then not stretching at all. Stretching will not only lengthen your muscles but will help prevent injuries as well.

1. When to stretch ?

The best time to stretch is before a work out and after the work out. You want to stretch a little before so that your muscles don’t cramp up during an exercise but most importantly it helps prevent injuries. The next phase is to stretch after the workout and this is part of the cool down cycle. When your done working out you do not just stop and walk away you have to cool down. The best way to do that is to stretch and during this time you’r focusing on a nice long stretch.

2. How long should I stretch for ?

There really is no right or wrong answer to this question. I prefer to stretch for at least 5 min before the work out and about 10-20 min after the work out. Since your muscles are cold in the beginning you don’t want to do any intense stretching, just the basics to warm your joints up. However, after the work out your all warmed up and its the perfect time to take 20 min to stretch all the muscles or at least the muscle group you targeted that day. Now the questions comes up how long do I hold each stretch ? This is another question thats debatable, In my opinion its good to hold it for 30 sec to a min or longer depending on how you feel the stretch. Basically you should be relaxed and comfy while performing the movement. If for some reason it hurts you should only hold it for a short amount of time.

3. Two types of stretching

Static stretching – Is the most common type of stretching where you go to a certain point and hold it for a certain amount of time.

Dynamic stretching – Unlike static stretching you bounce and increase the movement speed and reach as your stretching.

I have figured out that dynamic stretching is use full before a workout and static is good to use after the workout. The reason dynamic is good before a workout is because your muscles are cold and if you decide to hold a position you might feel pain. Hence, with dynamic stretching you go to a certain point then come back up and try to go further and you do that using a bouncing motion. This not only stretches your muscles but warms you up.

On the other hand static stretching is good to use after the workout to cool down. During this time you try to go to a good point where you start to feel some pain and then hold it for a few sec or a min. Its good to do this while the body is warm as so are your muscles thus resulting in improved range of motion.

4. What happens when I don’t stretch?

When no stretching is incorporated into the training your muscles become shorter and tighter resulting in a small range of motion. This is bad as you wont be able to move very efficiently and the tighter muscles will hinder your ability in working out and performing different movements. Depending on which muscles you work out the most they will pull in different directions. For example if all you do is chest then your chest will cave in and you’l have a rounded back. In order to prevent this you either have to stretch or workout the back muscles so they pull in opposite direction.

5. Best leg stretches of all time

This include the quads, hamstrings, gluts and calfs. Because it is hard to explain each stretch I recommend you go on youtube and look some up. This way you will have a good idea of what it suppose to look like. Plus a video will do a better job in explaining than words.

Good luck and Stay motivated !!

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