Common Mistakes People Make When Stretching

common-mistakes-people-make-when-stretchingIf you want to improve your flexibility and enhance your stretching programme, then this article will cover many of the major mistakes that most people make.

If you are able to eliminate these simple mistakes from your stretching and flexibility routines, you will reduce your chances of incurring an injury, and also help with your overall health and well-being.

Some Common Stretching Mistakes

Here is a list of some of the more common mistakes people make when stretching:

Incorrect warm up

If you fail to warm up correctly, and simply leap into your stretching routine, you can significantly increase the chances of picking up an injury.

Static stretching is something that should be done only following a warm up. If you engage in dynamic stretching like jumping, skipping, sumo squats and the like, then you can start with this form of stretching. If not, prepare with a simple warm up routine in order to gently increase your heart rate and your core body temperature.

Not enough rest between workouts

When stretching, you need to take enough rest, as you do with regular fitness training (such as weight lifting) . Stretching can be strenuous in some circumstances, so your body must have a sufficient amount of time to recover and repair – don’t over do it.

Overstretching

Overstretching can, under certain circumstances lead to both muscle and tendon damage. Muscle tears and strains are injuries that most people need to be careful to avoid as they can be painful and will take time to heal.

The most common stretches that cause such damaging strains are hamstring stretches, and those engaging the lower back. If you do overstretch, then you need to rest right away, and use ice and compression to reduce the effects of any tissue damage and swelling.

Tendons and other connective tissue are also at risk, as they connect the muscles to the bones. When a stretch is too vigorous, tendons can be over stretched, causing a strain.

One very common tendon strain occurs with the Achilles tendon, usually when doing ankle and leg stretches.

Doing the wrong stretches

There are a number of dangerous stretches that also need to be avoided. There are also stretches that should be done later in your workout when you are fully warmed up, and your muscles are loose and supple.

One of the most dangerous stretches to avoid is the back bend, as it can lead to pinched nerves, and neck injuries. Another such stretch is rotation of the neck. This can lead to injury in the cervical disks, so they need to be performed in the correct way… and very carefully.

Stretching when cold

When stretching, you will often lower your heart rate, which is the opposite of what you need when trying to reduce your chances of injury.

As noted previously, you should also think about using static stretches when you have completed your training session or workout as this will ensure you are warm enough, and your core temperate will not lower too far, or too fast.

And finally…

There are many sports studies that have shown how static stretches, performed before exercise, can increase the risks of injury. It is much better to warm up in a dynamic way by jogging, skipping or using some other form of dynamic stretching such as jumping or squatting.

Finally, always remember that stretching is a very important component of health and fitness training, so it should certainly form part of everyone’s warm up routine, but it needs to be done with care.

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