Stretching is one of the facets of fitness that has elicited much debate. In the past, stretching was hailed as one of the best ways of increasing muscular flexibility, increasing strength and speed, and preventing injury.
But as more research went into the subject, most of these views were discredited for being inaccurate.
The Problem with Static Stretching
The disdain that follows static stretching is not without cause. Many research studies have demonstrated how static stretching reduces performance, speed and increases the risk of injury. Thus performing dynamic stretches before a weight training session is more detrimental than hitting the weights straight away.
There is however a form of stretching that is enthroned. Dynamic stretching or active stretching is more advisable because it replicates the movements that will actually be executed. For instance, on leg day, you can start by performing sit squats. These kinds of stretches encourage greater flow of blood to the muscles raising their temperature and making them more primed for the work ahead. They should be performed after a workout as a cool-down as well.
Fascial stretching has also been implicated in improved muscle performance if done right.
The fascia is the tough fibrous connective tissue that holds your muscles in place. Since it is buried deep within the skin, accessing this tissue is incredibly difficult, and stretching it correctly, even more so.
Fascial stretching will make your muscles seem fuller, and will make the definition of individual muscle groups more pronounced. Unlike other kinds of stretches, fascial stretches should be performed after the particular muscle group has been worked out. It is only after a muscle has been sufficiently stimulated that it gets the most ample supply of blood. And it is at this time that stretching the fascia is most likely to work.
Some of the well known fascial stretching exercises include the dumbbell pullover, dumbbell fly, one arm extension, sissy squats, standing calf raises, and cable crossovers. When executing these exercises, you should feel the muscle stretched from its point of origin. For instance, in the dumbbell fly, the feeling is experienced at the sternum. Instructional videos are offered in different fitness websites, if you care to look.
When you are serious about muscle building, you should endeavor to learn any trick that will bring you closer to your ambitions. The two stretching methods discussed here will help challenge your muscles in greater ways.
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