Stretches are exercises that should be covered in all training units. They should be done according to the type of activity we intend to do and according to our goals.
Despite numerous studies on the subject, there is no agreement on the training heights and the duration of the exercises performed. Let's try to clarify some of these questions. What stretches should we do? At what time of training? What kind of stretches?
Regardless of the type of training we are going to perform, it seems to be generally agreed that stretching is a key element in the training structure. As we said earlier, these should be as specific as possible, according to the physical / sports activity practiced. In this sense, it seems congruent to point out that there should be different stretches at the beginning and end of a training session.
At an early stage, encompassed by the warm-up itself, we should opt for dynamic stretching exercises. Giving prevalence, on the other hand, to static stretching in the final phase of it. Dynamic stretching, according to many experts, gradually prepares an organism for more vigorous exercise, increases blood circulation and heart rate, activates the nervous system, makes the organism available for greater joint amplitudes and improves muscle strength. In turn, static stretching promotes muscle relaxation, decreasing nervous system activation and developing a sense of calm and well-being. These near-maximum muscle stretches minimize the risk of associated tendon shortening, subsequently preventing or decreasing muscle pain.
For these reasons and because the physiology is very clear in this regard, stretching should be done before and after training, as shortened and tense muscles limit the range of motion, affect posture and in some cases can even lead to physical discomfort.
Anyone can perform stretching regardless of their age or physical condition. What should vary is the intensity with which they are performed. A sedentary person should start with lighter exercises and keeping in a static position for shorter periods of time (preferably not exceeding 30 seconds). More experienced individuals will be able to perform them more intensely, insisting for up to approximately 60 seconds.
Stretching is a simple activity to perform, it can be done anywhere (gym, free space, home, etc ...), and at an early stage should be accompanied by a professional.
By Hugo Ferreira, Personal Trainer at Academia Bodylab