Stretching Savvy

Do You Know How to Stretch Properly?

Stretching should be a part of every workout routine. Regular stretching brings greater flexibility, which means more freedom of movement.


Proper technique is important when stretching to avoid injury. Following are four common stretching mistakes and tips for fixing them.


Mistake: Bouncing


Fix It: Adding a light bounce during a stretch increases risk of injury. Bouncing can push your body beyond its limits for your flexibility level. Even a light bounce can overstretch tendons and ligaments, making them less stable. Hold still during a stretch and maintain the position for up to 60 seconds.


Mistake: Stretching before a workout


Fix It: Stretching might seem like the best way to ease your muscles into a workout, but muscles that are not warm are like a rubber band that’s been in a freezer. Ease into warming up muscles up before stretching. Otherwise, they might snap. Do five to 10 minutes of light cardio, such as walking or cycling, then stop to stretch before resuming your workout.


Mistake: Holding your breath


Fix It: In addition to causing lightheadedness, holding your breath during a stretch could interfere with your progress. Instead, take slow, deep breaths, which will help you hold the position longer and more deeply. The more relaxed you feel, the farther you can stretch.


Mistake: Stretching too deeply


Fix It: When it comes to stretching, the adage “no pain, no gain” is false. Pain could be a sign that you’re pushing yourself too far or doing the stretch incorrectly. Ease up on the stretch to see whether the pain disappears. If it persists, ask a trainer or your health care professional about proper techniques. Stretching pain could mean there’s an injury in those muscle groups or joints.