Bend, Twist, Flex, Extend…
Do you want to move like a human pretzel? Or do you just want to know some of the best stretches you can do on your Total Gym? Regardless of your ultimate fitness goals, flexibility training is such an important concept in your daily life.
Maximize your workout potential by stretching your muscles daily. Stretching is what keeps muscles mobile, workouts efficient, and prevents injury from daily activities.
Your muscles have memory that leads you on a good workout path. If you neglect lengthening them before or after a workout, you could set yourself up for a potential injury or a pulled muscle. Here are some excellent rules to follow pertaining to stretching properly.
There are different types of stretching styles that offer lengthening benefits. Some of these include:
- Static – Stretches that are still and held for 10 seconds or longer
- Dynamic – Energetic movement in all ranges & planes of motion
- Ballistic – Bouncing during the stretch
- Yogic – A series of poses that have specific intentions to lengthen, strengthen, and cleanse muscles, organs, and the mind
Any stretching movement or pose will deliver benefits to your muscles. A combination of dynamic, static and yoga poses is ideal to keep your body and mind limber… plus, you will perform, recover, and feel better! The biggest struggle for most, is that you just have to stay active and stretch daily.
THE DO’S & DON’TS OF STRETCHING
✓ DO make stretching a priority! Stretching is just as important, if not more, than your actual workout. A short stretch lengthens your muscles pre- and post-workout and reinforces muscle stimulation.
✓ DO perform a dynamic warm-up prior to the actual workout or perform a few simple movements to get the blood circulating before an extensive stretching session. Dynamic exercises promote active stretching, warm the muscles soon to be trained and reduce the chance of injury. Choose movements that actively engage the larger muscle groups of the body.
✓ DO hold each static stretch 10 to 30 seconds. This will ensure that you safely stretch your muscles without overstraining or forcing a movement that is not ready to happen yet.
✓ DO practice proper stretching technique to avoid the risk of injury from stretching!
✓ DO consider yoga. Basic yoga movements can be used as a dynamic warm-up or as a whole session dedicated to a specific practice. Regardless of what style yoga you perform, they all will improve alignment, strength and flexibility, range of motion, and balance the mind and body connection.
✓ DO learn specific stretches pertaining to what activities you perform daily. This not only prevents injury, it also helps improve flexibility in the body to perform better at a specific activity.
✓ DO de-stress with a stretch. The mind affects the body and the body affects the mind. Emotional stress causes muscles to contract and tense up, which could lead to chronic pain or injury. This is the perfect time to take a moment to breathe and stretch out to eliminate the stress.
✘ DON’T force it! Relax and breathe into the stretch to let the muscle lengthen slowly.
✘ DON’T stretch to the point of pain. Mild discomfort and a “pulling” sensation is a normal feeling, but if you keep pushing your body further into a stretch when it’s not ready, you could hurt yourself.
✘ DON’T skip strength exercises that involve passive stretching. For example, if you perform straight leg dead lifts, you’re actively working the hamstrings, and you are also training flexibility. Remember to stretch the muscles passively to reduce tightness or strain from the strength movement.
✘ DON’T stretch a cold muscle. Whether it’s before or after a workout, always make sure your muscles are warm so that the blood circulates to the tissues efficiently before stretching.
✘ DON’T wait. Take the time to stretch post-workout rather than waiting until later. Chances are, it will not happen. Spend time and just get it done.
✘ DON’T think… just do! Stretching has many benefits. By the time you think about stretching, you could already be doing it! So go ahead and stretch it out!
THE BEST TOTAL GYM STRETCHES
The Total Gym provides excellent ways to stretch your muscles. Depending on the incline height and how your body is positioned on the glideboard, the intensity of the stretch varies, meaning that the Total Gym will help resist or assist your muscles. Moving the glideboard while in a stretch also adds a deeper lengthening feel to your muscles.
I’ve listed the best stretches, in my opinion, to do on the Total Gym.
Check out the video to see how these stretches are performed.
Make a point to incorporate these and other stretching movements into your daily life. It will make a difference in how you look, feel, and move. Stretching regularly can be the ultimate game changer in unlocking your fitness potential and feeling better daily.
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