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HEALTH & FITNESS ARTICLES

Stretching for Performance

Stretching For Performance

Stretching addresses a variety of important factors that directly contribute to increased performance. First, stretching increases flexibility. For most competitive and noncompetitive sports, flexibility is of the utmost importance. In addition, pre and post-workout stretching can also help to reduce the risk of injury to participants. Finally, an appropriate stretching program can help to increase the range of motion for limbs and joints. Athletes should always utilize safe techniques and avoid straining muscles when stretching. Ultimately, a targeted stretching program can help athletes become more competitive and perform better.

Increasing Flexibility

The importance of flexibility should never be underestimated. A variety of competitive and noncompetitive sports require athletes to be incredibly flexible. Gymnasts aren’t the only athletes who need to be flexible. Runners, cyclists, bodybuilders and even rock climbers all need to increase their flexibility before workouts. Flexible bodies can handle the rigors of strenuous conditioning programs. Inflexible limbs and joints are also more prone to injury.

Reducing Risk of Injury

After a strenuous workout, stretching helps remove lactic acid from muscles. Lactic acid buildup can be responsible for painful muscle cramps and contractions. Stretching can also help increase blood flow and synovial fluid in joints. Increased lubrication of joints can help to prevent and mitigate painful arthritis symptoms. In addition, stretching also helps to relax the muscles. Tight muscles are easily strained during weightlifting and strength training workouts.

Increasing Range of Motion

Stretching also helps to increase the range of motion for limbs and joints. Range of motion is especially important for athletes that play competitive sports. Tennis players need a full range of motion to hit the ball. In addition, an increased range of motion can give a player serious competitive edge. A stiff football player may strain or pull a muscle if he or she doesn’t have adequate range of motion to complete a pass.

Stretching Safely

Ultimately, safe stretching techniques should always be practiced for maximum performance benefits. A personal trainer can teach beginners about safe stretches. Improper stretching techniques can lead to damaged muscle fibers, tendons and ligaments. It’s important to avoid over stretching. When properly performed, stretches reduce the incidence of injuries. Specific muscles groups need to be targeted in different ways. Different athletes will focus on different types of stretches. A basic yoga class is a great place to learn about stretching safely. A safe stretching protocol can help to improve performance in a variety of athletic endeavors. 


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