Bodybuilding Stretching

Bodybuilding Stretching

Stretching is one of the most neglected areas of the bodybuilding workout. If you watch a lion as he wakes from a nap and gets to his feet, you will see he immediately stretches his whole body to its full length, readying every muscle, tendon, and ligament for instant and brutal action. The lion knows instinctively that stretching primes his strength.

Muscle, tendon, ligament, and joint structures are flexible. They can stiffen, limiting your range of motion, or they can stretch, giving you a longer range of motion and the ability to contract additional muscle fiber. That's why stretching before you train allows you to train harder. Stretching also makes your bodybuilding training safer. As you extend your muscles fully under the pull of a weight, they can easily be pulled too far if your range of motion is limited. Overextension of a tendon or ligament can result in a strain or sprain and seriously interfere with your bodybuilding workout schedule. But if you stretch the areas involved first, the body will adjust as heavy resistance pulls on the structures involved.

Flexibility will also increase if the various stretching exercises are done properly. A muscle can contract, but it cannot stretch itself. It has to be stretched by the pull of an opposing muscle. When you train through a full range of motion, the muscle that is contracting automatically stretches its opposite. For example, when you do curls, your biceps contract and your triceps stretch. When you do Triceps Extension, the opposite happens. By using techniques that engage the full range motion, you will increase your flexibility.

But that isn't enough. Muscles contracted against heavy resistance tend to shorten with the effort. Therefore, stretching before your bodybuilding workout - to allow you to train harder and more safely - and stretching after you train as well - to stretch out those tight and tired muscles. But as important as stretching before and after the workout may be, it is also essential to do certain kinds of stretching during your bodybuilding training. It is recommend to flexing and posing the muscles between sets, stretching certain muscles between one set and the next. The lats, for example, benefit from careful stretching interspersed with various Chin-Up and Pulldown movements.

It is, after all, details like these that set bodybuilding champions apart, and the difference will be immediately visible when you pose onstage in competition. The difference will be not only in how you look - the utmost in separation and definition - but will also show in the grace and sureness of your presentation. It's not recommend to spend too much time and energy stretching unless you have a severe flexibility problem or are trying to rehabilitate an injured area. For most purposes, spending about 10 minutes doing 10 basic stretching exercises for the bigger muscles before and after you work out is enough.

Bodybuilding stretching requires slow, gentle movements rather than quick, bouncing ones. When you put sudden stress on a muscle or tendon, it contracts to protect itself, thereby defeating your purpose. On the other hand, if you stretch it out carefully and hold that position for 30 seconds or more, the tendon will gradually relax and you will gain flexibility.

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