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
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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