Flexibility was often one of the more overlooked aspects of training up until recently. As training plans have developed and people realised that improving flexibility can have major benefits in improving overall health and fitness, more and more people are putting in that extra bit of effort when it comes to flexibility and making sure they do the pre and post workout stretches.
Less Back Pain
One of the most common problems is lower back pain. Constantly being in the same position can cause the muscles to tighten up and cause tension in the muscles themselves. Try and move as much as possible because it is easier to prevent than cure a problem.
Increased Range of Motion
Increasing range of motion is not only good for athletes and sports people but beneficial for everyone in general. Having longer, leaner muscles can improve general muscle size and definition.
This is probably where flexibility is best known. Majority of coaches/trainers will get the client to do a warm up and stretch before hand and a cool down and stretch afterwards. This is to make sure the muscles are warmed up prior to training and even though injury may still occur, it will decrease the likelihood. Stretching immediately after training is to prevent tiredness or soreness in the muscles, although again, this is not 100%.
Tension in the muscles affects circulation, which can prevent nutrients and oxygen from properly moving through the body. When the muscles are more flexible, they relax and create improved circulation. The act of stretching also encourages circulation by helping blood move to the muscles and joints.
Guidelines for Flexibility Training
• Don’t overdo it; work within your limits
• Breathe comfortably. Exhale as the muscle lengthens to assist in relaxation
• Perform flexibility exercises for each muscle group for total-body improvements
• Work with warm muscles because they lengthen more easily and with less discomfort. The best time to do flexibility training is after the cardiorespiratory workout
• Modify. You can alter the difficulty of a stretch by paying attention to movement
• Available ROM (individual limits)
• Degree of exercise difficulty
Hopefully these few useful tips can help you prepare and recover better in your training and get the most value from your workouts.