I remember my college track days; we would warm up for 10-15 minutes and then go through a series of static stretches. Static stretches are any movement where we stretch the muscle and hold the stretch. I would always try to increase my flexibility during these times. Even though I stretched well, I'd sometimes suffer from strained hamstrings.
When we train, stress and force cause micro-tears in the muscles. This is actually a good thing, as it's how our muscles get stronger and grow. But, little did I know, static stretching can also cause micro-tears. This can be good or bad, depending on when we perform stretches.
What is the best way to stretch for flexibility and performance? After warming up, try dynamic stretching instead of static stretching. Dynamic stretches are any exercise where you're moving your body through a range of motion. This can be arm swings, leg swings, and rotations. The idea is to promote increased range of motion without holding a stretch in one place.
Static stretches are best done after training. While the muscles are still warm, you can improve flexibility by holding stretches for 10-15 seconds.
By making this simple change, you can help prevent injuries and improve performance!
Another way to improve performance is through supplementation. BetaTOR has helped me maintain strength while leaning down- something I haven't been able to do before!
Thank you for reading! Until next time... Train hard, y'all!
-Erin Stern, IFBB Figure Pro/USATF Competitor