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Every athlete knows that rest days are just as important to your training schedule as any other day. But do you know what else can be just as important for your training? Stretching.
While you might not think to include stretching as part of your exercise routine, it can help relieve muscle stiffness and soreness. It is best to be symmetric with your stretching giving each side equal stretching time.
There are two types of stretching: static and dynamic. Dynamic stretching is an active muscular effort used to stretch and the end position is not held. Dynamic stretching enhances performance by increasing power, acceleration and agility, improving flexibility and increasing your range of motion. Static stretching is a stretch performed with a prolonged hold to increase the muscle length of a specific muscle. Static stretching maximizes flexibility and can be used for specific muscle injuries.
While you are performing static stretching, make sure to follow these simple rules:
It is a good idea to focus on the major muscle groups while stretching after a workout. Rebecca Sanders, DPT, STC, Physical Therapist in Sports Medicine at NorthShore, recommends the following static stretches post workout for athletes of all levels – pro or beginner:
How often do you stretch? What benefits have you seen from regular stretching?