Stretching exercises are a way of preparing the muscles for the trauma that they are going to go through when exercising. If this is done at the right time and in the right ways, it can improve muscle growth. However, the wrong stretch moves or timing can have you end up with tears in your muscles and may even hinder the growth. So when should you be stretching?
Against the contrary beliefs, stretch before the workout when the muscles are still cold can limit their ability to perform. In the same way, when the workout ends, and you get your muscles stretching, you might be relieving a little stress, but all this has no significant benefits.
How can stretching help during the workout?
Stretching not only helps prepare the muscles for the workout ahead but can also alleviate strain and soreness. It promotes blood circulation to make the body more flexible and improve its range of motion.
However, stretching, if done the right way, should not be painful for the body at all. While working out, the muscles should only stretch to a limit that makes the activity not painful but slightly discomforting.
Which type of stretching should you perform and when?
Stretching is of two kinds: Static and Dynamic. The former involves holding the stretch pose for a minute while the latter is more about stretching the body while it is moving to elevate its temperature.
To improve performance, you can use static stretching for the muscles antagonistically placed to the ones that are in use, between sets to give them more strength and have them prepared for the rounds. This form of stretching should be avoided before a workout as it can cause muscle injuries as well.
However, static stretching gives the best results when done during or after the workout. As per the research, static stretching during a workout activates the cells and increases the release of IGF-1 and myogenin, which are growth factors released from the tissue of the muscle itself.
Stretching the muscles with this intensity when they are cold can lead to adverse effects, and that is something you would want to avoid. To build better muscles and increase their growth, statically stretch them while following the signs of your body not to end up overstretching them. When training, it is important to push yourself to the right limits, it is then that you can train well and stay safe.