Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Stretching/ Flexibility is the most undervalued and in many cases, the most neglected, aspect of a person's workout and overall fitness. It's common knowledge that we're supposed to do it before and after a workout, but the questions can sometimes be - why? and how?

Let's start with the why. Flexibility is the ability of our soft tissue to move in a pain-free, full range of motion. This improves our performance and helps prevent injury during workouts. And when it comes to fat loss, if you lack the flexibility/mobility to do full range of motion in the key exercises like Squats, Push-Ups, and Lunges, then your limited in being able to burn fat effectively. In other words, your success in fitness & weight loss starts with the flexibility and mobility of your body.


The next thing to understand is the various types of stretching.

1) STATIC STRETCHING : Holding a stretch at the end of a range of movement. (This is normally the type of stretch you see people do)

2) DYNAMIC STRETCHING : Using movement to go back and forth between the end range of movement.

3) PASSIVE STRETCHING: Type of Static Stretching which utilizes an external force to provide the stretch (partner, gravity)

4) ACTIVE STRETCHING: Requires you to generate the force to provide the stretch. In many cases, the muscle is contracted when a stimulus is applied to it forcing it to contract, which in turn relaxes/stretches another muscle.

Another form of stretching I would add to that is Corrective Stretching, which is specific flexibility movements designed to correct and improve different forms of physiological imbalances, recondition certain muscular systems, and provide myofascial release to aid in the rehabilitation of many join pains we experience through overtraining and loss of flexibility.

As we enter our 30s and 40s our body naturally looses lubrication and elasticity. This is when it's crucial to start placing a high priority on proper stretching, flexibility, and mobility both prior to and following and workout routine. It enhances our workout, improves function, and makes our body feel better!

Jeff McDaniel
FastFit Training & Fitness

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