May 112010

When it comes to training, there are some auxiliary techniques that can be used to improve your performance, which many people tend to overlook for one reason or another. Stretching, the simplest of these techniques, also seems to be the least utilized one, as many choose to leave it out of their workout sessions, deeming it unnecessary. But how true is this? Can you really train effectively without stretching, or should you put some proper effort into it as well?

The truth is, stretching can easily become your #1 side-contributor to performance. That is, if you do it properly, stretching can help you improve a lot. There have been various studies that prove this conclusively – scientists have compared groups of people who stretch while working out against people that don’t, and have found out that stretching does in fact contribute to one’s progress to a great extent – regardless of the sport you’re practicing; it can be applied in many different sports.

However, as conclusive as this evidence is, there are still some things that the bodybuilding communities are divided over – mainly when should one apply stretching. Some claim that the best time to do it is right before your workout, while according to others you should wait until after you’re done training, as your muscles will already have warmed up and will stretch more easily.

It turns out that both methods can be equally effective, it really depends on your own body type and preferences, as well as the sport you’re practicing. The best way to find out is to just try – go one week with stretching before working out, then one week stretching afterwards, and see which suits you better. There really isn’t a reliable way to tell which method will be more suitable for you, so the best thing to do is to just experiment – which is valid for many other elements of training and bodybuilding as well.

Stretching can also be very useful in dealing with injuries and post-injury trauma, as well as preventing injury in the first place. If you train after stretching properly, you’re much less likely to succumb to any injury during your workout – plus, if you take some time to stretch after your workout as well, you should feel more relaxed after your workout and your muscles won’t be so tense and sore – which will go a great length towards helping them build properly.

Of course, don’t rely on stretching as an absolute solution to your problems. It should only be used as a side tool, one that helps you do better in your main workout. Use it like that appropriately, and you should notice definite signs of improvement in your performance and abilities – and you should be able to get used to it quickly and incorporate it into your workout as best as you can.

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