Stretching is a simple and effective activity that helps to enhance athletic performance, decrease the likelihood of soft tissue injury and minimise muscle soreness, slowly get into the stretch position and then hold each stretch for a minimum of 20 seconds, remember to adhere to the following rules to get the most from your stretching routine:
-never stretch an injury or damage soft tissue
-warm-up prior to stretching
-stretch before and after exercise
-stretch all major muscles and their opposing muscle groups
-stretch gently and slowly
-stretch only to the point of tension
-breath slowly and easily while stretching
Hold – Count – Repeat
“For how long should I hold each stretch?”
For any real benefit to our flexibility, we should hold each stretch for at least 20 -30 seconds.
“How often should I stretch?”
For example, the beginner should stretch each muscle group 2-3 times. However, if we are involved at a more advanced level in our sport we should stretch 3-5 times.
“For how long should I stretch?”
For the beginner, about 5-10 minutes is enough, and for the professional athlete, anything up to two hours.
Please be patient with stretching. Nobody can get fit in a couple of weeks, so do not expect miracles from a stretching routine. Looking long term, some muscle groups may need a minimum of three months of intense stretching to see any real improvement. So stick with it – it is well worth the effort.