We all know that it’s important to get our heart rate up and lift weights, but did you know that stretching also has an important role to play in building fitness?
Stretching may help improve your flexibility and range of motion, which not only helps you move better in the gym (leading to those PRs we all love to see!), but may also decrease your risk of injury and improve your health.
Stretching before and after your workout increases blood flow and helps your muscles move more efficiently. We also love the opportunity to limber up whilst having a chat with our fellow athletes.
How do I stretch?
Stretching with proper technique is key to ensuring that you are moving safely and receiving all of its benefits.
Use these tips to help you the next time you are stretching:
1. Don’t forget to warm up first
Old muscles do not like to be stretched. Make sure you warm up with a walk or a light jog beforehand. You could even park your car around the block from the gym and jog around to get your blood pumping. You might also choose to stretch after your workout to make sure you are recovering well and building flexibility in preparation for your next session.
2. Focus on the big muscles
Focus on the muscles that generate power like calves, thighs, hips, lower back and shoulders.
3. Focus on symmetry
We all know that we have a weaker side and all too often this is linked to poor range of motion on one side of our body. If you notice one shoulder can outlift the other, give that weaker side some extra attention through stretching to even everything out.
4. Hold on to your stretches
Hold onto your stretches for at least 60 seconds to give it time to work the magic!
5. Think about your workout
If the CrossFit workout involves lots of shoulders that day, it is best to focus your stretches on that same area, so grab some friends after the workout and stretch it out together.
6. Stay active
Stay active and engage stretches that move you through different positions. Taking cues from yoga and pilates, these dynamic stretches are the perfect way to compliment your CrossFit style training.