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Stretching should become a regular routine for everyone, not just for professional athletes who already understand the benefits associated with performing a sequence of stretches, with the correct technique.

So often stretching is ignored at the gym, and is looked upon as feminine, however it is often the men lifting heavy weights that require the benefits associated with a good stretching routine.

Some of these benefits are physically apparent, such as a greater range of movement; whilst others can’t be seen, but are felt from within, such as an increased feeling of relaxation and general well being, similar to the feelings of a good massage or even a Yoga class.

The following key technique points should be remembered whilst stretching:


  • Begin with gradual mobility exercises of all the joints, i.e. simply rotate the wrists, bend the arm and roll your shoulders. This will allow the body's natural lubrication (synovial fluid) to protect the surface of your bones at these joints.
  • Always warm up the body prior to stretching, as this increases blood flow around the body, which in turn makes the muscles more supple.
  • After exercise, slowly bring your heart rate down before you begin stretching in order to avoid blood pooling within your muscles, which can lead to cramp and dizzy spells.
  • If you’re wet and sweaty, take a bath or shower then stretch, as the hot water will help relax the muscles, and prevent you from catching a chill.
  • Never bounce whilst you stretch, unless you are doing specific stretches for certain sports, i.e. ballistic stretching for martial arts.
  • Hold the stretch until you feel the muscle loosen off, then repeat for a further 15 seconds.
  • Whilst stretching you should feel some slight discomfort, if you don’t feel anything, then you may be doing the stretch incorrectly, or simply the muscle has eased off.
  • Stop immediately if you feel any severe pain.
  • Remember to breathe regularly and rhythmically, do not hold your breath.
  • If you have a bad memory, start with your legs, and work up the body, in order not to miss out any of the stretches.
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