Stretching is a vital part of taking care of your health. Regular stretching may help you prevent muscle tears, improve your athletic prowess, and make moving about easier as you age. Stretching can also help you relax and become more mobile. However, the only way to receive these benefits is by avoiding these five common stretching mistakes.

Not Warming Up Before the Warm-Up

Some people make the mistake of using stretching as their version of a warm-up. While that can be somewhat beneficial, you should always begin the regimen with some very light dynamic movements that allow you to stretch more effectively. 

A pre-stretching routine can relax your muscles and increase the blood flow throughout your body, allowing you to be nimble. These true warm-up movements shouldn’t be excessive, as anything light, such as a jog or some easy calisthenics, will suffice. 


woman run treadmill


Sweating the Technique

When you stretch and feel the strain in your muscles, it’s easy to assume everything is going according to plan. However, bad technique and improper form can hinder any stretching session. 

It’s never OK to stretch in ways that hurt. A muscle tear may occur if the person stretches too far or uses too much force. A stretch may make you feel awkward, but you shouldn’t have to tough it out to finish or hold the movement. Don’t overextend yourself; work within your body’s comfortable range of motion. If you feel muscular stiffness in a specific location, repeat the stretching process many times without increasing the intensity.

Holding Your Breath

Overexerting ourselves while using wooden stall bars to stretch may lead many of us to hold our breath subconsciously. Any stretch that pushes you past your comfort zone may cause you to do just that. However, conscious breathing is part of the reason stretching benefits your health.

Breathing improves circulation and brings oxygen to working muscles. Taking slow, deep breaths through the nose while you stretch can help your muscles release tension and promote movement. Otherwise, stiff muscles could be in your future.


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A Bad Bounce 

Another bad habit that some might do without even realizing it is bouncing while they stretch. Too much bouncing when stretching might cause muscular strain. Because of the added impact, the muscle may contract to avoid further injury, negating the benefits of the stretch. Bouncing when stretching is your body’s way of telling you that you’re going too far. 

Instead, stretch into it slowly rather than bouncing. Hold the stretch for 10 to 15 seconds, then release and repeat. 

Pushing Yourself Too Far 

You’ll want to take it easy to avoid making existing aches worse. If you’ve recently strained a muscle, it’s best to stop what you’re doing and rest. The tissue is most vulnerable, and any additional movement might cause severe injury and agony.

It’s acceptable to stretch the strained muscle just after the injury happened, and it may even help alleviate some of the discomfort if you stretch gently. Stop stretching immediately if you feel any severe discomfort. Meanwhile, if you suspect a tear is possible, do not attempt anything constituting a stretching motion because you could do additional damage. 


Getting Back To Sports And Training After An Injury


Avoiding these five common stretching mistakes everyone ensures that your muscles remain strong and, more importantly, intact. Incorporating proper stretching in any workout routine can pay dividends, giving you a leg up to set new personal records. 


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