Exercises that increase flexibility are key to a good warm-up. One thing often overlooked in regards to stretch is the importance of strengthening the muscle through the newly created range of motion. If you don’t strength the muscle through the new range of motion you are creating you potentially could cause instability and eventually injury. Active stretching has been to created to strengthen the muscle while creating the new range of motion. Here are three active stretches you should be doing before any cardio or strength activities.
Spiderman – This exercise has been called the greatest stretch in the world.
Lateral Lunge – Lateral flexibility and movement is often neglected in most workout programs. If all you are doing is cardio you might never move laterally.
Sumo Squat – Children often learn to stand starting in this position. The flexibility created from this stretch is great for creating a healthy range of motion for many different lower body exercise.
Active stretching is more of a challenge than static stretching. These movements are harder to maintain, so they aren’t held as long as a static stretching exercise. Usually about 10 seconds is needed for proper effectiveness, and never more than 20 seconds.
Remember, you should always do some form of stretching before a work out. It will help you have a better workout, be less sore, and prevent many injuries.
Another way to prevent soreness and improve muscle health is to “roll out” using a foam roller. The Myofascial Release Roller is a unique fitness component. Though not many people know what “myofascial” means, nearly everyone experiences the effects of myofascial pain and restricted motion. The foam Myofascial Release Roller allows you to massage, stretch and ultimately release tense muscles. This is especially important after a workout, when all the muscles are contracted. Without releasing those muscles and getting the blood circulating throughout your body again, your workouts will become less effective and you are likely to suffer pain or injury.