Even common stretching routines for runners can result in injury if not done properly, so you have to know how you can avoid them. If you’ve been feeling pain there’s a good chance you’re doing it wrong, so just follow the guidelines below to avoid hurting yourself.
1. Not Doing Enough Stretches
When should stretching be done? Ideally, it should be done before and after running or exercise to warm up your muscles and to cool them down afterwards. Stretching needs to be a part of your workouts, and you have to do it for 8 to 10 minutes.
2. Doing Too Much Static Stretches
Static stretches refer to holding the stretched position for long periods, and it could have a negative effect on your performance, be it running, weight lifting or sprinting. To avoid this, do more dynamic stretching and move your legs and arms in a wide range. If you want to do static stretching, it should be after your activity or as a separate workout routine.
3. Stretching the Same Muscles Repeatedly
One of the most common stretching mistakes is stretching the same muscles over and over. Focusing just on your legs and ignoring your arms could have repercussions in your performance. Fortunately, it is easy to avoid this problem, and that is by stretching in pairs.
This means that if you are going to stretch a muscle group, you have to stretch the opposite muscles. If you do a lot of running, golf swings or other repetitive acts, you’ll want to focus on movements and stretches that improve balance.
4. Forced Stretching
Never force a stretch. Only stretch as far as you can without feeling pain. There will be some discomfort yes, but as long as you don’t force yourself, there should not be any problems. So pay attention to what your body is saying. Everyone has a different threshold of pain and discomfort, so listen to it.
5. Not Doing Stretches Properly
There are different types of stretches, and it is up to you to decide which ones to use. What’s important is you do it right to avoid injury and stress. For instance, stretching too much will be hard on your knees and hips.
If possible, you should work out with a trainer who will supervise your movements and make sure your body is aligned properly. If you have to work out alone, focus on the movements and make certain it’s correct.
6. Moving Too Quickly Between Stretches
Speed is essential when you’re working out, but for stretches, it’s better to move slowly. Take a few seconds to rest between stretches and focus more on getting the position right rather than speed.
What is the proper stretching exercise? That is the question runners often ask, and the answer is it depends on the type of workout you do. As we mentioned earlier, you have to focus on the muscle groups you’ll be using. However you also have to work out your whole body, and doing this makes a huge difference.