Stretching, why? How often? who should do?

End of each personal training session, I will help you flexibility by a partner stretch. 

Why should you stretch

When a muscle becomes shortened and inflexible, it cannot lengthen appropriately or generate adequate force. This inflexible and weakened state often leads to injury. 

How often is stretch recommended

Muscles can shorten in as little as two to four weeks when held in passively shortened positions without being stretched or used through a full or functional range of motion.

It is recommended 2 – 3 times a week but it is more effective when it is performed everyday.  Once you get “normal range of flexibility”,  it is relatively easy to maintain your muscle’s flexibility by stretching 2 – 3 times a week. 

Some may believe stretching just hard would work the best but it is not the case.  It is recommended 4 on scale of 1 – 10, and long stretch favors more lasting flexibility.  Instead of stretching the same muscle for 2 min and longer, switch it to the next target muscle.  Hold for 30 – 60 seconds for each muscle you want to target.  

Should you stretch all major muscles?

Stretching all major muscles is really not realistic since everyone has limited time in a day.  Some people may have postural deviation and for them, stretching the opposite muscle from the tight one doesn’t make sense.  

For instance, most of us are victims of this society that makes us sit down, use computers, cellphones, and read books.  In a sitting down position, your glutes are lengthened, then why do you want to stretch the muscle group? (except piriformis muscle and hip mobility exercise), or your slouching position shortens the chest muscles and I don’t see the point of stretching rhomboids, mid traps. 

Instead, what you want to stretch are 

I attached hyperlinks for each muscle’s stretch / mobility exercises.  Remember as you use those muscles by strength training regularly, they would have and keep normal range of motion.