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Bodybuilding Stretching Routine

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Stretching for Bodybuilding

ďFlexĒ is important to bodybuilding - both flexing the muscles and flexibility. Of the two, flexibility definitely gets the less attention. Thatís because stretching and flexibility donít show as immediate results as pumping up the arms and flexing them in current time. However, flexibility definitely adds to the bodyís capabilities. In fact a good stretching program can enhance and quicken your muscle growth so you wonít want to be one of those who ignores this powerful training tool.

Being flexible allows for a wider range of motion in any of a variety of exercises. You donít want to short-change your muscles into a minimal range of motion for any movement. Being flexible allows you to get the most benefit out of any and every exercise. Being flexible also helps prevent you from a training or general injury.

You donít need to spend a ton of time stretching to gain the benefits of improved flexibility. However, you do have to stretch ďsmartĒ. This means distinguishing between static stretching and dynamic stretching and getting the timing right. Dynamic (active movement) stretching and flexibility needs to be performed directly before hard core workouts. The dynamic movement prepares the muscles for the coming task, and beneficially elevates the bodyís temperature. A short session of dynamic movement directly prior to training is the best way to go.

Static (stationary) stretching also greatly enhances the bodyís capabilities. Consistent static stretching has been shown to improve sprint times, for instance. However, there is a huge caveat here - static stretching should not be performed prior to a hard core workout. Static stretching should be performed away and apart from competition or big resistance training workouts due to the latent effect of static stretching (benefits accrue at least 60 minutes after the stretching). That is, it takes an hour or more before the gains from static stretching take place. If you train prior to that time, the stretching may in fact impair your workout. So do your static stretching separate from your other primary training.

What type of static stretching exercises should you employ? Break your body into three areas - arms, upper torso, and hip/lower body. You donít need to spend a ton of time on these areas but you do need to be consistent. Here is a quick, compact static stretching routine you can do regularly.

Shoulder-chest stretch

Stand in a doorway, about a foot or so from the doorframe. Bend your arm at a 90 degree angle and raise it until your upper arm is parallel with the floor. With the leg that is on the side of the raised arm, step in toward and in front of your body, slowly stretching the pecs out as you do. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side of the body.

Shoulder/chest/hip/low back all-in-one stretch

Lie on the floor, facing upward. Spread the arms out and stabilize the hand of one arm under a heavy bracing ledge. Raise the leg on the same side as the braced arm, and then rotate the hips and upper body away from the braced arm, keeping one leg straight. Hold this position for 30 seconds, and then repeat on the opposite side.

Toe Touch

This simple exercise is one of the best and works hamstrings, arms, hips and more. You sit on the floor, legs stretched out straight in front of you. For best results put your feet up against something solid like the wall. Bend forward at the waist and see how far down you can touch. Some people struggle to get much past the knees while others can place their palms down by their feet. The toe touch is a standard stretching test and a great exercise. Hold for 30 seconds. These three exercises provide a quick and effective static stretching routine. Consider performing this group at least once a day, but not right before a hard core workout.

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Disclaimer: This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.

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