Stretching and posture for strength gains

A very common thing in the fitness industry especially amongst people who do more strength building techniques for example lifting heavy weights, common also with younger people is after a session no stretching is done. It is vital after a strong weight lifting session especially to stretch the muscles out, why is this important? images

This is highly important due to the fact as when you train you are contracting or shortening those muscles. Pumping a lot of blood into the working muscles, this in turn will cause the contracting or shortening effect which most weight lifters know as a good ‘pump’. It feels great yes, you are working and growing those muscles to full effect during exercise. It is then afterwards where most people go wrong.

The benefits the body will have from a good stretch after a workout will be fantastic for your muscles, after a workout you need to lengthen those damaged muscles out. A foam roller is one way to do this, it is pretty much like a rolling pin, your rolling and flattening the muscles out. The damaged muscles are in a way being replenished for your next workout, not stretching can lead to inflexibility and cramp, having longer muscles will make you stronger, being more flexible will increase your strength and huge amount.

Done everyday especially hitting the muscles that you have trained is vital, but with a foam roller it is good to roll out the whole body to really keep your body in a good strong state. Muscles can be compared to elastic bands, the longer they can be stretch the more efficient they are. You’ll find that not even your strength will improve but your overall form and technique will massively improve, especially on the most important compound lifts such as the dead lift, squat, bench press and overhead press.  Unknown

Posture is also a key factor in stretching and efficiently looking after the muscles, the postural alignment of somebody who trains very hard is an interesting to look at. A reason being is that you will be able to see if any muscles are being overworked or underworked also if any are not being stretched in the right way. It is common place in younger more inexperienced people who train, if you are to train one muscle the other muscle should be trained exactly the same way.

One example I have seen a lot in the weight training side is young guys who only train chest biceps, triceps and shoulders. Most youngsters want that big chest and big arms look e.g. Looking good on the beach. Only training these muscles and hardly working the back, legs and core is horrendous for your physique and posture. I know this because I used to be one of those young kids. My back and legs were so weak compared to my chest and arms it created this hunched over effect in my body. My posture was all over the place with no core strength what so ever.

What I learnt is that if you work the largest muscles in your body, you will get the best results, so beginning to train your back, legs and working the core will completely change your physique, training larger muscles releases more hormones throughout the body stimulating muscle growth and strength throughout your core, this will in turn create much better posture and flexibility with in the body. Plus all the muscles we love to train like chest, shoulders and arms, the strength in those areas will be increased dramatically.

If your goal is to put on serious amounts of muscle, well just go and look at how flexible and bodybuilder is, that’s the common stigma in the fitness industry that strength athletes and bodybuilders are big stiff meat heads, this is totally wrong. The flexibility in their bodies allows them to achieve incredible amounts of power and strength with especially compound lifts, also their form is near enough perfect, this is all due to the flexibility and elasticity in their muscles, so the moral of this story is, do not judge a book by its cover, stretching is vitally important as I said especially for that sort of strength training, the damage your putting onto your muscles is massive so they need to be looked after and kept in the best condition possible because if you don’t rehab your physique properly.. You will feel the next day and the days after that.

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