5 Benefits of Flexibility Training

  Controversy surrounds the topic of flexibility regarding potential benefits.  Advocates of flexibility regimens promise increased range-of-motion in the joints, while opponents claim the stretching techniques only waste time with little improvement. Though most are not seeking to twist into pretzel configurations like a yogi, you do need an adequate amount of muscular elasticity for activities of daily living.  As you age, your muscles require proper stimulation to remain strong and supple.


What benefits can you experience by adding a few minutes of stretching exercises to your routine?  The following five are possible results from flexibility integration.


1. Reduces Muscle Tension

After performing a tough set of strength moves, you may have felt some lingering tension in your muscles.  You may be familiar with concentric and eccentric movements of muscles.  The concentric movement is the contraction, while the eccentric movement is the lengthening of the muscle.  In essence, stretching a muscle is an exaggerated eccentric motion.  Reduce your muscle tension by stretching after performing a heavy set.


2. Promotes Relaxation

Most people feel a sense of extreme relaxation when they stretch their various muscles.  As your muscle elongates, you must calm yourself to stretch properly.  This method of relaxation works synergistically with a strength-training or cardiovascular program to cool down your body after a taxing workout.  Ten minutes of static stretching allows you to return to the resting mode necessary for muscular repair.


3. Smoother Muscle Contractions

By completing a flexibility series at the end of a workout, you will notice an enhancement in muscular contraction at the following exercise session.  As time progresses, your strength-training moves will become more fluid versus jerky motions.  This results from the avid practice of actively lengthening your muscle after several contractions.  Try this technique:  perform a stretch for the worked muscle group in between lifting sets.


4. Improves Movement

When that muscle-bound bodybuilder struts through the gym, you may mistakenly believe he is optimally fit.  If you feel brave enough to approach him, ask him to reach behind his back and try to touch his fingertips on both hands.  Often, he will experience difficulty performing that stretch, as he lacks the range-of-motion in that joint.  By incorporating some basic stretches, he would be flexible, as well as well-built.  Remember this scenario when you are tempted to skip your stretches post-workout.


5. Decreases Muscle Soreness

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) commonly afflicts the athlete and untrained individual alike.  Caused by microscopic tears in the muscle from tough muscular workouts, DOMS is the sensation of soreness in recovering muscle groups.  To lessen the effects of muscle soreness, be sure to stretch those muscles after a challenging session.


Enjoy the effects of flexibility training, as you enhance your range-of-motion on a regular basis.  Start a 10-minute stretching routine as a cool down at the end of each workout. Anyone who performs flexibility exercise will proclaim that the benefits to a supple body are limitless.