Stretch your fit­ness

Drop flex­i­bil­ity in favour of strength? Don’t! The hum­ble stretch sesh could be your ticket to a longer, leaner shape

Women's Health Australia - - NEWS -

Ditch­ing the stretch at the end of your work­out? Don’t! Longer mus­cles cre­ate a leaner shape and more strength

For most of us, stretch­ing’s been con­signed to the cool-down – an in­con­ve­nience tacked onto the end of your ‘real’ sweat ses­sion. It’s not re­ally do­ing much, right? Uh-uh. The fact is, sub­sti­tut­ing some of your car­dio or strength time for a good stretch could make your work­outs more ef­fec­tive and sus­tain­able.

“To in­crease mus­cle mass, the body has to pro­duce new col­la­gen pro­teins,” ex­plains

Tony Kay, pro­fes­sor of biome­chan­ics at the Univer­sity of Northamp­ton. “The more strength train­ing you do, the more col­la­gen you pro­duce; the more col­la­gen you have in mus­cles, the less elastin, and the stiffer the tis­sue.” In other words: all that strength work is killing your flex­i­bil­ity un­less you stretch it out.

So is stretch­ing any dif­fer­ent to do­ing a few yoga asanas?

Yup. Un­like yoga, the fo­cus isn’t mainly on your breath – it’s about the phys­i­cal ben­e­fits of al­low­ing mus­cles to stretch. Which means lim­ber­ing up has sig­nif­i­cant strength re­wards. “In­creas­ing flex­i­bil­ity makes ex­er­cises like squats and dead lifts eas­ier and re­duces your risk of mus­cle sore­ness the next day,” says PT Luke Wor­thing­ton.

Con­vinced? Good. Now try this month-long plan that’ll take you from stiff to sup­ple, fast.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.