Stretching? what are you talking about? I am trying to become stronger, leaner and bigger; I am not trying to become flexible. This might not be something you’d say out loud but it could definitely be something you think about when the words stretching and mobility are brought up, and hey you make a fair point, if that was the only benefit to stretching.
With those statements in mind, you’re missing one big aspect of stretching, it’s not justabout getting flexible. Yes, flexibility is obviously one of the main results of stretching, but stretching and mobility are used for a variety of different reasons like: prehab (preventing injuries), rehab (coming back from an injury), opening up the body, better at getting into different positions (think of a better squat)relaxation of the mind, cooling down the body and yes, being more flexible.
If you’re someone who ”just” cares about looking good in the mirror, having sixpack abs and bigger arms, fair play to you and I hope that works out for you, but I can guarantee that stretching can benefit you as well. For you it might not be about flexibility or cooling down the body, but it will definitely helpyou stay injury free or relax the mind before going to bed at night.
Injury prevention might be one of, if not the most important aspects of stretching for anyone who works out on a regular basis. Whether you lift weights, run a marathon or do group classes, injuries are unfortunately a part of the fitness lifestyle. But luckily, we can minimize that as much as we can by incorporating certain things into our daily schedule, one of those things is stretching. If you keep your body supple and flexible the chances of you injuring yourself will decrease drastically, because your body isn’t stiff. Think about it this way: Warm caramel is supple, it flows well and can’t break, whereas cold caramel is hard and easy to break (random example, I know). This holds true for our body as well, the tighter and stiffer your muscles become the easier it is to be ”broken”.
To give you 3 examples:
If you’re a marathon runner, your legs, calves and feet get a pounding every single time you hit the pavement. You can definitely prevent most injuries by correcting your running style and posture but it would be even better if you’re muscles are not super tight and knotted up all the time. This doesn’t just prevent injuries but it will help you run faster, better and pain free.
If you’re a bodybuilder or someone who cares about their physique, it’s not about being the most flexible person but it’s about staying injury free. With bodybuilding/physique training comes lifting heavy weights and with heavy weights comes a higher chance of injury. Even if you perform all the exercises as they should be done, eventually your body will start to fall apart because it’s so stiff and inflexible.
Even if you don’t work out at all, stretching has a place for you. Just like the examples above, if you don’t keep your body from locking up and becoming tight, it will be a lot easier to break. For anyone that doesn’t workout it might not be the heavy weights that injure you, but think about falling down a couple of steps, picking up a heavy box of the ground or running to catch the bus. Doing any of these simple ”daily activities” should not increase the chances of getting injured, but it will if your body is that tight all the time.
Main takeaway- Stretching is not just for people who want to be flexible. It doesn’t matter who you’re or what you do, stretching can benefit you in more ways than one.
Make it easy on yourself by downloading a mobility app like GOWOD (I personally use that one) or ROMWOD, it will make stretching/mobility a lot easier.
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