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I always tell our clients that if you work out to feel good and to stay fit, it is fine to stretch before, after, and even during a workout.
Obvoiusly when you lift weights, it may help to stretch both the muscle that you are working as well and its antagonist. If the antagonist is flexible and pliable, the stretch will be easier and the risk for injury will decrease. Stretching the calves during a run can help avoid injury, since tight, shortened calf muscles often affecting your stride.I will often stretch my clients during a session in a controlled manner.
During the stretching phase, you try to elongate the muscle until you feel a light sting. Naturally, the stretch should be done slowly and with control in the right direction to be effective (to prevent activating the body’s defense systems).
During the relaxation phase, you simply hold the position at the ending point while relaxing the muscle as much as you can. At this point, you are trying to reduce the body’s attempt to tighten the muscle. If you are actively able to relax, the stretch will be more effective.
This is another method for distracting the body in order to fool its defenses. You will contract the muscle being stretched against some form of resistance (your own hand, the floor, or the wall) in order to prevent movement.
Contracting without moving further disarms the body’s defense system. During this phase, the light sting you felt in the previous phase should diminish or disappear. If the pain increases instead, you went too far in the initial stretching phase. If you did everything right, you will now feel able to stretch again until you reach a new ending point.
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