Women's Health

The Rules of Stretching – Oxygen Magazine

You don’t need to be able to break out into the splits on cue, but the first step to having a more limber body comes with understanding some general guidelines. The problem? Stretching is actually pretty controversial. Some studies have shown that stretching before a workout can be counterproductive and even dangerous. “Before a workout, a cold muscle is like a frozen elastic band, so if you go to stretch it, it may feel like it’s going to snap,” explains certified fitness personal trainer Sarah Robichaud.

Athletic woman stretching

The key to stretching is safety.

The key to reaping the benefits of stretching is to do it safely. Here’s what you need to know about stretching – the right way, at the right time:

Don’t Stretch Cold Muscles

If you want to stretch before a workout (which you don’t have to do – the postworkout stretch is the important one) warm up first for about five minutes before performing your first stretch, says Robichaud. Jog, march on the spot or do jumping jacks. Then, lightly stretch the major muscle groups: the quads, hamstrings, back, chest and sides. (Lightly means holding each stretch for about 30 seconds.)

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