Last Updated on October 21, 2014.
The three aspects of any effective physical conditioning program are Cardio, Strength Training, and Flexibility.
At the end of any workout that gets your heart rate up, builds muscle and gets you sweating, be sure to include Flexibility Training. Building muscles stronger without stretching them will cause them to become stronger, but shorter in length, creating less range of motion. The proper way to stretch as indicated by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) is to hold each stretch for 15-30 seconds to the point of slight discomfort and repeat two to four times. There are no exact rules as to which stretches to include or duration of stretching session, but try to include most major muscles and spend 10-20 minutes stretching every day.
To avoid “overstretching” make sure you only stretch real hard on days you really warm the muscles up good with a strenuous workout. Don’t stretch with full intensity every day, for example, if you work out three days a week, then stretch hard on those three days after the workout, and just a light flexibility workout on the other days.
Depending on your age, genetics, and overall fitness, everyone will experience different results from their flexibility training as part of your physical conditioning. Some may see quick gains in flexibility limits while others may see very minimal or no gains initially. Do not be discouraged by this. Realize, as with anything, time will allow you see results, just don’t give up before you start to see them. Even if you don’t notice your flexibility limits increasing, you may feel less and less discomfort when stretching, and that is a great result right there.
Most adults will never achieve full splits if they never had them when younger. But, the most important part of flexibility training is not to get into a split, but to increase your range of motion, and prevent injury during working out. I have seen adult students who were barely able to cross their legs in a pretzel stretch initially, and after a few weeks or months, get 50-100% further. It all comes down to consistency. Just as with any part of your physical conditioning program, consistency is the key to being in shape all year round.
Keep your body hydrated, ingesting appropriate amounts of water helps with muscle and skin elasticity. Dehydrated muscles, lead to cramping and decreasing of flexibility. So keep drinking lots of water and stretching, these are essential elements to overall fitness.
This concludes the three part discussion on total fitness which as mentioned above includes muscular development, cardiovascular conditioning and flexibility. Be sure to go back and refresh yourself on the first two parts as were previously discussed. Good luck to everyone in their quest to be stronger, more flexible, and healthier.
Call Tiger Schulmann’s Mixed Martial Arts of Wayne NJ at (973)988-1207 for best physical conditioning program you have ever encountered.
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