Which is the Safest and Most Effective Way to Get a Deeper Stretch?
Whether you’re an athlete or a sedentary worker, effective stretching can help ease discomfort from your body. Professional stretching services with a stretch practitioner can help you get a deeper stretch and give you even more benefits. How can you safely and effectively achieve a deep stretch anyway?
Let’s go over some of the things that make a stretch safe and effective!
What Makes a Stretch Effective?
There is more to stretching than most people realize. Pulling on your arm or leg for a few seconds will not give you the relief that you want. An effective stretch requires proper technique; otherwise, it won’t do anything for you. Stretching while using the correct method allows you to target the right muscle or muscle group, eliminating stiffness and tightness in the area.
Keys to Safe and Effective Stretching
Many people who don’t understand how to stretch correctly complain that their stiffness isn’t going away or getting worse. This may cause them to believe that stretching doesn’t work or that they might have a health concern. Knowing the keys to stretching safely and effectively can help you move and feel better in no time.
If you’re curious about how our stretch practitioners can help you achieve a deep stretch that’s both beneficial and safe, here are a few key points you should know:
Warm Up First
You’ve heard health and fitness professionals say that you shouldn’t exercise “cold” muscles, and the same goes for stretching. It’s the same concept of allowing blood to flow through the muscles and connective tissues, which helps them move easier. Failing to warm up (like doing some push-ups, squats, a brisk walk, etc.) before a good stretch session won’t give you the benefits you want and could increase your chances of injury.
Make Sure to Breathe
One of the best things you can do for your body during a stretch is to keep breathing. You might not realize how holding your breath can impact the effectiveness of a stretch. Doing this will cause increased tension in the muscles responsible for breathing, including:
- Thoracic diaphragm
As you know, tension will make it harder for you to relax. As a result, you can’t get all the benefits you need from the stretch.
Remain Consistent with It
Consistency is key! You can’t expect to feel better after stretching only once or a couple of times. To keep tight muscles away, you have to be consistent with your stretching regimen. Otherwise, you won’t maintain your flexibility and mobility. Not to mention you’ll be living with muscle tightness and pesky aches every day, which we know you don’t want!
Have Good Posture and Form
Good, effective stretching comes from using the proper technique and form. Like exercising, it can cause more harm than good if you don’t do it using the correct form. This includes breathing, moving gradually, and holding the stretch for a proper amount of time. Having proper posture is also important to ensure that you’re doing the stretch correctly.
Focus on Full-Body Stretches
Most likely, one side of someone’s body is tighter than the other. That doesn’t mean you should only stretch that one side. Not incorporating a full-body stretch regimen will leave you with imbalances, which can still leave you feeling more discomfort and tightness. Rather than only focusing on that one area, you should continue doing full-body stretches with a bit more focus on the tighter areas.
You Shouldn’t Feel Pain
Stretching shouldn’t be painful. If your muscles start to hurt in the middle of a stretch, stop doing it. Any sharp or stabbing sensations mean that you’re stretching your muscles far beyond their capacity for stretching. This won’t help you feel any better. In fact, it might make you feel worse!
Consult a Professional
Consulting a professional before beginning any new activity (stretching included) is always the safest thing for you to do. Since there’s a certain technique to follow for the best results, your best bet is to let a stretch practitioner guide you through the best moves. This also allows you to ask any questions and learn the best things you can do to help your body feel better than ever.
What is a Deep Stretch?
You may have heard a stretch practitioner talk about helping you achieve a deeper stretch, but what exactly is that? Your muscles are complex, and some are buried deep in other muscles. Because of this, they’re harder to target.
A deep stretch is a technique that positions the body to allow a stretch to target those hard-to-reach areas. Deep stretches generally target areas like the hip flexors, thighs, waist, and back. As an active stretching exercise, deep stretching can also warm up your muscles for other workouts or a professional stretching session.
Some harder to reach muscles that can benefit from a deep stretch include:
- Pectoral muscles
- Psoas muscle
Benefits of Getting a Deep Stretch
If you’re feeling extra stiff, getting a deep stretch could help you feel better in several ways. Most deep stretching exercises are done in yoga classes because of their incredible physical and mental advantages. Anyone can achieve a deep stretch to eliminate muscle tightness.
Here are some of the benefits you may notice from getting a professional deep stretch:
Having optimal flexibility allows your tissues and joints to move comfortably through their full range of motion. This helps you with many things, including injury prevention, body aches, and problems with balance. Think about how much easier moving will be when you don’t have to deal with tight muscles restricting your mobility!
Helps with Strength Training
Many people don’t realize that getting a nice deep stretch can help with better strength. Tapping into a muscle’s full power potential involves fully contracting and strengthening the tissue. The increased range of motion from stretching allows you to use your muscle’s entire length, which is beneficial in strength training.
Improves Bodily Awareness Senses
Here’s another surprising benefit you might not have known! Stretching before a workout can help a person achieve better bodily awareness. Dynamic stretches especially target the receptors in your brain that tell your body where it is and how to keep it stable. Doing this before physical activity will make you move with ease and perform better. It may also help prevent injuries.
If you’re having digestive problems, stretching could be beneficial for you. Most people like to lay down and nap after a meal, but you might want to think twice about that. Gentle movements like stretching can help process digestion by opening the gastric tract, helping the food move through better.
If you need help speeding up digestion, stretches that gently work the mid-section can be great. Some good ones to ask our stretch practitioners about are:
- Core rotational stretches
- Posterior chain stretches
- Side stretches
- Lower back stretches
Helps you Destress
Stretching can be a relaxing activity when combined with deep breathing. This helps stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which conserves the body’s natural activity, and puts you more at ease. Stretching is also known to help loosen tension in the body, which is another way to kill stress.
You’d be surprised to know that stretching can help get you through that mid-afternoon slump. It boosts blood flow throughout your body, helping you feel more energized. The key is to do slow, repetitive movements and hold them for a few seconds each. This is one reason why professionals recommend stretching first thing in the morning.
Stretching can improve physical performance, whether it’s during a sport or everyday activity. Your body needs to move freely regardless, and tight muscles can greatly restrict your mobility and performance. While that may seem bad for someone who plays a sport, it could make simple tasks like walking up the stairs or raising your arms more uncomfortable than they should be.
If you notice that everyday tasks are becoming more uncomfortable, you might want to start stretching more.
Dangers of Stretching on Your Own
While stretching can help you feel good in many ways, it might not be in your best interest to try it on your own. This is especially true if you’re inactive and are trying a move you’ve never done before. You won’t know the proper techniques and could risk hurting yourself if you don’t see a professional.
Here are a few of the mistakes people make when they self-stretch
- Not holding the stretch long enough
- Holding the stretch for too long
- Not breathing
- Failure to warm up
- Trying to stretch an injured muscle
Is Practitioner Assisted Stretching More Beneficial?
Most health and fitness professionals recommend stretching, and you’ll always get the most benefits when you get assistance from a professional. Most people don’t understand how to target certain muscles, and some people may even be so stiff that it impacts the stretch!
Think of it this way: If you’ve never run in your life but want to start, you’re not going to just run a marathon tomorrow. The best way is to start slow and seek professional advice to avoid pushing your body too far. The same goes for stretching.
If you have no flexibility, professional stretching can help you target those muscles to help improve your range of motion gradually. That’s the safest way to achieve your goal, and it also gives you the option to ask all the questions you need.
Creating a Full-Body Deep Stretch Regimen
Creating a full-body stretch regimen is easy, and our team of professionals can help you get even more benefits by helping you deepen each stretch. You want to target at least one major muscle group in your body to ensure flexibility and prevent imbalances.
Of course, particularly stiff areas can use some extra attention. You can hold the stretch longer or try multiple stretches for that tight muscle group. Below is a list of some of the areas we can work on when you come into our care.
Shoulder mobility allows you to move and lift your arms. The major muscles in this area are the ones that make up the rotator cuff. These include:
- Teres minor
Optimal hip flexibility helps you walk, run, squat, and turn while supporting your body weight. The main hip muscle groups include:
- Lateral rotator
Your hamstrings are responsible for extending your leg behind your body and bending your knee. This muscle group consists of the following:
- Biceps femoris
The calves allow you to flex your feet, jump, walk, run, and stand straight. They’re responsible for stabilizing your legs and moving your feet, ankles, and lower legs. The main muscles in your calves are the gastrocnemius and the soleus.
Your quads help with kicking, jumping, cycling, sitting in a chair, and climbing stairs. The four parts that make up this large and fleshy muscle group are:
- Rectus femoris
- Vastus lateralis
- Vastus medialis
- Vastus intermedius
The muscles in your back work together to help move your body in various ways. This includes bending over and rotating your trunk. The major muscles in your back are:
- Latissimus dorsi
- Erector spinae
- Quadratus lumborum
How Stretch Zone Can Help You Safely Achieve a Deeper Stretch
For your safety, we encourage you to visit a Stretch Zone location near you for safe and effective deep stretching exercises. Our team knows how to isolate muscle groups to target problem areas and give you the relief you need. How do we do it?
Stretch Zone uses patented equipment and follows specific methods to stabilize, isolate, and manipulate muscles. This method does more than make you more flexible. It gradually increases your range of motion and adjusts your stretch reflex. It also allows you to relax and get a full stretch.
Our patented strapping system is both comfortable and effective. It allows each person to achieve a deep stretch by:
- Controlling and altering stretch timing
- Positioning, stabilizing, and isolating targeted muscles
- Relaxing the stretched muscles
- Preventing the body from stretching untargeted muscles
Are You Looking for a Professional Stretching Center Near You?
Body aches and muscle stiffness aren’t fun for anyone! Fortunately, there’s a group of professional stretch practitioners available to help you reduce those problems once and for all. At Stretch Zone, it’s our goal to help people feel and move better. Between our assisted stretching services and helpful guidance, you will be able to handle anything life throws your way.
Find a Stretch Zone location near you and experience the relief thousands of people can’t stop talking about. Call us today to book your first 30-minute session!