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by Liz Bowen

Whether you’re reaching for your toes before you head out on a run, or you’re stretching out your muscles post-workout, there are many myths out there about stretching. Are you stretching the wrong way before or after your workouts? NPTI’s personal training certification programs teach students the right and wrong ways to stretch. Read on to find out what myths are just flat-out wrong when it comes to stretching.

Stretching means no injuries
stretching mythsLet’s just stop this one dead in its tracks right now. Stretching does not prevent you from being injured. There are many factors that can lead to injuries, including not warming up properly, muscle imbalances, and poor technique. While stretching regularly as a part of your warm-up and cool downs can help minimize the risk of injury, it does not eliminate the risk. There are too many factors involved in injuries to say that stretching alone will keep you from getting hurt.

Stretching will get rid of all soreness
Feeling some aches and pains in your muscles from yesterday’s workout? Those aches and pains aren’t going to go away with just a few good stretches. That feeling of being sore is actually from micro tears in your muscles. While stretching can help ease the severity of pain, it will not prevent those tears or make that soreness fade away.

Cardio is all the warm-up you need
A few minutes of cardio before you hit the weights aren’t going to cut it when it comes to your warm-up. Cardio plus dynamic stretching, including walking lunges, running butt kicks, or power skips, will warm up your muscles and help prepare your body for a safe and effective workout.

Stretching doesn’t help my performance
Stretching, especially dynamic stretching involves movements that will help your body kick-start your range of motion. They are a great solution to your warm-up question. Studies have also discovered that dynamic stretching can help give you an extra power boost for your workouts.

Workout’s done, time to go
Don’t hit the showers just yet! It is imperative that you finish your workout the same way you started: stretch and cool down. Static stretching of your muscles is a great way for you to end your workout and cool down your heated muscles. You can even try foam-rolling post-workout and pre-stretching to help get all those knots out of your muscles.

One size fits all stretching
When it comes to stretching, many people think that what works for one person will work for all people. This couldn’t be further from the truth. If you work long hours sitting at a desk, your muscles are going to be stiff. While someone who works in a physical field, such as construction or landscaping, will have been using their muscles all day long. If you’re behind a cube all day, you’re going to need to spend some extra time stretching and warming up to get your muscles going before you begin a workout.

To discover the best stretching regimen for your body, pin point where you have muscle stiffness or soreness and experiment on those areas with various types and lengths of stretches.

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