So far I haven’t really hit on mobility or stretching. Now that colder weather is around the corner, it’s going to be even more important to take time to warm up properly before jumping into our workouts. Let’s be honest, stretching blows. I personally find it tedious. As I get older, I realize it’s important to warm up the engine, if you will, so I thought I’d take this chance to remind everyone to stretch before and (ideally) after workouts if you can. Stretching breaks down into 2 different categories: dynamic and static. Knowing when you should do these stretches is just as useful as actually doing them.
Dynamic stretching is done while you’re moving (hence “dynamic”) so that you’re using the muscles during the stretch. As a result, dynamic stretches are a good way to warm you up before your workout. Dynamic stretches will help with increasing the flexibility of joints and improve the range of motion of those joints. So depending on what you’ll be working out, you can choose your stretching exercises accordingly. For example, at the beginning of a boxing class, a few basic stretches will be something like jumping jacks to get the blood pumping, arm circles for the arms and shoulders, or knee circles to get the leg muscles and joints moving. Taking 5 to 10 minutes to do this before working out could prevent possible injury later on.
Static stretching, on the other hand, is a stretch held in place for a longer period of time. It’s more so meant for improving flexibility. Static stretching is best done after you’ve been working out, when your muscles are still warm. It’s a great way to cool down, as it loosens up the muscles and alleviates any tightness you might be feeling. It can also help with soreness that you’ll feel the next day. Most people skip stretching after their workouts since they’re usually in a rush to be done and out of the gym, but stretching is definitely worth the time. If done consistently, you can increase flexibility. Being more flexible in your hips, for example, would improve the range of motion. For something like boxing (or most sports), your hips are a key component in generating power in your punches.
I’m all about going hard with your workouts, but when you do, don’t forget that recovery is just as important. If you have specific areas that you often feel tight in or if you want to improve flexibility for a certain muscle, there are plenty of stretches and progressions that you can look up online, or email email@example.com. Consider stretching to be a part of the recovery process and remember to do it consistently—your body will thank you for it!