Knowing how to stretch before weightlifting and exercise will decrease the risk of muscle tears and more serious injuries. Depending on the exercises one plans to take part in during a training session, muscle specific stretches may be necessary for some, although a brief full body stretch before weightlifting will result in better lifts, less strain and a looser, more able body.
Planning and Approach
Many people have well planned weightlifting schedules, which gives them a better idea of what particular muscles should be stretched, and when. For example, a chest and triceps workout involving exercises mainly incorporating pushing techniques should have an individual stretching those major muscle groups, along with shoulders, hands, and the middle and upper back area before they begin. Quick, bouncing stretch techniques should be avoided as much as possible; by slowly bending and extending the muscles, joints and ligaments used in targeted muscle groups, one can achieve a more thorough, safer stretch. A weightlifter should focus on stretching the muscle groups which will be used the most during their workout.
Technique and Ideas
Stretching should take place before, during and after exercising. The benefits of each stretching period differ, though the major function provided by stretching offers protection for muscle groups, and the reduction of injury. A good stretch before weightlifting will loosen muscle fibers, decrease pressure in joints and offer a warm up to those muscles that will be used. Bending exercises like toe touches, stationary lunges and bent over rows with minimal weight can reduce the risk of tearing muscles in both legs and the back. Some exercises involving no equipment are equally beneficial as those that require weight or mechanical assistance.
Focus on stretching muscle groups that endure the most use prior, during and after exercising. Use equipment such as light dumbbells, weighted plates, medicine balls and resistance bands to stretch, along with basic body bends and pulls without equipment.