Why Is Stretching So Important?

Fitness // 12WBT Staff

Let’s be honest, stretching is often the part of our training session that often gets swept to the side, or squished in for a few scant seconds at the end of our session. But in truth, we really should set aside time in every workout for a sizeable stretch because of the benefits it brings us.

Benefits of Stretching

  • Stretching increases our flexibility (the range of motion, or ROM, of our muscles)
  • Which in turn increases our mobility (the ROM of our joints)

Think of it this way – stretching keeps us moving freely and easily rather than becoming stiff, static and stuck!

When Should We Stretch?

Before a Workout

The latest research tells us that for minimizing injury risk, we should not stretch significantly at the start of a training session. Instead, we should focus on just juicing up the muscles and joints enough to be ready for the working loads we’ll put on them through the workout itself.

That means spending a few minutes gently moving through the actions we’ll be performing during our session. For example:

  • Leg swings and knee hugs prior to running
  • Full body rotations before teeing off for golf
  • Shoulder rolls before swimming laps

After a Workout

At the end of our workout session (when the loads and stresses on our bodies are done and dusted) is the time to really settle into significant stretching, in order to keep super supple! It’s a great time to move into and hold the fullest range of the muscles we worked during our session, in all the directions that they can move through.

This will ensure our muscles don’t overly tighten and seize, which in turn will keep our range of motion across our joints. At the end of our workouts is also the time when we tend to be fatigued and more open to chilling out and holding positions for longer – added bonus!

All 12WBT Fitness Programs have specific warm ups at the start of each workout, designed to stretch you sufficiently to train safely, and specific warm downs at the end of each workout designed to stretch you away from stiffness. Plus every program has at least 1 day per week where the main focus is stretching – so rest assured when you train with 12WBT, you’re in safe hands!

Stretching & Mobility Videos

Check out the videos below for mobilizing sequences that can be done either at the start and/or end of your workout.

Hip Mobility

Shoulders and Back Mobility

Hip, Shoulders and Back Mobility