It’s time to realize that stretching is just as beneficial to overall sports performance as strength training and conditioning. Take the hamstrings for example. Any time you spend sitting puts those muscles in a shortened state, where they can tighten up. If you condition with sprints, those tight hamstrings will force your quadriceps to work even harder to fully extend your legs. This scenario can lead to muscle tears or similar injuries—easily prevented if you learn to appreciate the importance of flexibility training.
Many athletes give the excuse of no time after a workout, but if you look at flexibility training in a different way and get a little creative, you can find ways to fit it in. Plan your program to include upper-body stretching on lower-body strength days, and vice versa. Example: pair an upper-body lift with a lower-body stretch in a superset. With strength/stretching supersets, you can avoid having to do your stretching at the end, extending your workout when you’re strapped for time.
Here are two examples of workouts that pair strength and flexibility exercises into supersets:
Upper Body Workout
1. Barbell Bench Press – 3×8-10
2A. Lat Pulldowns – 3×8-10
2B. Standing Quadriceps Stretch – 3×30 seconds each leg
3A. Incline Dumbbell Bench Press – 3×8-10
3B. Straight-Leg Hamstring Stretch – 3×30 seconds each leg
4A. Seated Neutral Grip Row – 3×8-10
4B. Standing Calf Stretch – 3×30 seconds each leg
Lower Body Workout
1. Barbell Squat– 3×8-10
2A. Dumbbell Lunges – 3×8-10
2B. Standing Doorway Pec Stretch – 3×30 seconds each side
3A. Goblet Squat – 3×8-10
3B. Cross-Body Posterior Shoulder Stretch– 3×30 seconds each arm
4A. Dumbbell Calf Raises – 3×12-15
4B. Child’s Pose Back Stretch – 3×30 seconds
Read more articles from our Stretching section.
Check out our Physiotheraphy section, every Monday a new story! Tomorrow read about Most common cause for shin splints, explanations and treatment advice.