Stretching Do's and Don'ts

While you are stretching, don't forget the following:

  • Do make sure you stretch your muscles when they are warm, not cold (after your warm-up or workout).

  • Do breathe deeply all the way through each stretch.

  • Do listen to your body and know how far to push yourself.

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    Mild tension during a stretch is normal, but do not go beyond the point where you experience pain. Besides an inability to go any farther in your stretch, another indication of your limit is when your muscle shakes as it reaches the point of tightness. Think of it as your muscle saying, "That's enough — don't go any further!" At this point you should stop, hold the stretch where it is most comfortable for you, and take a few deep breaths before you release the stretch.

  • Do hold each stretch for at least 10 seconds. (But holding a stretch for more than 30 seconds doesn't provide any additional benefit.)

  • Don't bounce.

  • Don't lock your joints.

Remember that increasing your flexibility takes time. Be patient — good things come in time.

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