Does it feel strange not to stretch after a session? We know the feeling; it took us a while to adjust to not spending 5 minutes at the end of a session “cooling down”.
When we attended a training course last year that was focused on understanding how different people move, the instructor stated that static stretches should be held for a minimum of two minutes to achieve maximum effect.
TWO. WHOLE. MINUTES! minimum!
This posed an issue for our SGPT (Small Group Personal Training) sessions, which are 45 minutes long—10 minutes of that would have to be spent on stretching.
We later went on to look at other ways you can increase flexibility and mobility that didn’t take quiet as long.
A summery of the findings:
In 2011 research review compiled 12 studies that had investigated the effects of stretching on muscle soreness and found no meaningful effect.
Stretching after training does not reduce your delayed muscle soreness (DOMs).
The only benefit that stretching after a session might have is to increase your flexibility. However, as we said, each stretch much be held for a minimum of 2 minutes in order to achieve the desired result.
Dynamic mobility, massage and foam rolling can all create a acute/short term effect with our mobility.
Eccentric loaded exercises (such as RDLs, Squats, Deadlifts, etc) and Isometric exercises (any exercise that you hold for an amount of time) can create a longterm increase in our mobility.
Pairing them together, that’s when we get the real results.
Take a squat for example:
If an individual can’t get low enough in a squat it may be because their ankles have some restriction.
If we massage/foam roll and add some ankle mobility before we squat we’re more likely to loosen the ankle and therefore get lower in our squat.
While we’re squatting we are building in a position we've not been in before and therefore we’re increasing strength in the ankle (as well as the hips and thighs) which will increase long term mobility.
After doing lots of research we decided that we would see more benefits if we added some mobility during your workout than we would by spending the last 5-10 minutes stretching you at the end.
Here's how we now keep you mobile, flexible and strong without wasting any time:
During the warm up we include dynamic mobility, I like to see this as a tap on each muscle to let them know we're about to work them.
After the main lift we have added a static or dynamic mobiliser.
Our sessions are strength focused.
If you’re interested to know more check out this article which explains static stretching and it’s place:
If you're new to the gym or you're back after a while here's 3 ways you can help you soreness after your session:
1) Increase your protein intake. Your muscles need protein to build back up
2) Stay hydrated. Being dehydrated can cause our joints to hurt.
3) Prioritise sleep, it's how the body recovers.
4) Don't be afraid to move, getting more blood flow to the muscles will help. Go for a walk or book your next session in. Although we'd recommend you wait 48hrs before training again.
5) Have an epsom salt bath.