Female Grapplers: 10 Stretching Tips To Start Using Today

Almost as much as we enjoy a solid competitive female submission grappling match, we absolutely enjoy watching the beautiful women stretch and warmup ahead of time.

Almost.

Given the grueling amount of effort and sometimes pain that goes into a match, pre-engagement stretching is vital.

If you are a competitive female submission wrestler who looks to improve her stretching techniques, we have a visiting female writer with some suggestions.

10 Stretching Tips To Start Using Today

fciwomenswrestling.com article, photo via wikimedia

By DeeDee Coleman  

Stretching is an important part of any fitness plan. Proper stretching helps you maintain and improve your flexibility, improve balance, ease muscle tension, relieve stress and help you to recover quickly from your workouts.

Many people fall into the trap of thinking they don’t need to stretch and that their time would be better spent on the higher calorie burn phase of their routine.

If this falls in line with your thinking, then you need to add a few minutes to your workout for stretching or you need to improve the quality of the ‘work’ portion of your routine so that you get more calorie burn for less time and put the saved time into your flexibility training.

Another debate that has raged for years is whether to stretch before or after your routine.

I highly suggest stretching before and after your workout. This is where many people get confused. During your warm up, you don’t want to do static or flexibility stretches, instead you want to do dynamic or active stretches.

When you contract a group of muscles while another group of muscles stretch this is known as active stretching.

A good example of active stretching is a straight leg kick before karate. You don’t kick as high as you can you just kick high enough to feel a stretch in the hamstring muscles while your hip flexors and quadriceps contract to lift the leg.

A rule of thumb always is to stretch after your workout but the type of workout you do will have a direct effect on the type of stretching you should do.

The best time to stretch for flexibility is after at least 10 minutes of cardiovascular or aerobic exercise. Ten minutes of rhythmic movements allows your muscles to get warm to the core and better prepares them for the stretches to come.

You never ever want to try to stretch for flexibility after weight work. Your post weight work routine should involve stretches to return muscles to their resting length.

Here are 10 tips on stretching that you should apply to your workouts:

fciwomenswrestling.com article, wikimedia photo

  1. To improve flexibility, mobility, balance and to avoid injuries it is best to stretch before and after your workouts. The trick to be aware of what type of stretching is best for the warm ups and the cool down phases of your fitness routine.
  2. When stretching for flexibility, easy into your stretch and hold it at the point of gentle tension in the muscle. After 15 seconds, if the tension has eased up, go a little deeper into the stretch. If the tension has not eased up, back out of the stretch, relax the muscle and go back into the stretch.

If muscle tension doesn’t ease after holding a stretch for 15 seconds, chances are you went too deep into the stretch to begin with.

  1. Unless you are undergoing specialized training with a professional trainer stay away from ballistic stretches. Ballistic stretches involves bouncing into and out of your stretch which puts the muscle in a very dangerous position that can cause muscle cramping or worse, muscle strain or sprain.
  2. Work slowly and carefully. When stretching for flexibility you want to hold each stretch for about 60 seconds going a little deeper into the stretch every 15 seconds or so. You need to be very aware of how your muscles are responding to your stretches. If you feel pain, discomfort or pulling in the muscle, ease out of the stretch.
  3. Stretch all muscle groups to avoid muscle imbalance. Muscle imbalance is one of the major causes of back pain today. Strong, flexible quadriceps and tight, weak hamstrings can wreak havoc with your pelvic tilt causing lower back pain and discomfort.

When you are doing your flexibility routine, make sure to hit all major muscle groups of the body.

  1. Make stretching a regular part of your fitness regime. If you engage in physical activity on a regular basis, try to dedicate one workout a week to flexibility training and joint mobility.
  2. Don’t try to force your body to do something it isn’t ready to do. Trying to force flexibility will only lead to injury.
  3. Learn to listen to your body and rest when you need to.
  4. Do not stretch cold muscles unless you understand the dynamics of doing this type of stretching. It can be done, lots of people who have suffered injuries have no choice but to stretch cold muscles but it must be done in a certain way. You never want to try to stretch for flexibility when you muscles are cold.
  5. Every stretching routine doesn’t need to be about flexibility. Sometimes you may need to just loosen up tight tired muscles or you may just want to relax.

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