Functional Fitness

Stretching – Do it in the gym or at home?

I know that we all need to stretch out after a gym or training session. I know that that not stretching is a recipe for disaster. However, I also know that most people spend all of their gym time doing their exercises and think a couple of hamstring stretches as they walk to the exit with suffice. So my advice to everyone is to find time later in the day to stretch at their leisure. Pretty much everyone has some down-time in the evening, whether that’s in front of the TV or reading a book or even a leisurely supper… and during that time I encourage my clients to run through a gentle stretching regime.

Note… this goes against all of the PT training, which has stretching built into every routine, I’m just being pragmatic based on what I see on a daily basis… I certainly don’t see much stretching happening.

The joy of stretching at home in your own time is that you have more, so the stretches are more effective. It’s simply a case of having more time, so you’re not rushing the stretches and you can take a much more gentle approach. You’ll have time to feel how your body has reacted to the workout and focus on the stretches that work the stiff areas… you’re not doing a fixed set of stretches that the personal trainer has devised, which are invariably a generic mix of whole-body stretches.

If I have a heavy period of training, I know from experience that it’s my left hip & groin area that starts to seize up first, closely followed by my upper back (the vertebrae between my shoulder blades), so I focus my stretching on hip mobility and cat stretches. If I have more time of an evening, I’ll get the foam roller and roll leg muscles, or work on mobilising other areas of my spine.

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