Gyms and Fitness Clubs

Flexibility Training


The third and final component of an exercise program is stretching to enhance your flexibility. This is the easiest part of your program. Many people, however, neglect this important component. It doesn't take very long and can even be mixed between sets in your strength training program.

Before you begin stretching it is important to get the body warmed up. Here is a great analogy describing why a warm-up is important.

Let's say you live in the northern part of the country and it is a cold winter day (a bone-chilling five below zero). Your newspaper has just been delivered to your mailbox at the end of the driveway. Excited to read the latest headline, you bundle up and run out to the mailbox. The newspaper is wrapped up in a rubber band to keep it intact. You grab the rubber band and quickly pull it off. When you pull at the ice-cold rubber band, what do you think is going to happen? Snap, it breaks off!

Let's replay this scenario and say that you aren't in a hurry to read the newspaper so you bring it into the house with the rubber band still wrapped around it. Five minutes later you decide to pull the rubber band off so you can read the paper. The house is a warm 75 degrees, so what do you think will happen to the rubber band? It stretches!

Although your muscles probably won't snap if you neglect your warm-up, you can see my point. Your chance of injury is less if you take a few minutes to warm up before stretching. You can do this by walking, jumping rope or any other easy activity to elevate your heart rate and body temperature.