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Last Updated on March 2, 2021

7 Practical Stretching Tips to Enhance Your Next Workout

7 Practical Stretching Tips to Enhance Your Next Workout
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Stretching is one of the most essential aspects of a healthy fitness routine. It’s also one of the most overlooked. Instead of thinking of this activity as a separate entity, consider stretching as a continuation of your exercise routine. By making stretching tips a part of your workout, you won’t neglect the attention your muscles and joints require to perform effectively.

Whether using stretching as a way to wake up, get your mind in the game, or recover from strenuous activity, your body will reap its short-term and long-term benefits. In the moment, stretching is a great way to warm up the body and prevent yourself from overextension and injury. In the long run, stretching daily can help loosen your tendons and muscles, and ultimately help you maintain a full range of motion later in life.

Taking these ideas into consideration, follow these 7 simple tips for stretching to add stretches back into your workout vocabulary.

1. Stretch and Stretch Often

Ultimately, your body can benefit from stretching daily. Many of us experience a somewhat stationary lifestyle at work, so we naturally need to warm up our bodies after remaining immobile for long periods of time.

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With only ten minutes of stretching, you can increase your strength, balance and flexibility. From working out to waking up in the morning, slow, easy movements can warm up the body. Just remember to be gentle; any jarring movements can cause injury and muscle tear.

For the best results, hold each stretch for at least sixty seconds[1].

2. Warm up Before a Workout

Similar to establishing a daily stretching routine, warming up the body pre-workout is vital for having a successful session and one of the most important stretching tips. Just grabbing your foot to stretch your calf for a couple seconds could actually harm your body, so make sure you begin slowly and take your time.

Attempting any exercise with “cold muscles” or without “waking up the body” will also hurt your body and cause muscle pulls and tendon tears. Try taking a short walk or elongating your stretches for optimal results.

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Once you’re warmed up, check out this Simple Cardio Home Workout Plan to keep you moving.

3. Gauge Your Tension

Stretching should never be painful. Monitor how your muscles feel as you stretch. Naturally, you should feel some mild tension, but don’t push yourself past the edge of discomfort.

If you’re starting to experience sharp pain or sensations that gradually get more severe, you are doing something wrong. Try to focus on one area at a time so you are only pushing yourself so far. When you begin to feel comfortable stretching, deepen your stretch, but don’t over-exert yourself.

4. Avoid Bouncing

Stretching tips don’t often mention this, but bouncing can be one of the most detrimental things you can do to your body while stretching. When your body constantly shifts, your muscles can tighten, and you can increase the risk of pulling or tearing a tendon. Find your balance or focal point, and remain steady.

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When in doubt, try using a mirror to watch yourself stretch to improve your form. Don’t be afraid to consult your doctor or trainer for someone to monitor your posture and stance[2].

5. Just Breathe

One of the main benefits of stretching is its ability to help the mind and body relax. Therefore, try to breathe normally and make sure you don’t hold your breath[3].

As you deepen your stretch, make sure to inhale and exhale slowly. Any abrupt, fast breathing or lack of breathing can cause tension in your body and increase your risk of injury. Make sure you are comfortable so that your mind focuses on the task at hand.

6. Vary Your Routine

While stretching, don’t forget to work on opposing muscles and incorporate as many muscle groups as possible in your routine for a holistic workout. Also, one of the most important stretching tips I can offer is to change your routine often so you don’t get bored.

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Often, boredom can cause carelessness and a loss of focus, which, in turn, can cause injuries. Look to Yoga workouts[4] or Pilates classes, as they are great resources for finding new stretches.

7. Always Remember to Cool Down

Stretching is also an excellent form of recovery to avoid muscle soreness. Don’t overlook this part of a workout, as it releases the tension in your body and increases blood flow to muscles that are warm and worked. Cooling down can prevent injury and decrease your heart rate after an intense workout. Do what you can to help your body quickly recover from your daily exercise routine.

Final Thoughts

Stretching tips are vital when participating in an active lifestyle. However, your body needs fuel to assist you through these daily routines. Therefore, don’t forget to eat the right foods and stay hydrated. Not only do you replenish your body with fluids and nutrients lost, but you can keep your muscles strong and ready for the next routine.

If you struggle with stress and anxiety, stretching can help you move into a calmer headspace and find both mental and physical balance. Furthermore, stretching can help you and your body focus on something else, which will help you move past the stress.

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As you plan your next workout, incorporate time for pre and post-workout stretches to see how it improves your exercise experience.

More Stretching Tips

Featured photo credit: Oksana Taran via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Harvard Health Publishing: The ideal stretching routine
[2] Harvard Health Publishing: Six tips for safe stretches
[3] Penn State: Balance, Breathing and Flexibility
[4] Health: Best Yoga Poses for Your Trouble Spots

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Courtney Gordner

Courtney is a passionate writer who shares about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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Published on July 30, 2021

7 Best Resistance Bands to Work Out at Home

7 Best Resistance Bands to Work Out at Home
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Looking for the ideal way to build up strength at home can be challenging, especially if you don’t have that much space to get workout equipment or build your own home gym. Besides using your own body weight, you can make use of a resistance band, a simple tool to help with your workout at home. These bands provide enough challenges where you can build your strength from various exercises. One of their main benefits is that they allow you to strengthen your natural body movement patterns.[1] They are also very small and won’t take up much space in your home.

Resistance bands are designed to simulate weight lifting. While these bands are very light, the various movements you’ll be doing will be met with resistance depending on the band that you got. For this list, I’ve picked out some of the best ones that you can use to build up your strength at home.

How We Picked the Best Resistance Bands

Before diving into the list, here are the criteria that we used to determine the best resistance bands available on the market:

  • Type – Each type of band here is based on the popular options of bands. Things like loop bands, tube bands, circle bands, and figure-eight bands are popular options. Each type has its own perks depending on the exercise that you are doing or want to do.
  • Weight range – Since you’re not using free weights, you’ll want the weight range to go from simple to challenging over time. Each of these packs will allow you to easily do this.
  • Material – Because these products are bands, you’ll find most of them to be made of rubber or latex. These bands provide either one or the other material. For more elasticity in the bands, latex is the better option.

1. Best Overall: Fit Simplify Resistance Bands

    For those looking for classic resistance band sets, this set has got you covered. It comes with five rubber resistance loops that are thick, durable, and won’t harm your skin. Each loop offers a resistance level between two and 30 pounds, making them ideal to scale up intensity levels during workouts.

    These are the best overall because you can work from really low levels before building up in intensity. You also don’t have to worry about mixing up your loops either as they’re all color-coded and have their intensity levels marked.

    Pick up Fit Simplify’s Resistance Bands here.

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    2. Best Budget Resistance Bands: Insonder Bands Set

      While resistance bands are generally cheap when compared to other workout equipment, some products can offer more value for the price you pay. Out of the many we looked at, the best budget-friendly ones are the bands from Insonder.

      They offer a resistance level of 15 and going up to 40 pounds. They’re also made of latex so, unlike other brands, they’re stretchier and will last longer and provide additional comfort when you use them.

      While the starting weight is ideal for those who are familiar with bands already, these are also great if you’ve got some experience with bands or you’re looking to challenge yourself.

      Purchase Insonder’s Resistance Bands here.

      3. Best Set: Kootek 18-Pack Resistance Bands Set

        Most resistance band sets are very straightforward with what you get—five (or possibly more) of a certain style of resistance bands with varying degrees of intensity. However, some resistance band sets offer incredible value that extends beyond that.

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        Consider the one from Kootek, which offers 18 bands. What’s amazing about this set is that they provide different combinations of bands. Through this set you’ll get:

        • Five latex resistance loops (that offer between five and 40 pounds of resistance)
        • Five resistance tubes (offering ten and 50 pounds of resistance)
        • Two handles
        • Two ankle straps
        • A door anchor

        It’s incredible value for the price if you don’t mind having all this equipment at home.

        Purchase Kootek’s 18-Pack Resistance Bands here.

        4. Best for Glutes: Peach Bands Resistance Bands Set

          Another classic resistance band brand is Peach Bands. This brand has always focused on lower-body workouts, and their bands haven’t changed since then. That said, these bands are made of latex, which promises to be lightweight, durable, and stretchy.

          These bands are also very beginner-friendly, starting with 10-pound options and going up to 35 pounds.

          Buy Peach Bands Resistance Bands here.

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          5. Best for Flexibility: TheraBand Resistance Band Set

            Traditional loop bands are ideal if you’re looking to build up strength as they tend to offer great resistance. That said, all that weight doesn’t necessarily make you use your full range of motion. This is a big problem if your goal is to improve your flexibility. Traditional bands can’t help in that area at all, but resistance straps can.

            TheraBand is one of the best brands we found that offer resistance straps to help with flexibility. Each strap is five feet long and five inches wide, allowing you to perform all kinds of exercises.

            Naturally, the weight range for these is limited to 4.3 and 6.7 pounds, but the focus is on stretching your muscles rather than building strength.

            Purchase TheraBand Resistance Bands here.

            6. Best Non-Slip: RenoJ Bands Set

              RenoJ’s Booty Band Resistance set offers three resistance loops ranging from two to seven pounds. While these bands are fewer in number and offer less weight range, the key selling point for these bands is that they’re not going to be slipping at all when you’re performing exercises.

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              The reason these won’t be slipping is that their material is made of fabric. The fabric allows you to grip easier, provides you further comfort, and is even more durable than latex. This is a big deal as people’s skin can get irritated by latex or have to deal with latex-type bands slipping and sliding while doing exercises. With these, you can have peace of mind that they’ll not be slipping off.

              Buy RenoJ Resistance Bands here.

              7. Most Durable: SPRI Braided Xertube Bands

                The final of the best resistance bands we’re offering is the SPRI Braided Xertube resistance bands. Their main selling point is the fact that these bands are the most durable out of all the options here.

                Tube bands are already quite durable on their own, but these bands are braided to provide further durability. They also offer great levels of resistance ranging between 12.5 and 62.5 pounds so you can easily find bands to suit your needs. The only catch is that each of the bands offered is sold separately.

                Buy SPRI Braided Xertube Resistance Bands here.

                Final Thoughts

                Depending on your exercising needs, you can find all kinds of resistance bands to fit your needs. If you’re new to resistance bands, try out some of the lower weighted bands and work your way upwards until you want to go for higher intensity. For those who are more experienced, dive into some of the higher-level ones and work through some quality bands that were built to last.

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                You can check out this guide for some resistance band exercises:

                Featured photo credit: Geert Pieters via unsplash.com

                Reference

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