Connect
To Top


The Importance of Stretching


7309-mhp2Q: How important is stretching to a weightlifter?

A: To some extent it depends on the individual, a statement that applies to any fitness pursuit. Basically, the training protocol you implement needs be something that will accomplish your goals.

Even so, most lifters don’t have crystalline goals, or they have goals that are, frankly, misguided or extremely mediocre. With rare exceptions of those for whom the practice of mobility training is ingrained—for example, advanced yogis, dancers or gymnasts—virtually no one has sufficient mobility. The truth is, in the hierarchy of movement and training priorities, mobility is always the most important.

Now, it’s possible to set a very low bar for mobility and, once you have it, not worry too much about it. For instance, once you can comfortably do a squat, you probably don’t need to continue to mobilize to the point of doing a split. Even if you can access your desired range of motion, you should do maintenance work for flexibility every day as part of your training.

While that’s a good notion in principal, in practice it just doesn’t happen—the overwhelming majority of lifters in the gym, along with more than 95 percent of the general American population, are pathologically immobile. As a result, we can all use an aggressive mobility protocol.

To get the best results, follow a sound system of stretching. Always begin with the larger muscle groups, such as the lower back and glutes. Knees-to-chest stretches done on the floor, working both single-leg and double-leg variations will work.

Then move to your hamstrings, doing a controlled sit-and-reach movement, plus lying abdominal and hip flexor stretches. Next do groin and twisting-torso stretches, followed by arm circles, calf stretches and rotations.

On static stretches hold the farthest point for about 10 to 15 seconds. Relax for five seconds, and repeat.

Editor’s note: Ben White won his first IFBB professional bodybuilding contest, the Tampa Pro, in 2010. He is also a champion powerlifter and frequently competes in the World’s Strongest Bodybuilder contest at the Olympia. His best competition bench press is 711 pounds. He is an MHP athlete, www.MHPStrong.com.  IM

 

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

More in Beginning Bodybuilding

  • 15-Minute Shoulders

    Developing impressive delts doesn’t have to take up a ton of time in the weight room. By Brad Borland   A...

    Sharon OrtigasAugust 24, 2017
  • Bigger Triceps, Better Bench

    A bigger muscle is a stronger muscle. These three triceps mass-builders can help you add more weight to your bench press....

    Iron Man MagazineJune 11, 2016
  • Push Yourself

    If you think the traditional push-up is too easy, you’re not trying hard enough

    Cornell HuntApril 8, 2016
  • Pronated Grip Best To Grow A Big Back

    If you’re trying to grow a big back, the lat pull-down is probably a go-to machine for you. Make sure you’re...

    Iron Man MagazineApril 6, 2016
  • Better Sleep, Bigger Gains

      Did you sleep soundly last night—so good that you woke up full of energy? If not, you may be damaging...

    Steve HolmanMarch 13, 2016
  • Do What Needs to Get Done Now

    How badly do you want to build an outstanding physique? How hard are you willing to work to achieve it? Most...

    Skip La CourMarch 3, 2016
  • Hormones And Recovery After A Brutal Workout

    Two days after a brutal leg workout, when delayed muscle soreness is at its peak, you hobble back in the gym...

    Iron Man MagazineNovember 11, 2015
  • Gain More Mass With Functional Hypertrophy Clusters

    How can I increase my strength while also gaining some muscle mass? Is there some special method that accomplishes both goals?...

    Iron Man MagazineOctober 23, 2015
  • How To Master The Front Squat

    Squat. Squat. Squat. There are few movements that activate the nervous system, recruit muscle fibers, and build structural integrity like the...

    Iron Man MagazineOctober 12, 2015