Best Stretching For Shoulders Before Workout



WHAT IS STRETCHING ?



According to Wikipedia Stretching is a form of physical exercise in which a specific muscle or muscle group is deliberately flexed or stretched in order to improve the muscle’s felt elasticity and achieve comfortable muscle tone. The result is a feeling of increased muscle control, flexibility and range of motion. In simple words if we want to define ‘Stretching’ we can say that it is a physical activity or exercise to make body fit or to make muscles elastic at its utmost level so that they can perform its defined or desired work at its optimum level. Stretching covers a very broad area of physical activity. Definition of stretching is just not limited up to making the muscles flexible. It also includes aerobic fitness, building muscles, alleviating of cramps etc.



HISTORY OF STRETCHING



Basically Stretching is drawn from the word ‘Stretch’. Its known use as a verb is before 12th century. It was first used as a Noun in 1541 and as an adjective in 1554. With the help of above lines we can conclude that if word ‘Stretch’ was known before 12th century then ‘Stretching’ might be used at that time or before than that also. Early men might also be doing ‘Stretching’ as part of their routine exercises to be flexible, fit and to make their muscles healthy. In olden days it might be a way of exercise which was prevailing because in general there will be not any need of any kind of instrument – basic or modern. Concluding from all these assessments we can boast that ‘Stretching’ is one of the oldest known exercise or ways to make people fit or healthy. It’s serving us throughout our generations and proving fruitful also for mankind. It would have played an important role in the existence, survival & sustainability of mankind. Although modernization and development of mankind would have changed its ways of performing but basics are same and similar. Means what early men would have started we are also following.


Stretching is not only performed by Humans but also by animals. You would be astonished to know that according to Big Bang theory our universe is also stretching. Sometimes it is also said that stretching is the essential part of all the existing things either living or non living. Although it’s a line of debate but in living things stretching is a very common phenomenon which we can easily observe & understand. Growth of plants & animals is a part of stretching only. When a sapling is planted observe its height. It may be too small that we can easily harm it. But due to the phenomenon of stretching after some years the sapling turns into a big tree. Now it can provide us shade, fruits, shelter to some animals etc. In the same way when a baby is born his body height is considerably small. An infant cannot even stand also on its own. But with the duration of time and also with the phenomenon of stretching the same infant grows up and turns into adult. According to a renowned Mathematician of University of Allahabad Dr. Vyas Ji Dwivedi - ‘Stretching in living things follow the rule of symmetry.’ Means nature follows the law of symmetry while development or stretching the body organisms either of plants or of animals including human beings. Because of that only our body parts are symmetrical.


These are the stretching parts which nature does. But humans also perform stretching in its continuation to make them more fit & fine. It is so much important in our life that especially ‘Stretching’ term is coined as an exercise. Stretching starts from very basic and as previously described it is natural and instinctive activity which also includes ‘Yawning’. Mainly stretching is done after long period of inactivity. Stretching is done not only by humans but also by animals. You may frequently watch cats, dogs, tigers, monkeys, lions etc performing stretching to make them fit.



TYPES OF STRETCHING


Basically Stretching can be classified in 2 forms- - Active Stretching - Passive Stretching


Active Stretching: When internal forces of body use itself to stretch any part or organ of body then it is known as Active Stretching. It is done by our body itself. Example- As we all know Heart pumps blood continuously to our body by stretching itself. In the same way Lungs stretch itself for the fulfillment of oxygen in the body. These are the body parts which are involved in Active Stretching.


Passive Stretching: In Passive Stretching external forces are involved or used for the movement of muscles. Sometimes muscles need some stretching externally for being fit & fine. We have to apply force on the muscles to provide it its own flexibility. It is trait of muscles that if it’s not stretched then it will shrink and its working will also be affected. So we have to apply forces on it to stretch it in order to maintain its original shape & size.

Again Passive Stretching is of two types- - Static Stretching - Dynamic Stretching


Static Stretching: Static Stretching is defined in a way that a stress is put on the muscles in a challenging way for a period of time which usually varies from 10 to 30 seconds. Special thing about it is that the position of performing the task should be very comfortable. Means we have not to hover here and there in a frequent manner or volatility is not much needed. About Static stretching it is said that it is the most common form of stretching. Yawning is a considered under Static Stretching only. As it is less volatile so it is also considered a bit safe. In static stretching we have to work or provide stress on the joints. We have to bring our muscles/joints at its end range of motion usually known as elastic limit of body and hold it there for some time using external forces. Although now-a-days some advanced techniques of Static Stretching have been developed. Most of the common one is known as Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) which is prevailing.


Dynamic Stretching: It is a kind of stretching in which lots of movement is involved in providing stress on the muscles. Volatility is considerably higher in Dynamic Stretching. Mainly Dynamic Stretching is concentrated to increase blood flow up to the mark throughout the body as well as it also helps in loosing up the muscle fibers. Basically stretch position is not held in Dynamic Stretching. Dynamic Stretching is considered much beneficial than Static Stretching for improving range of motion for functional movement including sports and activities for daily living. Although dynamic stretching requires more thoughtful coordination than Static Stretching (because of the movement involved), it is gaining favor among athletes, coaches, trainers and physical therapists because of its apparent benefits in improving functional range of motion and mobility in sports and activities for daily living. Note that dynamic stretching should not be confused with old-fashioned ballistic stretching (remember the bouncing toe touches from PE classes?). Dynamic Stretching is controlled, smooth and deliberate whereas ballistic stretching is uncontrolled, erratic and jerky. Although there are unique benefits to ballistic stretches they should be none only under the supervision of a professional because for most people the risks of ballistic stretching far outweigh the benefits.



NEED OF STRETCHING



Stretching training is an essential yet often overlooked health-related component of fitness. Numerous studies support the short-term and long-term benefits of various types of stretching including static stretching, dynamic stretching PNF etc, just to name a few here. Stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong & healthy and we need that flexibility to maintain a range of motion in the joints. Without it the muscles shorten and become tight. Then when you call on the muscles for activity they are weak and unable to extend all the way. That puts you at risk for joint pain, strains and muscles damage.

For example: sitting in a chair all day results in tight hamstrings in the back of the thigh. That can make it harder to extend your leg or straighten your knee all the way which inhibits walking or to move the body parts. Because of it we can face pain in performing general tasks which we could do easily. Likewise when tight muscles are suddenly called on for a strenuous activity that stretches them such as playing tennis, they may become damaged from suddenly being stretched. Injured muscles may not be strong enough to support the joints which can lead to joint injury.

Regular stretching keeps muscles long, lean & flexible and this means that exertion won’t put too much force on the muscle itself,” says Nolan. Healthy muscles also help a person with balance problems to avoid falls.

THE BENEFITS OF STRETCHING


According to the American Council on Exercise, the benefits of stretching include:


Increased flexibility and joint range of motion: Flexible muscles can improve your daily performance. Tasks such as lifting packages, bending to tie your shoes or hurrying to catch a bus become easier and less tiring. Flexibility tends to diminish as you get older, but you can regain and maintain it.


Improved circulation: Stretching increases blood flow to your muscles. Blood flowing to your muscles brings nourishment and gets rid of waste byproducts in the muscle tissue. Improved circulation can help shorten your recovery time if you've had any muscle injuries.


Better posture: Frequent stretching can help keep your muscles from getting tight, allowing you to maintain proper posture. Good posture can minimize discomfort and keep aches and pains at a minimum.


Stress Relief: Stretching relaxes tight, tense muscles that often accompany stress.


Enhanced performance: Maintaining the full range-of-motion through your joints keeps you in better balance and your muscles work more efficiently. Coordination and balance will help keep you mobile and less prone to injury from falls, especially as you get older. Most research shows that stretching does not actually reduce injury risk. People who stretch before athletic competition are just as likely to get injured as non-stretchers.



PROPER STRETCHING TECHNIQUE



It is essential to practice proper stretching techniques. Doing so will allow you to avoid any unnecessary injury. Tips to proper stretching technique include the following:


Warm up first: Stretching muscles when they're cold increases your risk of pulled muscles. Warm up by walking while gently pumping your arms, or do a favorite exercise at a low intensity for five minutes.


Hold each stretch for 10 to 30 seconds: It takes time to lengthen tissues safely. Hold your stretches up to 30 seconds that can seem like a long time, so wear a watch or keep an eye on the clock to make sure you're holding your stretches long enough. You can repeat the stretches 2 or 3 times.


Don't bounce: Bouncing as you stretch can cause small tears (micro tears) in the muscle, which leave scar tissue as the muscle heals. The scar tissue tightens the muscle even further, making you even less flexible—and more prone to pain.


Focus on a pain-free stretch: If you feel pain as you stretch, you've gone too far. Back off to the point where you don't feel any pain, then hold the stretch.


Relax and breathe freely: Don't hold your breath while you're stretching.Stretch both sides: Make sure your joint range of motion is as equal as possible on each side of your body.


Stretch before and after activity: Light Stretching after your warm-up followed by a more thorough stretching regimen after your workout is your best bet. With your new-found knowledge of the proper techniques and benefits of stretching, it will be easy to incorporate this activity into your exercise/rehabilitation regimen. Here are a few good stretches to try:


Low Back Stretches: Three quick and easy exercises to stretch the lower muscles of your back include the prone press up, the knees to chest, and the lumbar rotation stretch.


Morning Stretches: Stretching in the morning is a great way to "waken" up your muscles, and get them ready for the day.


Self-Assisted Neck Stretches: Stretches can be done with self-assistance to obtain a more efficient stretch. Here you can learn how to perform self-assisted stretches of the neck. Be sure to check in with your physical therapist before starting this, or any other stretching program. Who Should Avoid Stretching?

Although the benefits of stretching are many, it is not for everyone. Conditions in which stretching should be avoided include:


Acute Muscle Strains: People who have suffered an acute muscle strain should avoid placing further stress on the muscle through stretching activities. The injured muscle should be given time to rest. Stretching muscle fibers in the acute period can result in further injury.


Fractured Bones: After breaking-a-bone, the fracture site needs time to heal. Stretching muscles that surround this injured area can place stress on the bone and prevent it from healing as well as further displace the break. Stretching a joint that surrounds a broken bone should never be done until cleared by your physician.


Joint Sprains: When you sprain your joint, you overstretch the ligaments that help stabilize the bones that form the joint. For this reason, stretching early after a joint sprain should be avoided. As with fractures, these structures need time to heal and stretching too early in the injury will delay this process. Stretching regularly can help your body and joints move more freely, allowing you to enjoy full functional mobility. Check in with your physical therapist to find out which stretches are best for you to do.



EFFECTS OF OVERSTRETCHING



When a muscle is being lengthened, it is not just actual muscle cells being elongated but also the fascia or connective tissues that surround, encase and penetrate throughout the muscle. These connective tissues comprise 30 percent of the bulk of a muscle. When we stretch a muscle, upwards of 40 percent of the actual stretch is coming from the elongation of its fascia! With too much stretching, the fascia tissues disintegrate and become less functional as a result.

Connective tissues are full of nerves and blood vessels that help supply the muscles with nourishment. Fascia is also loaded with collagen and elastic molecules that help provide anchors for motion and cushions of protection for the muscle cells. If tissues are chronically overstretched the muscles also become more vulnerable and under siege from the constant stretching. Muscles (and the soft tissues surrounding them, including tendons and ligaments) develop painful “micro-tears”.



STRETCHING FOR SHOULDERS


Shoulders are very important and often neglected part of our body. Our shoulders help us with everyday tasks, they help us reach for objects, lift objects etc. Flexible shoulders are very important as they help us increase our overall body strength.


IMPORTANCE OF SHOULDERS

If you find your shoulder is aching and paining a day after doing some heavy lifting, like rearranging your furniture or lifting boxes, it’s probably because of the lack of flexibility in your shoulders. Flexible shoulders increase your strength and also decrease the amount of load that your bones, ligaments and joints have to bear. Shoulder flexibility is a crucial part of your body and most exercise regimes have a set of isolated stretches targeting the shoulders in particular.


ISOLATED SHOULDER STRETCHING

If you are starting weight training it is very important for you to perform isolated shoulder stretches and do some exercises that help in increasing flexibility in your shoulders. This is very important and helps increase your overall strength and avoid ligament and joint injury. Isolated shoulder stretches improve the blood flow in the muscle groups that make up your shoulders and warm up your shoulders for heavy work outs.


SHOULDER STRETCHING BETWEEN SETS

If you want to work out your shoulders and make them more muscular, make sure that you perform shoulder stretches between sets of heavy lifting. This helps increase the flexibility of your shoulders and also keeps them safe from injury. As your body becomes more and more fit, you can lift even heavier weights and challenge your body even further.


STRETCHING BEFORE & AFTER EXERCISE

By stretching your shoulders before starting your exercise regime, you are keeping them safe from joint, ligament and muscle injury but it is equally important to stretch your shoulders after working out as well. An effective cool down routine always includes shoulder stretches along with neck, back, lower back and leg stretches. All these stretches in turn, help increase the flexibility of your body which makes your body stronger and more physically fit. Make sure that your perform shoulder stretches and other exercises under the watchful eye of a certified physical trainer.




CONCLUSION



We used to believe that stretching was necessary to warm up the muscles and prepare them for activity. However, mounting research has shown that stretching the muscles before they’re warmed up can actually hurt them also. One can also stretch after an aerobic or weight-training workout. Stretching once today won’t magically give you perfect flexibility. You’ll need to do it over time and remain committed to the process. “It may have taken many months to get tight muscles, and you are not going to be perfectly flexible after one or two sessions.



BEST STRETCHING EXERCISE FOR SHOULDER



Stretching for shoulders is as important as any other exercise. I get queries from many people about their shoulder injury. I will say that before doing shoulder workout one should always properly warm-up their shoulders entirely because all it takes is just one wrong repetition & your shoulder will get injured, muscle might get pull or even your nerves can get damaged.


So, First stretching exercise for your shoulders is:-


1.) SHOULDER FLEXION & EXTENSION :- This exercise help your shoulder rotators to mobilize & make them to move freely. It makes your deltoids & pectorals relax/warmed-up to start your workout.


HOW TO DO IT?


Move your one arm in full 360 degree rotation to get the blood flowing in those veins & it will give good stretch to your shoulder for workout. Do same with other arm.


TO MAKE IT UNDERSTAND BETTER, WATCH MY TUTORIAL DOWN BELOW.






2.) WALL CHEST STRETCH :- Wall chest stretch in personally one of my favourite stretch movement. It gives great stretch in not only your shoulder's but also in your chest. This exercise will minimize your shoulder injuries.


HOW TO DO IT ?


Put your right arm on wall or anything to take support from. Now stretch your shoulder by moving your body towards left. Make sure to stretch it thoroughly so that all the muscles get warmed up.


TO MAKE IT UNDERSTAND BETTER, WATCH MY TUTORIAL DOWN BELOW.





3.) ROTATOR CUFF RAISE :- This exercise basically focuses on deltoids. Rotator cuff raise stretching is for those people who lift quite heavy weight. This exercise will help you make your shoulder stronger & stretchable. One should always do this stretch before performing any shoulder workout. It will give you great mobility in your shoulders & will make your muscles smooth.


HOW TO DO IT?


Stand straight making your core strong. Hold dumbbells in your hands in shoulder press position. Now twist your arm downwards the floor & than towards up at the ceiling. Perform this exercise repeatedly to make your rotator cuffs smooth & easy. This stretch exercise will make your cuff rotators stronger so that you can lift more weight on your shoulders. This exercise is one of those exercises that will make you injury free.


TO MAKE IT UNDERSTAND BETTER, WATCH MY TUTORIAL DOWN BELOW.





4.) SIDE ROTATOR CUFF :- It's the same exercise as rotator cuff raise but the difference is side rotator cuff focuses on your deltoids & rear deltoids while rotator cuff raise only focuses on your deltoids. So it's like total stretching of your overall shoulder.


HOW TO DO IT?


Hold dumbbells in your hand & make sure your back is straight. Now fold your arm half way through & move it towards opposite side. Your both arms will be parallel to the floor, forearm will be bent & should be moving in opposite direction. Only your forearm should move & not your whole arm.



TO MAKE IT UNDERSTAND BETTER, WATCH MY TUTORIAL DOWN BELOW.



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