What you need to know to keep your muscles ready for anything
- Stretch after workouts. Stretching muscles you've just trained encourages their growth.
- Hold stretches for 20 to 30 seconds. You'll forces the muscles to relax.
- Stretch chronically tight areas often. Most people have very tight hamstrings, calves, and hip flexors, so spend more time on those areas.
- Stretch before workouts. It can weaken your muscles for lifting.
- Stretch in a rapid motion. Pushing yourself into position quickly and then "bouncing" back is dangerous.
- Stretch injured muscles. Even if it feels good, you may make the damage worse.