From my last discussion with my trainers, one of the biggest mistakes that people usually make when going to the gym is not allocating enough time for stretching before a workout and believe it or not, working out without stretching is the biggest reason of a lack of development to your body from your workouts!
[Stretch for Gains!]
I started picking up the habit of spending at least 10 minutes of stretching before a workout when I started running. Because of an old injury on my knees when I was in school, it was excruciating for me to even start a run without stretching, let alone finishing a run.
When I started to lift weight, I realized that with very limited flexibility, it does restrict the amount of workouts that I can do or even sometimes stops me from finishing my workouts because of cramps and sudden pain in my joints.
[A Quick 10 minute Routine for Stretching]
So, it is rather essential to allocate at least 10 - 15 minutes of stretching before starting your routines as it does help promote proper muscle warm up and flexibility, blood circulation and growth for your muscles in the future.
Looking into stretching, there are two aspects that would be beneficial for your workouts.
Firstly, a diligent stretch session does help you prevent from muscle spasms and cramps, which is the most common thing that happens to weight lifters especially when performing a workout out of the norm and/or going heavier than your normal lift.
Secondly, "stretch and squeeze" is a very popular technique to introduce blood and pump into your muscles while working out. One popular workout method is called FST 7 (Fascia Stretch Training) which focuses A LOT on stretching in between sets to help get those "hard to improve" muscle tissue to burn. I actually practice this technique and I will be writing more about this later!
Interestingly enough while drafting this post, I did find some interesting information in 9gag (of all places!) that shows the benefit of stretching apart from those listed above!
Stretching to get you taller? Interesting...
On another note, to all the readers, I am looking out for any questions that you have on fitness. Pose them our Contact page and I'd be sure to answer them for you!