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The Neglected Part of Weight Training

Let's start with the basics of weight training. Stretching is an important part of any weight-training program. Yet it is one of the most neglected components of many people's strength training regimens. A lot of people march straight into the gym and immediately start working out, claiming they don't have the time to warm up and stretch or don't do it because they simply aren't aware of the importance of stretching.
You need to warm up your muscles before you start using them strenuously. Not warming up before lifting weights is a shock to your system and could cause injuries to your joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles. It's hard to be fit when you are not able to go to the gym because you have injured yourself as a result of improperly warming up and not stretching your muscles. Stretching before you work out allows you to train safer and harder.
Stretching increases flexibility, which is defined as the range of motion around a joint. To put it simply, the more flexible you are, the easier you can perform tasks. We get less flexible with inactivity and as we age. Anyone can increase his/her degree of flexibility with a stretching program. Stretching lengthens muscle fibers, reduces muscle soreness, reduces the risk of injury, improves relaxation, and reduces stress.
Most experts recommend using the static stretching method, which is slowly positioning yourself into a stretch until you feel tension in the muscle. When you reach that position, you should hold the stretch for ten to thirty seconds. You should never bounce as bouncing causes the muscle to contract and increases the possibility of injury and muscle soreness. A lot of people who are aerobically fit and have great muscularity might be very inflexible because they haven't been on a stretching program.
Having muscles makes one less flexible.
Not stretching makes one less flexible. There are professional bodybuilders who can do full splits. These are men over 250 pounds and are packed with more muscle mass than 99 % of the population.
When you start stretching, you'll notice your muscles aren't as tight and feel more relaxed. You'll probably find that you'll be able to lift more weight after you've been stretching for a while.
I always stretch the muscle group that I am going to work out before, during and after I work it out. It helps keep my focus on the muscle between sets and keeps the muscle pumped with blood. It also keeps my muscle continually warmed and flexible. Stretching helps muscles recover from workouts and also helps them grow.
It doesn't take extra time because I stretch the muscle during the forty-five to sixty seconds I'm waiting to do my next set. What else do you have to do? If you start gabbing with the girl or guy next to you, you will find your sixty second rest between sets may become a four or five minute rest and your muscle gets cold and stiff. Most people who claim to spend two hours in the gym are such people. Maybe 20 % of their time was actually productive. When you actually study your hour in the gym, most of the time is spent waiting between sets. If you use that time to your advantage, you'll see better results and do it in less time. The object for me-and I'm sure for most of you-is to get in, get a great workout, and get out. I'm as busy as the next guy and have many things to do every day.
My program has you doing a total of twenty one to thirty total sets for two to three body parts per workout. Figuring that a set takes about thirty seconds, your actual time spent lifting is between ten and fifteen minutes. That leaves forty five to fifty minutes to use productively. You will not have to devote an extra two-to-three, twenty-to-thirty minute sessions per week for stretching by building stretching into your routine. See, I just saved you about an hour and a half a week.
After you've done a cardiovascular warm up and stretched the muscle group/s you're going to work out, get more blood to the muscle by doing a set or two of your planned exercises for that muscle without any weight or a very small amount of weight. Now, you're ready to start working out.
Rico Connor is a 53 year old self-taught health and fitness expert, author, bodybuilder, and business entrepreneur. He has been featured in Muscle & Fitness, FLEX, AXL, Health Smart and LVAC Magazines. He writes two columns for national magazines and has won the only two bodybuilding contests he has ever entered. His expertise lies in the fields of mind-body connection, nutrition, strength training, and supplementation. His web site is http://www.totalhealth4life.net features his eBook: Total Health For Life, Mind & Body, What the Diet and Fitness Gurus Wont Tell You, which teaches how to achieve optimal health, fight disease and reverse aging-as well as training your mind for success and finding happiness and fulfillment.