Should I Do the Same Stretches Every Day or Varied? Stretching Frequency and Volume

by Adrian Praljak 4 months ago in fitness

Stretches Every Day or Varied? Frequency and Volume

Should I Do the Same Stretches Every Day or Varied? Stretching Frequency and Volume

There’s a lot of debate when it comes to stretching about what is the best way to improve flexibility. Some believe that doing the same stretches every day will provide the best results while others suggest that doing so could do more harm than good. This leads them to believe that you should vary your stretches every day.

Strength Training is NOT Stretching

More than likely, this belief that you can’t stretch the same muscles two days in a row comes from the idea that you shouldn’t do strength training on the same muscles two days in a row. While this is true of strength training which works by damaging then repairing muscles, it’s not true of stretching which shouldn’t damage your muscles.

Stretching does not damage muscles at the cellular level the way strength training does. Instead, it gently pulls your muscles and lengthens the fibers while extending the range of motion in the nearby joints. For this reason, it’s not only safe but beneficial to stretch every day. One recent study even found that stretching muscles less than 6 times per week did nothing for them.

The study focused on the hamstring in the upper leg because this large muscle is easiest to measure. Four sets of participants stretched the muscle at different intervals throughout the week. Some stretched every day while others stretched only 3 days per week. It was found that those that stretched every day improved the length of their muscle while those who only stretched 3 days had little improvement.

Why Stretch Every Day

It’s important to realize that while you may not exercise every day, you are moving every day, which is why it’s important to stretch those muscles every day if you want to get more flexible. You use your muscles while performing regular tasks every day, so as they get used, they are warmed up and ready to be stretched to encourage flexibility.

Another reason to stretch every day is that it keeps you in the habit. Even if stretching is the only thing you do as far as exercise goes every day, it’s beneficial. However, if you only stretch a few days a week, it’s easy to forget and get lazy about it. However, if you make it part of your daily routine, then it’s easier to remember and soon your day won’t feel complete without stretching.

What to Stretch Every Day

The best thing you can do for your body is to go ahead and stretch everything every day. If you have certain areas that you’re concerned about or want to focus on, then you may even want to do these twice per stretching session or twice per day. But, in general, it’s a good idea to make sure that every part of your body gets stretched every day.

To make sure that you stretch every part of your body every day, find a routine to follow, whether you go along with a DVD or create a written list of your favorite stretches that cover every major muscle group. By doing the same thing every day, this will further help you establish a routine and will ensure that you cover every part every day.

Stretching Frequency and Volume

There’s a lot of information out there on how often you should stretch and how much stretching you should do. That can make it difficult to determine what the appropriate amount of stretching is and the frequency at which you should be stretching. Fortunately, there is some good information out there on what will work best for most people.

How Often Should I Stretch?

You should be doing stretches every day. This is important because in order to see results from stretching exercises, you need to stretch at least 6 times per week. So, making it a daily thing will ensure that you get those 6 stretching sessions in every week, even if something comes up and you have to skip a day. Plus, an extra stretching session surely won’t hurt anything.

How Much Stretching Should I Do?

The minimum amount of stretching that you need to be doing to see results is one minute per muscle per day. Although you can certainly stretch for longer if you want, studies have shown that it’s usually the first 60-second stretch that has the most impact on flexibility. It’s also best to do this as one 60-second stretch rather than trying to break it up throughout the day.

In younger people, they can get the same benefit of a 30-second stretch as they can a 60-second one. However, in older people, they had to do the same stretch for 60 seconds to get the same benefit from it. It should also be noted that in older people, they had to stretch frequently in order to maintain the gains they had gotten from stretching.

Full Body Verses Split Stretch Routine

A full body stretch routine is one in which every muscle in the body is stretched, either one at a time, or in groups. This type of stretching is often focused on in yoga, as the poses engage and stretch multiple areas of the body at once. The main benefit of full body stretching is that it ensures that every part of your body is stretched every day.

Split stretch routines are ones that focus only on one muscle group or part of the body at a time. These are typically split up throughout the week, so that a different area of the body is stretched every day. The idea is that this gives those muscles time to rest and recover in between. This has the benefit of being a much shorter stretching session since you’re only doing a few muscles every day.

While the only drawback of the full body stretch routine is that it takes up a larger portion of your day, there are several to the split stretch routines. Since it may not be possible for you to get in 6 stretches per muscle per week if you’re stretching different muscles every day, you may not see the benefits that you would if you stretched everything every day.

Bottom Line

The best way to benefit from stretching is to do a full body stretch routine every day, in which every muscle in your body is stretched for at least 60 seconds.

Adrian Praljak
Adrian Praljak
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