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Stretching For Bodybuilding - Types, Benefits, And Sample Program.

Many bodybuilders overlook stretching. They don't realize the immense benefits that come along with stretching so they completely neglect it. Learn just how important stretching is, what types there are and sample slits.

By: Richard Choueiri

Many bodybuilders overlook stretching on a regular basis. They don't realize the immense benefits that come along with stretching so they completely neglect it. To them it seems that stretching has nothing to do with bodybuilding.

If you happen to be one of those bodybuilders, you're in for a surprise. What I'm about to reveal can possibly lengthen your bodybuilding career and give you an edge over the rest of your competitors. Keep reading to find out the many benefits of stretching, which include increases in muscular strength, prevention of injuries, and improvements in muscular movements.


Types Of Stretching

The main types of stretching are as follows:

  • Static Stretching - you stretch the muscle to its furthest point and hold in that position.
  • Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) Stretching - you stretch and contract the muscle.
  • Passive Stretching - a partner aids you in the stretch.
  • Active Stretching - you perform a stretch without any assistance.
  • Ballistic Stretching - you use bouncing to force the muscle into a deeper stretch.
  • Dynamic Stretching - you stretch in a controlled movement at increasing speeds.

When first starting out, use static stretching. You can incorporate the other types of stretching every once in a while depending on your goals or just to change it up.


Benefits Of Stretching

The main benefits of stretching include:

-> Increases In:

-> Decreases In:

-> Improvements In:

  • Muscular movements
  • Posture
  • Appearance

As you saw above, stretching provides many benefits, including short term benefits and long term benefits such as increased muscular strength and injury prevention.


Stretching Recommendations

By stretching 3 to 5 times a week, you can take advantage of all the benefits listed above and possibly lengthen your bodybuilding career by staying injury free. It's vital to stretch all of your major muscle groups so they can all reap the benefits. Use maximal intensity when stretching and concentrate on getting the deepest stretch possible.


Stretching Exercises

As I mentioned above, it's vital to stretch all of your major muscle groups. I included stretches for each muscle group, along with explanations on how to correctly perform them.


-> Neck:

    Neck Extensor Stretch:

      Sit, interlock your hands, and place both palms of hands on the back of your head. Pull your head down in slow and controlled motion and try to touch your chin with your chest. Concentrate the stretch on the upper trapezius and hold for 15-30 seconds.


+ Click To Enlarge.
Neck Extensor Stretch.
Video: Windows Media - MPEG

    Neck Flexor Stretch:

      Sit, interlock you hands, and place both palms of your hands on your forehead. Pull your head back in a slow and controlled motion until your nose is pointing straight up to the ceiling. Concentrate the stretch on the sternocleidomastoid and hold for 15-30 seconds.


+ Click To Enlarge.
Neck Flexor Stretch.
Video: WMV - iPod Video


-> Shoulders:

    Front & Side Delts Stretch:

      Stand upright, place your right arm behind your back, and bend your right elbow 90 degrees. Grab your right elbow with your left hand and pull your right arm across your back and up towards your left shoulder. Concentrate the stretch on the front and side delts and hold for 15-30 seconds. Repeat with the left front and side delts.


+ Click To Enlarge.
Front & Side Delts Stretch.
Video: WMV - iPod Video

    Rear Delt Stretch:

      Stand upright and bring your right arm across your body. Grab your right elbow with your left hand and pull your right arm down and across your body towards your left side. Concentrate the stretch on the right rear delt and holds for 15-30 seconds. Repeat with the left rear delt.


+ Click To Enlarge.
Rear Delt Stretch.
Video: Windows Media - MPEG


-> Chest:

    Bent Arm Chest Stretch:

      Stand next to a wall and bend your right arm to form a capital L, place the inside of your right forearm on the wall, and turn your body away from your right arm. Concentrate the stretch on the right pectoral and hold for 15-30 seconds. Repeat with the left pectoral.

      To shift the emphasis of the stretch onto the upper pectorals, place your elbow lower on the wall. To shift the emphasis of the stretch onto the lower pectorals, place your elbow higher on the wall.

Bent Arm Stretch
+ Click To Enlarge.
Bent Arm Chest Stretch.
Video: WMV

    Straight Arm Chest Stretch:

      Stand next to a doorway and extend your right arm. Place your right hand on the doorway, and turn your body away from your right arm. Concentrate the stretch on the right pectoral and hold for 15-30 seconds. Repeat with the left pectoral.

      To shift the emphasis of the stretch onto the upper pectorals, place your hand lower on the wall. To shift the emphasis of the stretch onto the lower pectorals, place your hand higher on the wall.


+ Click To Enlarge.
Straight Arm Chest Stretch.
Video: WMV


-> Back:

    Lat Stretch:

      Stand in a squatting position facing a doorway and grab the side of the doorway with your right hand. Squat down toward the ground until your knees form a 90 degree angle. Concentrate the stretch on the right lat and hold for 15-30 seconds. Repeat with the left lat.


+ Click To Enlarge.
Lat Stretch.
Video: WMV - iPod Video

    Seated Lower Back Twist:

      Sit on a chair or bench and place both feet on the ground. Rotate your upper body to the left until your left hand touches the back of the chair or bench. Concentrate the stretch on the right spinal erector and hold for 15-30 seconds. Repeat with the left spinal erectors.


+ Click To Enlarge.
Seated Lower Back Twist.
Video: Windows Media - MPEG


-> Arms:

    Biceps Stretch:

      Stand in a doorway and place your right arm on the wall outside the doorway. Extend your right arm until it is straight and turn you body away from you right arm. Concentrate the stretch on the right bicep and hold for 15-30 seconds. Repeat with the left bicep.


+ Click To Enlarge.
Biceps Stretch.
Video: WMV - iPod Video

    Overhead Triceps Stretch:

      Stand upright, raise your right arm above your head while bending it, and grab your right elbow with your left hand. Push the right elbow behind your head and toward the floor. Concentrate the stretch on the right tricep and hold for 15-30 seconds. Repeat with the left tricep.


+ Click To Enlarge.
Overhead Triceps Stretch.
Video: Windows Media - MPEG


-> Forearms:

    Wrist Extensor Stretch:

      Kneel on the floor, place the back of both hands on the ground, and point you fingers toward your knees. Keep the elbows straight, lean backward, and keep the back of both hands on the ground. Concentrate the stretch on the wrist extensors and hold for 15-30 seconds.

    Wrist Flexor Stretch:

      Kneel on the floor, place the palm of both hands on the ground, and point your fingers toward your knees. Keep the elbows straight, lean backward, and keep the palm of both hands on the ground. Concentrate the stretch on the wrist flexors and hold for 15-30 seconds.


+ Click To Enlarge.
Wrist Extensor/Flexor Stretch.
Video: Windows Media - MPEG


-> Legs:

    Standing Quadriceps Stretch:

      Stand upright with your weight balanced on the left leg, grab your right foot with your right hand, and pull it upwards toward your buttocks. Concentrate the stretch on the right quadriceps and hold for 15-30 seconds. Repeat with the left quadricep.

      If you have trouble maintaining balance throughout the stretch, stand next to a wall and place your free hand on the wall.


+ Click To Enlarge.
Standing Quadriceps Stretch.
Video: Windows Media - MPEG

    Standing Hamstrings Stretch:

      Stand upright with both feet close together, bend at the waist, and try to touch the ground with your hands. Concentrate the stretch on the hamstrings and hold for 15-30 seconds.


+ Click To Enlarge.
Standing Hamstrings Stretch.
Video: Windows Media - MPEG

    Standing Calf Stretch:

      Stand facing a wall and put your hands on the wall. Place your right leg straight back a few feet from the wall while keeping the heel on the floor. Lean forward toward the wall and bend the left knee. Concentrate the stretch on the right calf and hold for 15-30 seconds. Repeat with the left calf.


+ Click To Enlarge.
Standing Calf Stretch.
Video: Windows Media - MPEG


Stretching Workout


-> The 3-Day Split:

  • Monday - Neck, Shoulders, Chest
  • Wednesday - Back, Legs
  • Friday - Arms, Forearms
  • Monday - Neck, Shoulders, Chest:

    • Neck Extensor Stretch- 3 sets of 15-30 seconds
    • Neck Flexor Stretch- 3 sets of 15-30 seconds
    • Front and Side Delts Stretch- 3 sets of 15-30 seconds
    • Rear Delt Stretch- 3 sets of 15-30 seconds
    • Bent Arm Chest Stretch- 3 sets of 15-30 seconds
    • Straight Arm Chest Stretch- 3 sets of 15-30 seconds
    • print Click Here For A Printable Log Of Monday.

    Wednesday - Back, Legs:

    • Lat Stretch- 3 sets of 15-30 seconds
    • Seated Lower Back Twist- 3 sets of 15-30 seconds
    • Standing Quadriceps Stretch- 3 sets of 15-30 seconds
    • Standing Hamstring Stretch- 3 sets of 15-30 seconds
    • Standing Calf Stretch- 3 sets of 15-30 seconds
    • print Click Here For A Printable Log Of Wednesday.

    Friday - Arms, Forearms:

    • Biceps Stretch- 3 sets of 15-30 seconds
    • Overhead Triceps Stretch- 3 sets of 15-30 seconds
    • Wrist Extensor Stretch- 3 sets of 15-30 seconds
    • Wrist Flexor Stretch- 3 sets of 15-30 seconds
    • print Click Here For A Printable Log Of Friday.


-> The 5-Day Split:

  • Monday - Neck, Shoulders
  • Tuesday - Chest
  • Wednesday - Back
  • Thursday - Legs
  • Friday - Arms, Forearms
  • Monday - Neck, Shoulders:

    • Neck Extensor Stretch- 3 sets of 15-30 seconds
    • Neck Flexor Stretch- 3 sets of 15-30 seconds
    • Front and Side Delts Stretch- 3 sets of 15-30 seconds
    • Rear Delt Stretch- 3 sets of 15-30 seconds
    • print Click Here For A Printable Log Of Monday.

    Tuesday - Chest:

    Wednesday - Back:

    Thursday - Legs:

    Friday - Arms, Forearms:

    • Biceps Stretch- 3 sets of 15-30 seconds
    • Overhead Triceps Stretch- 3 sets of 15-30 seconds
    • Wrist Extensor Stretch- 3 sets of 15-30 seconds
    • Wrist Flexor Stretch- 3 sets of 15-30 seconds
    • print Click Here For A Printable Log Of Friday.


Conclusion

I highly suggest you follow this stretching program for a few weeks. Also, make sure you change up the stretching exercises every once in a while to accelerate your progress and prevent boredom.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at richard_choueiri@yahoo.com.

References:

  1. www.bodybuilding.com/fun/stretches.htm
  2. Stretching Anatomy, by Arnold G. Nelson, Jouko Kokkonen, Jason M. McAlexander, Human Kinetics

Stretching For Bodybuilding - Types, Benefits, And Sample Program.
richard_choueiri@yahoo.com

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