This Week's Ask Gilad: The Most Important Part of Flexibility
Question: I like to work out with weights but afterwards I tighten up. I need to work on my flexibility and I know that means stretching. Do you have any tips for me about flexibility training?
The most important part of flexibility training is stretching each muscle within the limits of comfort. Forcing a stretch, or over-stretching a muscle beyond what it can comfortably do actually causes the muscle to contract in order to protect itself from being torn. This is the opposite of what you want to achieve. You want the muscle to lengthen, expand and relax in a stretch.
Pay attention to your breathing as you stretch. Don't hold your breath while stretching. If you exhale and inhale rhythmically, trying to relax into the stretch, you will stretch deeper and further.
Stay within the limits of comfort.