One of the most neglected aspects of weightlifting is the warm-up. Stretching should be done pre-workout and post-workout. It lubricates joints, tendons and ligaments by bringing blood into the muscles.
The warm-up should prepare your body for the work to come without depleting your training intensity. A good warm-up will increase the heart rate, loosen up the muscles, raise the body temperature and produce a light sweat. There is a fine line between warming up and expending the energy and reserves needed to do the workout.
Once the body is warmed up preparing the muscles for injury prevention and efficient functioning is best achieved with stretching. Pre-workout and post-workout stretching is done by bodybuilders. Post-workout stretching relaxes the muscles and speeds up the removal of waste products, such as lactic acid. It also stretches the fascia, a protective sheath of connective tissue that envelops the muscle. This allows the muscle to grow larger. Stretching the tendons length increases the distance over which the muscles are able to contract. This potentially increases the muscles strength, power and size.
The soreness felt the day after a heavy workout is the result of micro tears (minute tears within the muscle fiber), and the buildup of metabolic products such as lactic acid. Stretching helps alleviate the soreness in several ways. First, it lengthens the individual muscle fibers. Next it increases blood and nutrient delivery to the muscles. Lastly, it removes the dreaded waste products.
A fifteen to twenty minute warm-up prior to the weightlifter’s routine is simply an investment. Weightlifting injuries can sideline a lifter, often for a period of months. Anyone who loves the iron knows what that will do to a person, both mentally and physically.
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Michael is a 61 year young man who fell in love with weights in 1970 and still lifts today. He has a health and fitness site with his wife offering information, articles and products. Both he and his wife blog about their experiences. You can visit the site @ http://www.fit50andbeyond.com.