Stretching Tips for Safely Improving your
Flexibility and Minimizing Muscle Pain
Stretching Tip #5 of 6
Stretch all major muscles
and their opposing muscle groups
When stretching, it's vitally important that you pay attention to all the major muscle groups in the body. Just because your particular sport may place a lot of emphasis on the legs, for example, does not mean that you can neglect the muscles of your upper body in your stretching routine.
All the muscles play an important part in any physical activity, not just a select few. Muscles in the upper body, for example, are extremely important in any running sport, as they play a vital role in the stability and balance of the body during the running motion. Therefore it is important to keep them both flexible and supple.
Every muscle in the body has an opposing muscle that acts against it. For example, the muscles in the front of the leg, (the quadriceps) are opposed by the muscles in the back of the leg, (the hamstrings). These two groups of muscles provide a resistance to each other to balance the body. If one of these groups of muscles becomes stronger or more flexible than the opposing group, it is likely to lead to imbalances that can result in injury or postural problems.
For example, hamstring tears are a common injury in most running sports. They are often caused by strong quadriceps and weak, inflexible hamstrings. This imbalance puts a great deal of pressure on the hamstrings and usually results in a muscle tear.