- You’re trying to distract yourself. More and more studies show there is great power in being mentally engaged in the things that you do and your workout is no different. You can improve muscle activation drastically just by thinking about your muscles working while performing and exercise. An added benefit will be in keeping good form and avoiding injury.
- You’re doing it too fast! One of the most important aspect of strength training is the amount of time you actually spend doing each exercise. This aspect I refer to as “King Tut”, Time Under Tension, and it reigns over your gains. If you rush through an exercise you’re losing as much as a quarter of the benefit. Going fast relies on momentum and reduces the overall time your muscles are actually working. If you’re going to exercise why not get the most out of it you possibly can?!
- You’re doing it too fast again! Static stretching can be beneficial for improving range of motion, strength, and for reducing aches and pains if you do it properly. It takes close to 10 seconds for your muscles to relax so that you actually start to benefit from a static stretch. Think about how many hours in a day you sit in a chair with particular muscles shortened. Do you really think you’re going to undo that by holding a stretch for 20 seconds? Most likely not. Yoga and gymnastics programs that have been shown to improve flexibility suggest holding static stretches for a minimum of 60-90 seconds and many suggest much longer. Time your stretches to make sure you fulfill at least the minimum 60 seconds and avoid fidgeting which can reduce their benefit. Keep in mind these rules don’t apply to dynamic stretching and shouldn’t be performed at the beginning of a workout.
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