Stretching: 5 Essential Tips

Whether it's biking, cross-country skiing, skating or running, stretching remains the most important and, unfortunately, the most overlooked factor. Stretching not only helps to reduce muscle stiffness, but also to prevent and reduce the risk of injury. It remains to know how and when to stretch.


Here are 5 stretching tips for better efficiency:

  1. Do static stretches to improve suppleness, flexibility and reduce aches, but AFTER training! Indeed, static stretching can decrease muscle strength if practiced before training.
  2. Hold the stretching posture for 15 to 60 seconds to give the muscle fibers time to relax.
  3. Respect the pain threshold! Pain is an alarm, a signal that the stretching tissue has reached its limit before tearing. The best intensity of a stretch varies from light to medium. Indeed, a strong and/or painful stretch will result in a defensive spasm, or even a tear; which is the opposite of the desired effect.
  4. Do not stretch directly upon waking or "cold". Wait at least an hour after waking up and do a small warm-up of 5 to 10 minutes before stretching.
  5. Keep a calm and deep breath during the stretch. Indeed, oxygenation promotes the relaxation of muscle fibers. Exhale longer than for inspiration to promote tissue relaxation.


Patrick Georgevitch – Masso-Physiotherapist; Fitness Coach and Physical Conditioning Specialist.