It’s so important to incorporate good stretching, especially in young athletes! Not only does this help prevent injuries from occurring, but it also helps with muscular growth as well. Every sport will require some sort of stretching for optimal performance.
At Warren Academy, our mission is to help athletes achieve their athletic goals. Here’s the importance of stretching in youth athletic training and why it’s beneficial.
What stretching does
Properly stretching allows a young athlete’s core body temperatures to slowly warm up, as well as lets your muscles and joints loosen up. This gives athletes an increased range of motion which will inevitably help boost their athletic capabilities. Usually, stretching is performed before youth athletic training workouts, practices and games. This is crucial in preparing your body for what is to come. Also, stretching should be focused on primarily the muscles that will be exerting the most force.
As stretching before exercise is important, stretching after exercise is beneficial too. This is one of the most overlooked phases in youth athletic training. Stretching before workouts should be designed to “warm up” and “get loose,” and post workout stretching should be focused on recovery and growth. When athletes stretch after working out, they are able to release lactic acid out from their muscles, which is a main cause of soreness. It also helps increase flexibility which is vital for every kind of athlete.
Here are some other benefits of stretching after a workout:
- Increased Flexibility
- Improved Blood Circulation
- Pain Prevention
- Increased Muscular Coordination
- Mental Clarity and Mind-body connection
What happens when you don’t stretch?
If athletes don’t stretch before and after exercise, they are basically limiting themselves and putting themselves at a higher risk for injury. It also will reduce the athlete's flexibility, which can lead to changes in normal muscle function as well as increase tendon tension. This is especially important for track runners or other athletes that are involved in high-running sports.
Which muscles should you stretch?
When warming up, it’s smart to stretch the muscles you will be using during exercise. In most sports, this includes legs (quads and hamstrings), shoulders, hip flexors, glutes and abdomen. This allows athletes to be fully prepared physically for the exercise they are about to endure. When you are finished with your workout it’s very important to stretch the muscles that are sore or injured during this time.
Stretching is introduced earlier in youth sports, and should be practiced for the entirety of an athlete's career. This will help athletes increase their flexibility, promote muscle growth, prevent injuries and overall boost their athletic performance.
At Warren Academy, we offer many youth athletic training programs that put a great importance in stretching. Our programs are designed to help athletes get bigger, faster, and stronger, as well as boost their overall athleticism. We work with athletes of all ages and help prepare them for what they are to expect in the future. For more information about our programs, visit our website or contact us today!