The most important part of your workout isn’t actually the exercise

This is coming from David Beckham and Jess Gomes’ personal trainer, so you might want to listen up. 


From fad diets to the latest fitness crazes the health and fitness industry generates billions of dollars annually. People invest their hard-earned cash to nourish their bodies with the right nutrients and train their bodies to endure more, but many are not including one of the most importants element – and that is stretching.

According to Harvard University “a lot of people don’t understand that stretching has to happen on a regular basis. It should be daily,” says David Nolan, a physical therapist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.

Not doing so can put you at risk of muscle damage, strains and joint pain. By stretching daily, you keep your muscles strong and healthy. The flexibility you gain from stretching helps you maintain motion in all your joints avoiding your muscles becoming tight and shortening.

Particularly those of us with a desk job, sitting in a chair all day can lead to tight hamstrings which can affect straightening your knee in turn can affect your ability to walk and play sports.

According to Sydney-based Fascia stretching expert and celebrity personal trainer Tegan Haining, “if you want to lift more safely in the gym you need to have adequate flexibility to ensure correct mobility in your joints. For example, if your adductors are tight you might find your knees drop in when you do a squat. Taking the time to stretch or roll out the inner thigh might help to correct your alignment allowing you to lift more weight. The more you can lift the greater your lean muscle mass and the more fat you will burn.”

Aside from the benefits of improving your performance, technique and results of your training stretching, as most of us know, helps avoid injury.

“Greater flexibility means less chance of injury when you exercise. If your hips are tight this could inhibit the movement of your legs leading to hamstring tears or knees strains when you run. Fascia Stretching gets right inside the hip joint capsule. Creating length in the connective tissue which improves range of motion for not only the joint but the entire leg.”

By exercising prior to stretching e.g. 5-10 minutes of light activity like a quick walk can get blood flow into the area helping the muscles better improve.

“When you stretch make sure you keep breathing deeply to help relax the nervous system while you hold the stretch from anywhere 30-60 seconds,” says Haining, and if you feel pain, there may be damage in the tissue or an injury, stop stretching that muscle, and see your doctor.

Tegan Haining is the creator or the 7- Day Quickie. Personal trainer to David Beckham and Fascia/Stretching Expert, Tegan has also trained the likes of Jess Gomes, Natalie Imbruglia and Lara Stone.

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fitness | body+soul