When you’re lifting weights, you put a significant amount of pressure on your joints, muscles, and bones. But you also feel great and feel a sense of reward when you’re lifting a lot and breaking records.
And as hard as it is to believe, stretching before lifting heavy could be the very thing that could save you a trip to the emergency room. Most heavy lifters don’t stretch, and the numbers are alarming. It’s estimated that up to 50% of all heavy lifters simply put on light weight, lift a set or two of the light weight, and then move into their heavier sets.
This is setting them up for failure, and like or not, stretching could prevent a number of injuries that occur on a daily basis.
Here is why you should be stretching before lifting:
#1 – It Gets Your Blood Moving
This is one of the main reasons why you should be stretching. When you’re lifting with ‘cold muscle,’ you’re basically putting your body into overdrive without warming up first.
Think about your car for a second. It’s similar to starting your car, and then immediately putting the pedal to the floor without letting the oil circulate. This is bad for your car, and double goes or your body.
Your poor body hasn’t gotten a chance to circulate blood to these areas that are being worked, and there isn’t enough lubrication to protect vital areas.
#2 – Stretching Lubricates Joints
Simply doing light weight sets will not lubricate your joints well enough, and this is causing an epidemic of shoulder and elbow injuries. When you lift without stretching, the lubrication around your joints is stable and normal.
But when you’re lifting a lot, you need an increased amount of lube to accommodate the extra weight that is being introduced. By stretching before lifting a heavy amount of weight, you’re sending more lubrication to the joints where they need it most.
This will make you feel better, and you might even lift more as a result. Most importantly, your body will feel better.
#3 – Raises Body Temperature
Lifting on a cold body is not good at all, as it reduces your immune system even further than it is. When you lift, your body releases cortisol. But when you’re cold and not warmed up yet, that cortisol amount is lowered, and you won’t get the necessary chemical balance to support the weight you’re lifting.
This could result in fatigue, lack of energy, and maybe even inability to lift the amount of weight that you normally lift.
So stretch and feel better!