So often I hear people comment that they have some part of their body bothering them so they are starting to stretch more. Even more often people contact me for a massage because they suddenly are having pain somewhere. It seems that most people neglect both stretching and getting a massage until something hurts. I am always telling my clients they need to be more consistent with pre and post workout stretching and getting maintenance massages. Before workouts warming up with active or moving stretching is very important. Equally important is your routine after your workout, which should include foam rolling followed by stretching.
If you suddenly have pain and then think that stretching will miraculously make it go away you are wrong. In fact I would suggest against doing a lot of stretching if you possibly injured something. When you have an acute injury stretching may not be the best option it may need a several days to recover before you stretch it. The same goes for massage having someone really work an area that may have been injured and is painful is not necessarily the best option. When something hurts all of the sudden you really don’t know what is wrong. Giving it a few days to calm down and for the inflammation to calm down is your best option in that situation.
Preventing injury is best done with a well-rounded program that includes all aspects of training. Cardio, strength train including functional movements, stretching/warm-up (pre and post), foam-roll, and massage are all components of a good workout program. Don’t wait until something hurts to start or resume one aspect of your training. Take the time to get it all done and that may require shortening one aspect of your training. Maybe instead of spending one hour on strength training, spend 45 minutes so that you can include time for stretching.
Don’t just get a massage when things hurt. I typically suggest at least one massage a month mostly because people can’t afford a weekly massage. If you can afford to get a massage two times a month then that is even better. If you wait until you are in pain it will be hard for one massage to take care of your issue. Sometimes people wait until they can hardly move before they come in for a massage. They come in with knots so bad that it’s pretty much impossible to work all of them out with one massage. I can provide some relief but typically they will need a few more sessions depending on their issue. By getting a massage once or twice a month you can prevent some of the major knots that build up over time.
You may not know what stretches to do but there are many resources online to help you develop a good stretching routine. You can search youtube for some great videos on stretching. On Facebook there is a page called stretching that has some great information I created a laminated sheet that includes a stretch routine for my clients. It is simple and easy to use and if you complete all the stretches you will target your entire body. Here are just a few examples: