Best Time To Stretch Lower Back

What is the best time to stretch your lower back for maximum benefit? Should you stretch first thing in the morning after getting out of bed? Before jogging or exercising? How about stretching after your run, workout or even during your strength training?

Here Is The Best Time To Stretch

The best time to stretch is when you have the time to do it. We all can find the time. So not having the time to stretch is not a good excuse for not stretching. The time of the day isn't important as long as the muscles are prepped for the stretch by properly warming them up. You can warm them up by:

  • Walking briskly for 12-15 minutes.
  • Performing exercises such a squats, leg presses or leg curls.

First understand that the purpose of any stretch is to elongate the muscles to a normal length if they are indeed hypertonic or too tight. This will permit normal range of motion providing there are no other conditions of the bones or joints present that would otherwise impede or restrict joint motion.

Do not stretch just for the sake of stretching. If the muscles are functioning normally and you already have normal range of motion, stretching could very well be harmful. Stretching beyond normal will create excess joint play or hyper-mobility and this will only predispose you to sprains and acceleration of joint degeneration due to abnormal tissue stress.

There is also research that shows stretching may be detrimental to performance, especially where strength is needed.

When reduced range of motion is evident and it is known that stretching will improve it to a more normal state, then you should choose targeted stretches that best accomplish this goal.

Consider This Stretching Information

Here are some things to consider when deciding what is the best time to stretch for your lower back:

  1. If pain is experienced with any stretch, or there is an increase in pain beyond the normal discomfort that can be expected, do not perform that stretch. You may be causing more trauma to the torn muscle tissue and this will only result in the formation of more scar tissue and subsequent loss of stretch ability. There should be a tolerable discomfort felt with any stretch or you are not really affecting a stretch. Do not mistake discomfort for pain.
  2. Never stretch muscles that are in the acute stage of injury and healing. With the tearing of muscle fibers there will be bleeding, inflammation and swelling. The body will attempt to form scar tissue to mend the torn fibers. Stretching too soon will risk further tearing, bleeding, inflammation, swelling and the formation of inferior scar tissue. This will only prolong the acute healing stage, create a greater loss of normal muscle function, a need for prolonged rehabilitation and a return to normal muscle lengthening ability. This acute stage is a minimum of 3 days, so stretching should not be forcefully attempted until following at least 3 days after injury. In severe cases it may require a longer period. Be sure to consult with your doctor or therapists for the okay to stretch following a severe strain. Following most injuries, while still in the acute stage, motion should be encouraged as this will accelerate the healing process. The best form of motion in the acute stage is walking.
  3. Never stretch a so called “cold” muscle. By that it is meant that you should not stretch a muscle, whether injured or not, unless it has been adequately warmed-up through motion and exercise. A “cold” muscle, one that has not been active for at least 5 minutes will resist any attempt at stretching. Stretching with-out a warm-up will risk strain in the form of micro-trauma. It will also not permit full lengthening and thus end up being a waste of your time. A warmed-up muscle will be more pliable and less uncomfortable when stretching. It will also promote a more lasting stretch result. If you want to stretch your hamstrings for example, it is best to do so following a 15 minute brisk walk or after performing leg exercises such as leg curls, squats or leg presses., These actions will have increased the muscle activity, enriched the blood supply, stimulated needed nerve impulses and naturally elongated the muscles to a great degree. All of this equals sufficient warm-up to now be able to achieve maximum stretch and the desired beneficial results..
  4. Stretching prior to a workout or sporting event is probably not necessary and may even be counterproductive. It is probably best to warm-up to prevent injury by doing a light (low intense) couple of sets with 12 to 15 repetitions. This will do more to prevent muscle strain and injury prevention than any pre-exercise or pre-event stretch. If the muscles are warmed-up by performing the motions that the sport or activities demand they will be normally prepped for proper function. If you are prone to muscle pulls, the best pre-exercise/pre-event warm-up is some moderate reps sufficient to warm-up the muscle tissue followed immediately with some mild stretching effort.
  5. A good way to warm the muscle prior to stretching could be the application of moist heat packs (hydroccollator) or perhaps the us of a jacuzzi or hot tub for about 15 minutes.
  6. A deep myofascial type of massage prior to stretching can be tried. This is very effective if heat is used in conjunction with the massage. Post stretching massage may also offer some longer lasting effects.
  7. Make sure you are receiving adequate nutrition. It is a fact that mineral imbalances and possibly some vitamin and protein deficiencies and imbalances can cause muscle spasm and hypertonic muscles. Of particular concern are calcium, magnesium and phosphorous.

If you do not schedule a stretching time into your day it will be easy to let it slip by. So follow these suggestions when scheduling your best time to stretch.

Your best time to stretch may be:

  • While watching television, viewing the internet.
  • When talking on the phone (use speaker).
  • While waiting for an appointment.
  • While waiting on your spouse (who is always making you wait).
  • Before bedtime.
  • During your exercise workout while resting between sets. 
  • Immediately after your workout.

Stretching doesn't need to take a lot of time. If you target only those couple muscle that truly need stretched and not waste your time stretching those muscles that don't need it then stretching should only take a few extra minutes a day.

> Basic Information on Back Stretching

> A Simple Guide To Stretching

> Low Back Stretching Guide

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